Things to Watch For: West Ham United vs Aston Villa

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) /

West Ham United hosts Aston Villa on Monday at the London Stadium in Matchweek 10. Here is what to watch for.

After facing each other this summer after the restart in a match that helped keep both sides safe from relegation, this game between West Ham United and Aston Villa finds both clubs in much better positions and with better outlooks.

Hammers vs Villains: Similar Sides

Aston Villa thumped Liverpool 7-2 back in early October. Outside of that match, their season has been very similar to West Ham United’s. They have one more win than the Hammers—that Liverpool match. And their GD is +8 to +5 vs the Irons; again that Liverpool match the statistical difference between the two clubs.

One sits in 7th the other in 8th.  And the two times the clubs faced each other last season both ended in draws.

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While the Hammers appear to be getting healthy (See below for status of Antonio) Villa is battling through key injuries to Ross Barkley and Tom Heaton among others. WHU had injury issues of their own prior to the International Break.  Even so, both clubs are the two Premier League sides that have made the fewest changes to their starting XI’s so far this season. That’s yet another similarity between the clubs as they face off in this one.

Jack Grealish vs Declan Rice

The midfield battle between two England Internationals will be the focus in this match.  Declan Rice will be tasked with shutting down the playmaking Jack Grealish on the other side.

Grealish is second in the league with five assists.  Rice has been in fine form himself. Although as supporters of West Ham know, what Rice brings to the pitch doesn’t always show up in analytics or the stat sheets.  He has been making a case for early Hammer of the Year along with Angelo Ogbonna, the other key player in shutting down Villa’s attack and top goal scorer Ollie Watkins

Grealish and Rice know each other well from the England training sessions. Rice even called Grealish “Bro” on social media recently.  Who wins this matchup in midfield could go a long way in deciding the outcome of this contest.

Will Antonio Make the Bench

All indications coming out of the International Break last week were that Michael Antonio was fit and ready to get back into the matchday squad.

But not so fast as David Moyes’ first-choice striker didn’t even make the bench.  Now with an additional week of training, Antonio figures to be fit enough to make the bench here.  If not right into the starting XI.

Plus the Hammers have an extra two days prior to the Monday game vs the usual Saturday kickoff to get him ready to go.

Last week Sebastian Haller made his presence known scoring the screamer that delivered all three pints for the Irons.  But when Antonio is fully fit, he goes right back into the lineup.

dark. Next. Three Key Points From David Moyes West Ham Press Conference

Where to Watch

UK: Sky Go UK / Now TV /Sky Sports Premier League US: NBC Sports Net

CAN: DAZN    MEX: Sky HD   CHN: QQ Sports Live AUS: Optus Sport