Aston Villa 1-4 West Ham: Declan Rice stars in fifth consecutive win for fourth-placed Hammers

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

West Ham won for the fifth time in a row after hitting four goals past against ten-man Aston Villa on Sunday.

Fourth place in the Premier League is becoming the Hammers to lose after Declan Rice’s long-range effort cancelled out Ollie Watkins’ leveller at Villa Park, condemning Dean Smith’s side to four-straight defeats.

Rice continued his fine season by creating the opener, delicately spraying the ball wide to Ben Johnson after beating his man with a neat turn. The full-back did the rest for his first goal of the campaign, driving his effort into the far corner.

Villa grew slowly into the game and Ollie Watkins drifted off the back-post to fire home unmarked and breathe some life into the quiet home crowd.

But the two sides were only level for four minutes as Rice again made a telling intervention.

Taking aim from all of 30 yards, his accurate hit nestled in the far corner yet Emiliano Martinez looked to have been slow to react in the Villa goal. The Argentine gestured that he was unsighted but it mattered little to Rice, who had notched his third goal of the campaign.

After that blow, the hosts were handed another setback straight after the break with Ezri Konsa’s red card. The defender sent Jarrod Bowen tumbling on the edge of the area and a VAR review confirmed his last-man tackle was worthy of a dismissal.

Tyrone Mings, dropped from the starting XI, was brought on although Kortney Hause had escaped punishment for landing an elbow on Pablo Fornals moments earlier in the same move.

Watkins, refusing to go down quietly, hit the bar with a header that Lukasz Fabianski got a faint touch on. But the space was always there for West Ham to counter into and Pablo Fornals sealed the win with a shot on the rebound ten minutes from time.

Bowen, deserving of a goal for a livewire display, was then rolled in for an easy finish to pile on more misery for Villa.

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