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
Barclays Premier League Pos Team P Pts 1 Arsenal 16 35 2 Liverpool 16 33 3 Chelsea 16 33 4 Manchester City 16 32 5 Everton 16 31 6 Newcastle United 16 27 7 Tottenham Hotspur 16 27 8 Manchester United 16 25 9 Southampton 16 24 10 Swansea City 16 20 11 Aston Villa 16 19 12 Hull City 16 19 13 Stoke City 16 18 14 Norwich City 16 18 15 Cardiff City 16 17 16 West Bromwich Albion 16 15 17 West Ham United 16 14 18 Crystal Palace 16 13 19 Fulham 16 13 20 Sunderland 16 9