PLAYER RATINGS: Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz capped dominant display with a brace… but Michail Antonio offered little in attack for West Ham

Aston Villa maintained their Champions League charge with a thumping 4-1 win over West Ham.

Douglas Luiz’s brace, including a second-half penalty, plus goals from Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey moved them to fifth in the Premier League – just two points off top spot.

Jarrod Bowen’s deflected effort made it 2-1 but the hosts recovered for Watkins to smash in a crucial third before Bailey wrapped things up late on.

The Hammers, now five points adrift of Villa, slipped to just a third defeat of the season after struggling to match the hosts.

Mail Sport’s Ryan Walker rated the players on Sunday. 

Douglas Luiz orchestrated Aston Vila’s midfield and was rewarded with two goals


GK: Emiliano Martinez (7)

Relatively quite first half bar a brilliant reaction save from Lucas Paqueta with the eventual effort flagged for offside anyway. Made a comfortable stop from Bowen later in the half, at times put defence under pressure with slow passes.

RB: Matty Cash: (7)

Provided width that helped get Villa out of danger at times and showed his determination to deny West Ham further goals with a diving header on the line in the 65-th minute stopping Aguerd scoring before making another last-ditch clearance 10 minutes later.

CB: Pau Torres (7)

Marshalled Villa’s defence well and has become a reliable defensive commodity under Emery playing every minute of every Premier League game since coming on as a substitute in the first game of the season. Carried the ball with purpose and was always looking for the forward pass.

CB: Ezri Konsa (7)

Reacted quickest in the box to Paqueta’s loose pass and went down under pressure to win Villa their penalty. A physical presence in defence and frequently won his individual battles with Antonio. A first goal in two-years still eludes him and a sliced shot in the 21st- minute that almost went out for a throw-in shows why.

LB: Lucas Digne (6)

Didn’t get the ball on the wing as much as he perhaps would have liked but that was largely because the joy Villa were getting came from attacking down the centre channels. Never looked uncomfortable in defence but was too relaxed in closing down Bowen and it was his deflection that resulted in West Ham pulling a goal back.

Aston Villa thumped West Ham to move just two points off the top of the Premier League table

Aston Villa thumped West Ham to move just two points off the top of the Premier League table

CM: Douglas Luiz (8)

Orchestrated Vila’s midfield and was rewarded with two goals, the first of which was a tidy side-footed finish into the bottom scoring to give the hosts the lead. His best effort, a curling strike similar to Diogo Dalot’s winner for Manchester United the previous night was well-stopped by a brilliant save. Punished the Hammers from the penalty spot with a venomous strike down the middle of the goal.

CM: Boubacar Kamara (6)

Did the necessities that was required to keep Villa ticking over and was largely responsible for mopping up any second balls that fell his way. Offered the ball to his side’s more creative players when in possession and rarely put a foot wrong.

RM: John McGinn (C) (7)

Was the engine in Villa’s midfield and usually pulled into the middle of the pitch rather than hanging out wide. Struggled to find quality with balls into the box in the first half but improved later in the game as did Villa.

LM: Nicolo Zaniolo (6)

Hauled back into the team by Emery despite being the ongoing betting investigation into the Italian and started brightly before fading later in the match. His energy levels disrupted West Ham’s defence but his quality didn’t. Kept selling Villa’s waiting strikers in the box short with poor crosses and infuriated the crowd when he pathetically went down sighting a non-existent head injury in the second half.

ST: Ollie Watkins (8)

Everyone recognises the goal threat Watkins possesses but his creativity in and around the box is equally impressive. Demonstrated his awareness to lay-off a pass for Douglas Luiz’ opening strike and was relentless in his pursuit of a fifth Premier League goal of the season even after a glaring miss in the 16th-minute where he deftly controlled Diaby’s pass but somehow pulled his shot wide from the penalty spot. Eventually got the goal he craved with a piece of brilliance that involved two quick step-overs before smashing the ball into the roof of the net for Villa’s third.

ST: Moussa Diaby (7)

His electric pace is his best threat and he used it at every opprtunity to great effect. There was excitement when Diaby got the ball and had space to run into, what was more promising is he appears to have formed a communicative partnership with Watkins, with him being responsible for assisting the Englishman than scoring himself.


76′ Bailey (7)

Came off the bench to put the final nail in West Ham’s coffin with a delightful goal. Committed Alvarez to going one-way before dragging the ball back and finishing powerfully.

