Lambert's men are out of the bottom three courtesy of this victory. Stay with us for a full report and all the key reaction.
Guzan then saves again from the resulting corner, before Clattenburg blows for full-time. Crucial victory for Aston Villa.
Great save from Guzan! Denying Nolan from close range at his near post.
Less than 60 seconds to go now.
Cole takes, but Guzan is out to gather well.
Clark is booked for handball. Free-kick to West Ham in a dangerous area out on the right.
Nolan feeds Cole down the right. He does well to find Carroll, but the striker's touch lets him down and Guzan gathers.
Four added minutes will be played. Can Aston Villa hang on?
Cole's curling cross into the box clipped off the top of the jumping Westwood's head and curled over Guzan before dropping into the net.
GOAL FOR WEST HAM!!! Westwood own goal.
Bent is the latest player booked by Clattenburg.
West Ham are pressing to get back into the game and Vaz Te drills just wide from outside the box, with his shot taking a deflection.
N'Zogbia's game is over with Yacouba Sylla coming on.
N'Zogbia is down receiving treatment and limps to the sidelines.
Cole swings a dangerous cross to the far post which is met by the diving Vaz Te, but he cannot beat Guzan at his near post.
West Ham win a corner, but Baker heads powerfully clear.
Dawkins breaks into the box but overruns the ball and then throws himself into the air as Reid slides in. Clattenburg gives a goalkick.
The Holte End is now in full voice as they look to cheer Villa to three vital points.
Outstanding free-kick from N'Zogbia, getting the ball up and over the wall and leaving Jaaskelainen with no chance.
GOAL FOR VILLA!!! N'Zogbia fires home the free-kick in superb style!!
Tomkins is penalised for a foul on Bent just outside the box, with Reid booked for hurling the ball away in protest.
Carlton Cole comes on to replace Mark Noble as West Ham look to get back on terms.
Great composure there from Benteke, sending Jaaskelainen the wrong way to find the bottom corner of the net.
Benteke rolls home from 12 yards. What a key goal for Villa!!
N'Zogbia goes down over Noble's outstretched leg and Clattenburg points to the spot.
PENALTY TO VILLA!!!
Cole's free-kick is met by Nolan at the near post, but he is unable to keep his header on target.
Silly, silly challenge from Baker on Cole out on the right flank earns him a deserved yellow card.
Dawkins and N'Zogbia combine, but Benteke had strayed offside and missed the target anyway after being played in behind the Hammers defence.
Benteke gets a slice of luck as a deflection puts him in space on the left of the area, but he is unable to find a team-mate.
Ricardo Vaz Te comes on for West Ham in place of Taylor.
Off the line! Darren Bent makes a key contribution as he prevents West Ham from taking the lead after Carroll's drilled low shot from Taylor's deep corner had beaten Guzan.
Baker heads behind to give West Ham another corner.
Just wide!! Benteke feeds N'Zogbia on the right of the area and he cuts inside before unleashing a shot which whistles just past the post.
Bent has taken up a central role alongside Benteke.
Darren Bent comes on for Bowery, while Weimann makes way for Simon Dawkins as Villa ring the changes.
Lowton is in the right place at the right time to block Nolan's shot.
Noble trips Westwood inside the West Ham half, giving Villa a free-kick. Westwood floats it towards the box, before Vlaar is tackled by Pogatetz.
Nolan feeds Demel, with Clark across to block and concede the corner. Taylor aims for Carroll at the far post, but Baker deals with the danger.
N'Zogbia finds Bowery, but his touch lets him down and Pogatetz gets across. Weimann has a chance to cross but only finds Jaaskelainen.
Westwood's kick is decent, but just too high for Benteke in the centre of the area.
Villa respond, with Bowery forcing Reid to concede a corner.
Vlaar brings the ball out of defence, but Weimann's first touch is way too heavy and he simply knocks the ball out of play.
West Ham are turning the screw here, with Villa under the cosh at the back.
West Ham press again and Taylor's dangerous low cross is cleared from under his own bar by Clark. Guzan flaps at the resulting corner, Diame picks up possession and Clark is called into action once again.
Cole gets plenty of air on this corner, too much in fact, and it is cleared away at the back post.
Diame steals possession and bursts into the Villa box, but keeps his head down with team-mates well placed and has to settle for a corner.
Cole's corner is hopeless and is cleared by the man on the near post.
Cole's dangerous cross in is headed over his own bar by Bowery with Guzan ready to punch behind him.
Demel needs treatment after being caught in the face by Benteke's arm.
West Ham's supporters appeal for a penalty as Carroll goes to ground under pressure from Vlaar as they contest a cross from the right, but Clattenburg waves play on.
