Aston Villa and ten-man West Ham played out a game of few chances in a dull 0-0 draw at Villa Park.
The Villains are now winless in their last three games and hover perilously above the relegation zone after their opening five games, meanwhile Manuel Pellegrini’s side missed the chance to move up to third.
West Ham did have a man sent off in the second half but Arthur Masuaku’s dismissal had little impact on the end result.
After a weekend packed with goals in the Premier League, the final game of the round ended up in stalemate with neither side able to seize control of a game both sides would have seen as winnable.
Both teams instead approached the game with a sense of caution which ultimately resulted the two teams cancelling each other out.
The visitors started the brighter of the two sides but efforts from Yarmolenko and Noble didn’t cause Villa too much trouble.
Despite this, John McGinn did have the ball in the net for Villa after seven minutes but Mike Dean had already blown up for a foul on Angelo Ogbonna.
Dean Smith’s side grew into that game and Jack Grealish posed a constant threat, sending in some teasing crosses from wide areas - one of which finding Wesley who couldn’t keep his close-range header on target.
West Ham created an almost identical chance at the other end but Sebastian Haller couldn’t direct Felipe Anderson’s cross toward goal.
A scrappy half in which neither side could settle into a rhythm was perhaps summarised by a strange incident where two Villa players almost came to blows.
Unhappy with the defensive efforts of Anwar El Ghazi, a furious Tyrone Mings gave his teammate an earful.
Dutchman El Ghazi responded by squaring up to Mings and moving his head into the face of the centre back before the two were separated by other Villa players.
The incident even led to referee Dean to consult VAR to see if an offence was committed but ultimately took no action.
Dean had another big decision to make shortly afterwards when Noble, already on a yellow card, threw himself to the ground theatrically following El Ghazi’s challenge in the penalty area but the official chose not to punish the Hammers’ captain.
Villa almost snatched the lead on the stroke of half time but McGinn’s deflected strike was brilliantly palmed away by Fabianski.
The home side came out with more urgency at the start of the second half and another long range McGinn effort had Fabanski scrambling across his goal but relieved to see the ball fly past his left hand post.
El Ghazi then struck a volley from the edge of the area but his effort again couldn’t beat the West Ham keeper.
Both sides then seemed to retreat into their shells with little of note occurring until the 67th minute when West Ham were reduced to ten men.
Having already been booked, Masuaku was perhaps cruelly issued a second yellow card by Dean for what looked a soft foul on Villa substitute Ahmed Elmohamady.
A decision that should have motivated the midlanders seemed to have to the opposite effect with West Ham the ones surprisingly pushing for a winner in the final quarter of the match, despite their disadvantage.
They were almost caught out late on however but Jack Grealish fluffed his chance to score a winner for Villa when he miscontrolled a cross and allowed the ball to run away from him.
But the two teams couldn’t be separated and match ended all square.
With Villa travelling to Arsenal and West Ham hosting Manchester United on Sunday, both managers will look at this as a missed opportunity to put points on the board and get some winning momentum ahead of a potentially tougher fixture to come.
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