Aston Villa 3 West Ham 0
West Ham's relegation campaign seemed to start in earnest this afternoon at Villa Park. The first 45 minutes was probably the worst West Ham performance I've seen for a while. Which is certainly saying something after last season.
Some good attacking play by Villa and some appalling performances all over the pitch from West Ham led to Villa dominating the half. Villa could have already been two goals ahead, after Carew had twice headed wide from close range, when Tomkins almost gifted the striker a goal.
Tomkins found himself about 30 yards from goal and played a back pass with absolutely no pace. Carew ran onto the ball, Green rushed out to the edge of his area and saved the ball with his feet, the ball however rebounded off Tomkins and headed goalwards, only to bounce back off the post.
Five minutes later in the 15th minute Green had an easy catch to make unchallenged but instead decided to punch. The ball fell to Albrighton who fired the ball goalwards. Green saved but only pushed the ball out to Downing who had an easy tap in from 4 yards.
In the 21st minute Young tried to chip Green from just inside the area. Green back-pedalled and just managed to tip the ball over the bar. In the 25th minute West Ham had their best moment of the half when Cole took on Dunne and left him for dead. Cole then fired the ball across the box but no-one was rushing in at the far post, so the ball flew wide.
In the 40th minute Villa got their second when Young crossed from right of the West Ham goal and Petrov ran in and headed the ball in from 7 yards. From the restart West Ham broke forward and Boa Morte did well to make room for a shot from 10 yards but Brad Friedl made a fairly easy save.
If anything West Ham were lucky to go into the break only two goals down. In the second half Barrera and Piquionne came on for Boa Morte and Kovac. Within 30 seconds of the restart Piquionne fired over from 25 yards. Three minutes later and at the other end Downing clipped the bar from a 30 yard freekick, with Green beaten.
In the 49th minute Tomkins headed wide from 8 yards and in the 54th minute he volleyed a long ball forward from Illunga wide from 10 yards. In the 55th minute Faubert shot wide from 10 yards.
After a reasonably bright opening ten minutes to the second half West Ham then fell apart again. In the 65th minute Albrighton made a great run down the left wing. He beat Tomkins and drifted into the area before pulling the ball back for Milner who fired in Villa's third from 15 yards.
After that Villa had a number of attempts to stretch their lead even further. Albrighton hit the post from 20 yards, Carew headed wide from 8 yards and Carew also hit the post from 7 yards when the ball then rolled across the goal-line before being cleared.
All in all this was a really, really poor performance from West Ham and it looks like we might have another long season ahead without much joy.