You lovely man you - Michael Regan
Christian Benteke scored a penalty and Charles N'Zogbia put in an incredible free kick to give Aston Villa the lead. Despite an own goal by Ashley Westwood, Villa hung on for all three points. Here's the initial reaction to the win.
OH MY GOD ASTON VILLA WON ASTON VILLA WON ASTON VILLA WON!!!! Let's face it, the match against West Ham was absolutely dreadful, but the final twenty minutes made up for the suffering. Villa now have 24 points, which is enough to get the side out of the relegation zone. A special thanks to Chelsea, who beat Wigan; Stoke, who beat Reading, and Swansea, who beat Queens Park Rangers.
Here's a quick recap before Aaron comes in and tells us exactly how it all went down:
Inside the first three minutes, Andi Weimann missed an absolute sitter. Really, it's up for the miss of the century. The match could've been great, had that goal gone in. Instead, absolutely nothing happened for the next 70 minutes.
No, that's a lie. In the 10th minute, Nathan Baker collided with Andy Carroll. Blood spurted everywhere. Baker continued to bleed from his head, blood dripping down his cheeks, for the next twenty minutes. It was the most action seen on the pitch.
Really, it would've been merciful to call off the match at the half. Instead, the players went back on the pitch, and the agony commenced. Before the goals, Villa had but one shot, with Charles N'Zogbia going just wide of the far post. West Ham did enough to be scary, by which I mean they managed to rack up a bunch of corners. But Darren Bent defended one!
In the 74th minute, Mark Noble kicked out at Zogs inside the area. It was Christian Benteke who stepped up to the spot, and just like in the match against Newcastle, he was cool as a cucumber, sending Jussi Jaaskelainen the wrong way. That man can take a penalty.
Then, just four minutes later, Villa earned a free kick. As it was Ron Vlaar taking a free kick earlier in the match, it was easy to see why Villa supporters weren't terribly excited. But Blazing Roaches put in an excellent kick, sending it swooping over the wall and into the back of the net.
Unfortunately for N'Zogbia, he was forced off in the 85th minute, limping to the sidelines. And unfortunately for Villa, Ashley Westwood wrecked the clean sheet by scoring a lovely own goal -- although nowhere near as spectacular as Gareth Barry's on Saturday.
Although West Ham piled on the pressure at the end, making us all break out in terror sweats, Brad Guzan performed some amazing saves. Somehow Villa managed to hang on and WE WON WE WON WE WON.
PS -- Jordan Bowery is not good. Just...ugh.
Aston Villa: Brad Guzan, Matthew Lowton, Ron Vlaar [c], Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker, Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph, Charles N'Zogbia (Yacouba Sylla 85), Jordan Bowery (Simon Dawkins 64), Andreas Weimann (Darren Bent 64), Christian Benteke.
West Ham United: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Emanuel Pogotez, Winston Reid, Tomkins, Joey O'Brien (Guy Demel 24), Mohamed Diame, Mark Noble (Carlton Cole 76), Kevin Nolan, Joe Cole, Matthew Taylor (Ricardo Vaz Te 68), Andy Carroll.
Goals: Benteke 74 (A); N'Zogbia 78 (A); Westwood og 85 (A)