Ten-man West Ham held to stalemate at Villa
Premier League, Villa Park - Aston Villa 0 West Ham 0
Ten-man West Ham missed the chance to move into the Premier League's top three as Aston Villa held them to a 0-0 draw at Villa Park.
The Hammers had been aiming to continue their fine start to the new campaign with a victory that would have moved them level on points with champions Manchester City.
However, the visitors struggled to carve out clear openings and saw their hopes further hit when Arthur Masuaku was sent off for a second caution 23 minutes from time.
It left boss, Manuel Pellegrini frustrated on his 66th birthday as his side were forced to settle for a point that sees them move to eighth in the table.
Villa had the better openings in a match of few opportunities but couldn't step it up in the attacking third when they had the man advantage. Dean Smith will rue a missed chance to pinch another home win but will be pleased to see his side edge out of the drop zone and up to 17th.
A dour game most memorable for needle between teammates. Both sides will feel this was a missed opportunity to pick up a victory. West Ham remain unbeaten since the opening weekend and survived a very late surge from the hosts, but will believe they should have done more in attack.
Villa fought hard and carved out a couple of good openings. Their ability to come up with a solution to what appears to be a lack of firepower may well be key to their hopes of survival.
Overall, it was a dull battle that had plenty of gusto but lacked quality. It is perhaps fitting that the main talking point for supporters heading for the exits was a first-half scuffle that saw Anwar El Ghazi appear to head butt teammate Tyrone Mings after the Villa defender had a pop at the winger for failing to track back.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham). The Hammers keeper made a couple of important saves in a contest where defences were definitely on top.
ASTON VILLA: Heaton 7, Guilbert 7, Engels 7, Mings 7, Taylor 7, Nakamba 7, Grealish 7, Jota 6, McGinn 7, El Ghazi 7, Wesley 6. Subs: Elmohamady 6, Luiz n/a, Davis n/a.
13' - ASTON VILLA CHANCE. Grealish plays a lovely one-two to sprint to the right by line. He fizzes in a wonderful cross to the near post for Wesley, who somehow fails to find the target.
21' - WEST HAM CHANCE. A super counter at pace almost sees the Hammers unlock the Villa defence. Anderson charges down the left and curves a lovely ball into the box that Haller heads just wide.
45' - ASTON VILLA CHANCE. McGinn meets a left-wing cutback with a low, first-time shot but sees his effort brilliantly pushed to safety by Fabianski.
67' - WEST HAM RED CARD. Masuaku is shown a second yellow card of the night by Mike Dean for a late tackle on Elmohamady.
88' - ASTON VILLA CHANCE. Grealish makes a late run to latch onto a cross from the right, but fails to connect with a volley 10 yards out. He should have done better there.
Since their return to the Premier League in 2012-13, West Ham have picked up 22 red cards in the competition, with only Newcastle managing more (26).