Guzan's kick out is met by an unchallenged Benteke. He fails to control, though and West Ham punt the ball forward and back to the Villa keeper.
Clattenburg sorts out a tangle in the area before Cole's corner is headed away by Benteke. West Ham put the ball back into the box, where Clark is all over the back of Carroll before Tomkins' shot at the far post is blocked by Vlaar.
The Hammers put Vlaar under pressure and he concedes an early corner.
West Ham get the second half under way.
OK, here we go, strap yourselves in for what promises to be a thrilling 45 minutes of Premier League football. (I'm adopting a positive attitude in the hope it helps).
James Price says: "Big Sam needs to light a fire under West Ham's backsides. It is ridiculous that we can't score against Villa's non-existent defence."
Jon Crutchley writes: "Think Bent needs to come on for Villa - he will win it with his goal!"
Check back to the start of this commentary for the Opta stats on Villa and West Ham's recent scoring records, and then the pointer that a 0-0 draw was on offer at 11/1 with Sky Bet. It won't be any more...
Ben Gleeson writes: "No offence intended to either set of fans, but this is like watching a Championship game at present." That is probably offensive to Championship teams.
The only incident of note in that shocking 45 minutes was Weimann missing a sitter with two minutes on the clock. It was very poor from then on in. We can only hope for better after the break.
Clattenburg thankfully brings an utterly awful half of football to a close.
Taylor's attempted cross from the left flicks off a Villa boot and is gathered by Guzan.
Taylor plays in Cole down the left, but his cut-back to Carroll is again wasted. The England international then tries his luck from range but is hopelessly off target.
Demel's deep cross is nodded back by Taylor but Villa clear.
Four minutes of added time will be played.
Carroll's attempted lay-off on the edge of the Villa box only releases N'Zogbia, with Pogatetz taking a yellow card for his crude challenge inside the Hammers half.
Lowton, Bowery and Weimann almost combine to create an opportunity, but Lowton is unable to control Weimann's first-time pass in the box.
Baker still has blood caked on his head and face, but referee Clattenburg has clearly not noticed.
Weimann looks to burst clear but is correctly flagged offside as he was unable to bend his run correctly.
Benteke's attempted pass flicks off Diame to hand Villa a corner, which Vlaar diverts narrowly over the bar from Westwood's kick.
Villa win a free-kick after Demel's challenge on Weimann, but Vlaar's attempted pile-driver from range goes horribly wide. We've had one shot on target from seven attempts so far.
Vital touch from Ciaran Clark, getting a toe to Demel's cross from the right after a neat West Ham move, diverting it safely into Guzan's gloves with Nolan lurking.
Pogatetz drills another long free-kick towards the Villa box, but again they clear.
West Ham totally waste the free-kick as Guzan comes out to claim.
Baker, who is still bleeding from his early head wound, is penalised for a challenge on Carroll. The Villa man will need to get that looked at soon.
N'Zogbia manages to make space for a cross from the right but his hanging effort is straight to Jaaskelainen.
Flag up against Benteke for offside. Marginal call.
Carroll is picked out by a cross from the right and heads goalwards, but his effort lacks power and is all too easy for Guzan.
Taylor and Diame combine on the left with the latter getting his attempted cross-shot all wrong and he drills it behind Guzan's near post. Wasted opportunity.
Baker dwells on the ball out on the flank allowing Cole to steal possession. He plays it forward towards Nolan and Taylor, but Villa are able to clear.
Villa press again, with Pogatetz's header clear hitting Weimann before Tomkins clears.
Poor pass from Demel sells Nolan short in midfield and he gives the new arrival a piece of his mind.
Tomkins is able to continue, but Villa are putting pressure on the visitors.
Benteke looks to earn a corner, but the ball deflects off the flag and remains in play.
O'Brien's game is over with Guy Demel coming on.
More worries for West Ham, with Tomkins in need of some treatment after taking an accidental boot in the face from Delph after another excellent sliding tackle.
O'Brien gets back to his feet rather gingerly and is still limping on the touchline.
N'Zogbia looks to thread a ball through to Weimann, but O'Brien is across with a brave sliding tackle. The West Ham man stays down after a heavy collision between the two.
Villa Park rises, as it always does at this point in any game, in support of Stiliyan Petrov as he continues his battle with leukemia.
West Ham go long again, with Nolan's head meeting the ball, but Villa clear.
Westwood's ball into the box finds Benteke, but he has timed his jump all wrong and the ball goes out for a goal-kick.
Great feet from Delph to dance away from three challenges in midfield, before his run towards the West Ham box is ended by Pogatetz, who concedes the free-kick.
