Aston Villa v West Ham
Last Updated: 09/02/13 2:34pm
Aston Villa will be keen to escape the bottom three when they welcome West Ham to Villa Park in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday.
Lacklustre results have seen the Midlanders become ensnared in the battle at the foot of the table, piling pressure on manager Paul Lambert.
They will be looking to steer clear of the relegation places against the Hammers as they seek their first Premier League win in eight games, with two points currently between them and safety.
Villa showed encouraging signs in dramatic encounter at Everton on Saturday, twice going ahead against the Merseysiders thanks to two goals from Christian Benteke either side of a Gabriel Agbonlahor strike, but Lambert's men were ultimately pegged to a 3-3 draw.
For West Ham, promoted from the npower Championship last season, Sunday's encounter presents the chance to go on a winning run after claiming their first success in five Premier League games over Swansea at the weekend.
Andy Carroll's 77th-minute winner proved the difference against the League Cup finalists at Upton Park as the on-loan Liverpool striker made his first start since November.
That result lifted Sam Allardyce's side into 11th place in the table as they bid to secure top-flight football for another season.
The two sides have not faced each other at Villa Park since the opening day of the 2010-11 season, after which West Ham were relegated, as goals from Stewart Downing, Stiliyan Petrov and James Milner sealed a 3-0 Villa win.
They also met on the opening day of the current campaign at Upton Park as the Londoners started life back in the Barclays Premier League on a high note, with Kevin Nolan's 40th-minute winner securing a 1-0 home success for the Hammers.
For Villa, three points would mark a crucial step towards top-flight survival, but they host a West Ham side who are just as keen to extend their stay in the Barclays Premier League for another year.
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Barclays Premier League Pos Team P Pts 1 Chelsea 30 66 2 Manchester City 27 60 3 Liverpool 28 59 4 Arsenal 28 59 5 Tottenham Hotspur 29 53 6 Everton 28 51 7 Manchester United 28 48 8 Southampton 30 45 9 Newcastle United 29 43 10 Aston Villa 29 34 11 Stoke City 30 34 12 West Ham United 29 31 13 Hull City 29 30 14 Swansea City 29 29 15 Norwich City 30 29 16 West Bromwich Albion 29 28 17 Crystal Palace 29 28 18 Sunderland 27 25 19 Cardiff City 30 25 20 Fulham 30 24