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.