Tielemans (N/A)

Unused subs: Olsen, Carlos, Chambers, Lenglet, Dendoncker, Kellyman


Unai Emery (8)

His gameplan pulled West Ham to pieces in the second half and in Watkins and Diaby he has forged a strike partnership that the rest of the Premier League needs to be wary of. There is a delicate balance to everything Villa do and his defence is now looking far more solid than it was in the early parts of the season.

Ollie Watkins restored Villa's two-goal advantage after crashing home at the near post

Ollie Watkins restored Villa’s two-goal advantage after crashing home at the near post


GK: Alphonse Areola (6)

Pulled off a brilliant one-handed diving save to deny Luiz in the first half but was weak-handed in stopping the Villa’s next strike that opened the scoring. Was helpless to stop the two other goals that wrapped up victory for the hosts.

RB: Vladimir Coufal (5)

Battled with Zaniolo but was frequently undone by the Villa winger’s pace. Eventually began to get the better of his opposite number but needs to start contributing more to West Ham’s attacks rather than sitting off.

CB: Kurt Zouma (C) (6)

Dominant in defence right up until the point when he stepped off Watkins and gave the Englishman a huge target to lash his shot at. Still hasn’t been dribbled past in the Premier League this season but will be disappointed in the manner he contributed to the game’s final goal.

CB: Nayef Aguerd (5)

Struggled against the pace and fluidity of Villa’s attackers and wasn’t offered much protection by the midfield set up in front of him. Won’t want to watch this match back again as the Hammers ran riot in the closing stages.

LB: Emerson (5)

Too often caught out of position and didn’t have the pace to catch Diaby when the Villa winger pounced on the counter. Booked for barging into McGinn and was one of a number of poor performers for the visitors.

CM: Edson Alvarez (5)

Had to feel sympathetic for the Mexican when he bundled Konsa over in the box for Villa’s penalty as he should never have been put in that position by a dreadful pass from Paqueta. The foul was clumsy and so was his defending for Bailey’s late goal after he was wrong-footed in the box as Villas lashed in their fourth goal.

West Ham were handed a lifeline when Jarrod Bowen's effort went in via a wicked deflection

West Ham were handed a lifeline when Jarrod Bowen’s effort went in via a wicked deflection

CM: James Ward-Prowse (7)

Started brightly positioned in more of an attacking role when West Ham were in possession and deeper when Villa had the ball. Was missing his shooting boots throughout with a free-kick on the edge of box effort before half time hit straight into the wall. Classy all-round play and it’s a shame his team-mates didn’t match his quality.

CM: Tomas Soucek (5)

Drifted through the game and failed to make an impact. Villa played around him and the Czech international was chasing shadows for large stints. Didn’t do anything of note before being subbed off in the second half.

CAM: Lucas Paqueta (5)

Showed off with a few classy touches but this will largely be a game he will want to forget. Produced a torrid acrobatic effort from inside the box and was completely disillusioned when he played a pass back towards goal that resulted in Diaz scoring from the

penalty box.

ST: Jarrod Bowen (6)

Not his best game with West Ham’s attack spending the majority of the encounter always feeling as if it was two passes short of ever getting into a threatening position. Still managed to score his fifth Premier League goal of the season with his shot taking a deflection off Digne and ending up in the bottom corner.

ST: Michail Antonio (4)

Apart from holding up play it’s hard to see what Antonio offers to West Ham’s attack. Was incredibly wasteful in possession and never caused Villa’s defenders any problems. Kudus must be wondering why Moyes continues to play Antonio ahead of him, after this performance it’s unlikely he still will.


67′ Kudus (6)

Came in hoping to make an impact but made the wrong one as he conceded possession with a sloppy pass that led to Villa breaking on the counter and Watkins smashing in the game’s fourth goal. Still deserves to start ahead of Antonio.

Fornals (N/A) Ings (N/A) 

Michail Antonio was wasteful in possession and never caused Villa's defenders any problems

Michail Antonio was wasteful in possession and never caused Villa’s defenders any problems

Unused subs: Fabianski, Mavropanos, Ogbonna, Benrahma, Kehrer, Mubama


David Moyes (5)

The Scotsman’s 14-match unbeaten streak against Villa is over and in calamitous circumstances as the hosts smashed in four goals. There will be questions over his team selection and the notable decision to start Antonio over Kudus, while the midfield set up is lacking the pace it needs to help West Ham’s attackers.