Braving the barrage

Aston Villa stood up to West Ham's aerial bombardment to secure a much-needed Premier League win.

Last Updated: 10/02/13 at 16:41 Post Comment

So says Joe Royle after watching Paul Lambert's side register their first victory in the top division for nine games - the Villans last took three points at Liverpool on December 15 - and shoot themselves out of the relegation zone.

Christian Benteke netted from the penalty spot (74) and Charles N'Zogbia whipped in a free-kick (78) as the Midlanders downed the Hammers 2-1 at Villa Park.

Read our match report here

But former Man City and Everton boss Royle told Sky Sports HD that he was most impressed by the hosts' defensive solidity - despite Ashley Westwood scoring a late own goal (87).

"They didn't get the clean sheet they wanted but they defended better," Royle said of Aston Villa, who slipped out of the Capital One and FA Cups to lower-league opposition in January.

Inspired

"It was last-ditch defending rather than sophisticated defending because West Ham didn't offer a sophisticated threat as everything was directed to Andy Carroll - but Villa defended well and they will take great pleasure from that.

"It was inspired from Lambert to bring on Darren Bent as a substitute - not because of what he did going forward but because he kicked one off the line when it was 0-0.

"And (Villa goalkeeper) Brad Guzan did well again; he is a good shot-stopper and not afraid to come for a cross, either."

Meanwhile, on the performance of Villa midfielder N'Zogbia, Sky Sports pundit Ray Wilkins added: "He did some good things.

"He was fouled by Mark Noble for the penalty and scored a well-taken free-kick, although I think Jussi Jaaskelainen was probably too far over to his right-hand side in the West Ham goal."

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Readers' Comments

S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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