Pablo Fornals struck the only goal in the 74th minute and a third Premier League loss of the season saw Aston Villa booed off at full-time. A strong first half from Villa failed to present many clear-cut chances with a 14th-minute effort by Ezri Konsa ruled out after Lucas Digne's corner kick had swung fractionally out of play.
Ollie Watkins was bright in a front two with Danny Ings but the visitors improved after the break, with West Ham boss David Moyes ditching a five-at-the-back tactic for his more favoured 4-2-3-1 formation with Said Benrahma introduced.
It boosted the visitors and eventually they broke the deadlock with 16 minutes left when Fornals' 25-yard strike deflected off Konsa and looped over Emi Martinez in the Villa goal.
"The performance was really in truth not the most important thing today, the result was," said Moyes.
"It was little bits in the second half that showed we were getting a little bit closer to ourselves at times. Not always but a little bit like it. "From that point of view we know we have not cracked it yet but winning away from home in the Premier League this season or winning at home is hard because the competition level is really tough."
Gianluca Scamacca made his first Premier League start for West Ham, before being subbed in the 65th minute for Michail Antonio. Emerson also made his debut but was hooked at half-time for Said Benrahma as Moyes changed back to a more familiar system.
A move that sparked a lacklustre West Ham back into life after a grim first half.
"Everybody is really impatient wanting to see new players, but you have to trust the manager and that the manager is looking at it and making a decision from close-up as to who is ready and who is not," Moyes added. "Look, I thought the players put in a brilliant shift. I was really disappointed with the final five or seven minutes when we had it and continually gave the ball away and gave them a chance to come back at our goal, but overall it was much better." Fornals downplayed his goal, telling West Ham TV: "Today it was not a great shot, but a goal is a goal. "The lads were massive, with all the players bringing positive vibes in the dressing room and on the pitch. "I am really pleased to be the one that scored, but I think when we celebrate you can see it does not matter who scored, everyone was celebrating, jumping with our fans." "We are capable of scoring goals. We are a very good team and we have made a lot of good signings. It is just trying to be solid in defence and obviously we have a lot of players to make chances. "We needed to score the first goal and get the first three points, but I think now we can keep growing. I am really pleased with the team we are making."
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