Delph pulls back Diame in the West Ham half and earns a talking to from Mark Clattenburg.
Good control from Diame in midfield as he receives possession and plays a simple pass, but the West Ham move comes to nothing.
Baker and Carroll are back on their feet after treatment and should be OK to continue.
Just seen a replay of the Weimann chance. It gets worse every time you watch it, with Benteke's frustrated reaction summing up how every Villa player and fan will have felt.
Nasty clash of heads between Nathan Baker and Andy Carroll and Clattenburg immediately stops the game.
West Ham initially clear, but then the ball comes back in and they concede another corner.
Tomkins is in action again, this time sliding in on Weimann and conceding a corner.
Delph looks to break down the left, but Tomkins comes and across and slides in to put the ball out of play.
West Ham aim for Carroll again. He does not win the header, but picks up possession only to be challenged as Villa clear their lines.
First chance for West Ham to aim for Carroll with a free-kick in their own half. The striker wins the aerial battle with ease, before lofting the second ball over the bar.
Weimann was left with his head in his hands after missing a real sitter. That really would have been the perfect start for the hosts, but they will have put that behind them and move on.
Glorious chance for Villa! Benteke shoots from outside the box and Jaaskelainen fumbles the save. Weimann has the whole goal to aim at, but fires wide from six yards out. Terrible, terrible miss.
Villa knocking the ball around at the back in a bid to get all their defence a touch early on.
Villa get the game started.
Huddle from the home side before kick-off.
Time for a few pre-match formalities of line-ups, handshakes etc before the contest gets under way.
The two teams are in the tunnel and ready to make their way out onto the Villa Park surface.
Sky Bet update: Christian Benteke has scored in four successive appearances for Aston Villa in all competitions and he has been enhanced to 5/1 to open the scoring today. Under-fire boss Paul Lambert is 17/10 to earn a win which would propel his side out of the relegation zone, but an away victory is 8/5, with the draw 23/10.
Pete Lowe is backing the hosts to triumph today and writes: "Villa to win 2-1, Benteke to score first."
On-loan Wolfsburg defender Emanuel Pogatetz is given a first start by Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, with Joe Cole also back in the starting line-up.
Villa boss Paul Lambert hands a first Premier League start to striker Jordan Bowery, a £600,000 summer signing from Chesterfield. Midfielder Fabian Delph is back after an ankle injury with left-back Nathan Baker also recalled.
The referee for this afternoon's contest is Mark Clattenburg.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Reid, Tomkins, Pogatetz, Noble, Diame, Nolan, Taylor, Joe Cole, Carroll. Subs: Spiegel, Jarvis, Carlton Cole, Vaz Te, Demel, Chamakh, O'Neil.
You already have the starting XIs, but here's the full team news for today.
The Hammers have tasted victory in just two of their last 10 Premier League outings, but would move level on points with Stoke City in 10th place in the standings if they triumph today.
Despite being on an eight-game winless slump, Aston Villa know victory over West Ham this afternoon would see them climb out of the Premier League relegation zone.
Aston Villa can be backed at 17/10 with Sky Bet to win today's game, West Ham are available at 6/4 and the draw is 12/5.
In the light of those last two statistics, Sky Bet are offering 11/1 on this afternoon's contest ending in a 0-0 draw.
Opta stat No.4: Aston Villa have scored just two goals in their last seven Premier League matches at Villa Park.
Opta stat No.3: The Hammers have taken just one point from the last 21 available on the road and scored just five goals in their last nine games away from home in the Premier League.
Opta stat No.2: Only Stoke (326) have committed more fouls in the Premier League this season than West Ham (319).
Opta stat No.1: Villa have won none of their last eight Premier League games (D3 L5) and overall they have picked up just 31 points in their last 40 Premier League games. The Hammers have earned 30 points in their last 25 PL matches.
Time for a couple of stats from our friends at Opta prior to kick-off.
Villa supporter Mike Murphy reckons: "Aston Villa have been playing good attacking football recently. If we can put three past Everton we can do the same against West Ham."
West Ham fan Glenn Jennings is first to get in touch and he writes: "Villa 1-2 West Ham, Benteke, Carroll and Nolan will score!"
If you want to have your say on this afternoon's game, then drop me a line to email@example.com or via Twitter @skysportsrobp and I'll publish a selection of the best prior to kick-off.
West Ham XI: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Tomkins, Reid, Pogatetz, Noble, Diame, Nolan, J Cole, Taylor, Carroll.
Aston Villa XI: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Westwood, Delph, N'Zogbia, Bowery, Weimann, Benteke.
Good afternoon and welcome to our live and interactive commentary on today's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and West Ham.