English Premiership

Troubled Villa held by West Ham

2015-12-26 19:27
Remi Garde (Supplied)

Birmingham - Aston Villa fought back to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to West Ham on Saturday, but the Premier League strugglers remain in deep trouble at the foot of the table.

Aaron Cresswell struck in first-half stoppage time at Villa Park to give West Ham the lead, but Jordan Ayew converted a penalty just after the hour to earn Villa a share of the points.

West Ham have now drawn their last five league matches and are without a win in eight, while Villa saw their club-record winless run in the league extended to 17 matches.

Only three of the previous 23 teams who were bottom on Christmas Day have avoided relegation and Villa will go into Monday's trip to Norwich with just eight points from 18 games.

However, there is still a glimmer of hope for Remi Garde's side as the last two teams in the same position - Leicester in 2014 and Sunderland in 2013 - both went on to survive.

Garde has said that Villa need "at least 10 victories" from their remaining matches to save themselves from the drop and the hosts twice went close through Rudy Gestede to taking an early lead.

But Villa then needed an excellent stop from goalkeeper Brad Guzan to prevent Mauro Zarate from putting West Ham in front on 25 minutes.

Hammers midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate sent a header against the crossbar late in the first period, before Guzan was beaten three minutes into injury time as Cresswell fired home from the edge of the area.

Gestede, who scored Villa's winner against Bournemouth in their lone victory back on the opening day of the season, drew a low save from Adrian just before the hour.

The Benin striker then won his team a penalty moments later after he was brought down by Angelo Ogbonna, with Ayew dispatching the spot-kick for his fifth goal of the campaign to bring Villa level. 

Villa went close to adding a second 15 minutes from time but Alan Hutton's header was cleared off the line by James Collins.


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