Lingard inspires Hammers to overcome Villa

The Manchester United midfielder joined up with former boss David Moyes last week and put in a virtuoso performance on his debut as West Ham beat Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park.

West Ham looked bright from the off with Emi Martinez called into early action with a double save – first from a miscued Michail Antonio volley and then from Lingard’s 25-yard drive as Villa struggled to clear their lines.

Lingard impressed linking up well down the left with Said Benrahma whilst David Moyes decision to play fullback pair Ryan Fredericks and Vladimir Coufal down the right-hand side kept Jack Grealish mostly quiet.

Villa did nearly grab the lead however when Ollie Watkins planted a free header over the bar from a Matt Cash cross in what was arguably the best chance of a first-half that ended goal-less.

At the break, Dean Smith replaced the underwhelming Anwar El Ghazi for Bertrand Traore in search of some spark but it was the Hammer who looked more likely to score. They did just that on 51 minutes when Antonio held the ball up well to feed Benraham who’s cushioned first-time through ball was drilled across Martinez and in by Soucek from a tight angle.

Five minutes later it was 2-0. Benrahma starting the counter on the edge of his own area after Watkins gave away the ball cheaply and again finding Antonio. The Hammer’s were three on two and Antonio chipped the ball to the back post where Lingard was able to control and half volley the ball past Martinez – who may feel he could have done better.

Aston Villa gave themselves a glimmer of hope with nine minutes left when Jack Grealish’s slide-rule pass from the right found Watkins who added excellent snipers finish to make it 2-1.

That hope was extinguished as quickly as it ignited however when Lingard added his second of the night, again combining with Antonio and drilling the ball under Martinez’s dive.

West Ham are up to 5th in the Table and with Gareth Southgate watching on Lingard will be dreaming of a place in the England team for the forthcoming Euros having not played for his country since 2019.