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ASTON VILLA v WEST HAM: Premier League's original 'Claret and Blue' derby returns as hosts look to prove steel against high-flying HammersWest Ham travel to the Midlands to take on Aston Villa in Monday night's actionVilla head into the game on the back of a narrow 1-0 loss at Crystal PalaceWest Ham comfortably beat Norwich 2-0 last time out at the London Stadium The Hammers have enjoyed their best start to the Premier League since 2012-13Aston Villa v West Ham, Villa Park, Monday 8pm 

Monday night's game welcomes back the Premier League's original 'Claret and Blue' derby when newly-promoted Aston Villa welcome West Ham to Villa Park.

And Villa boss Dean Smith might be excused for reaching for the claret given his side's start to the season. 

While the performances have certainly been there, the results haven't - but he can take solace from the fact Villa ended the Premier League's longest-ever losing streak against Everton last month. 

Aston Villa will be desperate to show their made of sturdy stuff in their battle for survival

The Hammers, meanwhile, are enjoying their best start to a season since the days of Sam Allardyce during the 2012-13 season, where they also accumulated seven points from the first four matches. 

West Ham rolled over newly-promoted Norwich 2-0 last time out at the London Stadium as new boy Sebastien Haller got on the scoresheet alongside Andriy Yarmolenko.

But Manuel Pellegrini's side know it will be tough as Villa look to get their vengeance after their controversial disallowed goal right at the death against Crystal Palace denied them what would have been a confidence-boosting 1-1 draw.

West Ham have got off to a flyer, picking up seven points from their opening four league games

So they can expect a raucous occasion at Villa Park under the lights from the home faithful as the hosts aim to show the Premier League that they are made of sturdier stuff in their bid for survival.

And the omens leading into the game are with them. They have lost just two of their last 18 home league games against West Ham (W8 D8 L2) – 1-2 in January 2006 and 0-2 in February 2014.  

Team news to follow. 

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith said: 'There's a burning desire from them to right the wrongs. I can sense that.

'I've given them a few days off over the last few weeks during the international break, while some have been away with their countries. You always wonder what the quality and intensity of sessions is going to be like when players are away, but it's been very, very good.

'We've had some really tough sessions, as well as some double ones. We've also had training games as well. They're itching for that next game.'

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini said: 'If we can repeat the last game in the next 34 games then we will be fine!

'We are trying to find a balanced team that can keep more clean sheets, try to score the most amount of goals, but football is about moments. 

'You have players who get injured, maybe sometimes their confidence is not there but at this time, we are in a good general moment and we must try to extend it in the next game. But we must be sure that we did against Norwich will not be enough against Aston Villa.

'We need to repeat that game with a higher performance.'

Villa manager Dean Smith has opened up on the 'burning desire' in the squad to improve

With the Villans proving a tough test for opponents so far in the English top flight, it is not a surprise that the two teams are evenly-matched with the bookmakers. 

The visitors are slight favourites at 6/4 while the hosts are priced at 13/8. The draw is 13/5.

The final scoreline could prove to be a narrow margin with Villa having the added advantage of playing at home in front of their supporters. And a score draw is valued at 3/1. For a LONG SHOT, both teams to score in both halves is 9/1. 

THE STATS THAT MATTER  Aston Villa have lost just two of their last 18 home league games against West Ham (W8 D8 L2) – 1-2 in January 2006 and 0-2 in February 2014.  Aston Villa have won just one of their last 16 Premier League games on a Monday (D5 L10), beating Sunderland 6-1 in April 2013.West Ham's return of seven points (W2 D1 L1) from their opening four Premier League games is their best start to a season since 2012-13, when they also won seven points under Sam Allardyce.Aston Villa have lost 15 of their last 17 Premier League matches (W1 D1 L15), including three of their four this season (W1 D0 L3).West Ham striker Sebastien Haller has scored three goals in three Premier League games this season and has been involved in 21 goals in his last 25 top-flight appearances across spells at Eintracht Frankfurt and the Hammers (15 goals, 6 assists).The two most-fouled players in the Premier League this season are Aston Villa midfielders John McGinn (15) and Jack Grealish (13).West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini lost his first match against Aston Villa in September 2013 but has won five of his subsequent six in all competitions against the Villans (W5 D1 L0), all as Manchester City manager.In all competitions, Aston Villa have won seven of their last nine home games (W7 D0 L2), having won just six of their previous 20 at Villa Park (W6 D10 L4).West Ham's Manuel Lanzini has created 14 chances for his team-mates in the Premier League this season – only Man City's Kevin De Bruyne (16) has created more.West Ham are looking to secure back-to-back league victories against Aston Villa for the first time since January 2006, having beating them 2-0 in their last meeting in February 2016. Advertisement


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