West Ham United 0 Aston Villa 0 match report: Toothless Hammers end their losing streak but Villa’s drought continues
Villa striker Christian Benteke came closest to breaking the deadlock when he hit the post
Enough of false nines – not that the real ones did much better. West Ham’s strikerless formation failed to break down a packed defence, while Aston Villa’s counter-attacking plan failed because Christian Benteke, the closest thing to an old-fashioned number nine on view, squandered a chance that any self-respecting centre-forward would have devoured.
Villa’s scoreless streak thus reached 375 minutes, but they remain a point ahead of West Ham, who have still not won a Premier League game at Upton Park since the opening day of season. On this showing they may not do so again until Andy Carroll returns from injury.
The 4-6-0 system that has been forced on them surprised Tottenham three games ago, but Villa were prepared.
Kevin Nolan, usually the furthest forward of West Ham’s midfield sextet, worked hard but although he has been a valuable source of goals in the past, he lacks a striker’s instinct. Carlton Cole – re-signed last month after being released in the summer – was introduced as a late substitute, but Matt Jarvis, surely the man most likely to supply him with the ball, was taken off at the same time.
Villa, already without Gabriel Agbonlahor because of an ankle injury, were further hampered when Andreas Weimann limped off in the second half. The Austrian forward had forced a save from Jussi Jaaskelainen early on and was denied in the 16th minute when Ravel Morrison pulled him back with both hands, unaccountably escaping a red card or even a free kick from Howard Webb. Yet Villa still could have won it. Benteke, unchallenged after escaping the marking of Tomkins, headed Matthew Lowton’s centre against the crossbar after 71 minutes.
“We had the best chances of the game,” Paul Lambert, the Villa manager, said. “Another day they go in. I’d be worried if we weren’t creating them. I had a word with Howard [about the penalty] and expressed my views. I thought from my angle it might have been.”
Sam Allardyce, the West Ham manager, said: “After three home defeats on the trot it was very important we didn’t lose. We tried to win it but didn’t find the quality to put the ball into the net.”
West Ham (4-6-0): Jaaskelainen; Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Rat; Jarvis (J Cole, 63), Morrison, Collison (C Cole, 63), Nolan, Noble, Downing.
Aston Villa (5-3-2): Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Clark, Bacuna; Sylla, Westwood, El Ahmadi; Weimann (Kozak, 57), Benteke.
Referee: Howard Webb.
Man of the match: Vlaar (Aston Villa)
Match rating: 3/10
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportThe coach of Chalfont St Peter's under-10s football team was relieved of his duties after he sent an email to parents that said: 'I am only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
indybestMake getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Latest in Sport
Arsenal 2 Hull City 0 match report: Nicklas Bendtner back in the goals as superb Arsenal march on at the top
Liverpool 5 Norwich City 1 match report: Sublime Luis Suarez tears Norwich apart once again
Fulham 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 match report: Andre Villas-Boas masterstroke helps Spurs edge Rene Meulensteen's battling Fulham
David Moyes admits Manchester United face tough task to retain their title
Manchester United 0 Everton 1 match report: David Moyes misery as Roberto Martinez pulls off the elusive victory
- 1 North Korea: Kim Jong Un 'sacks powerful uncle and has his aides executed'
- 2 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 3 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 ‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert