Aston Villa fell to their fourth consecutive Premier League defeat as they were beaten 4-1 by West Ham United at Villa Park.
Ben Johnson, Declan Rice, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen all scored for the visitors as the Hammers landed themselves a memorable victory in the west midlands.
Smith had rung the changes as expected ahead of the game for Villa including taking the brave decision to drop captain Tyrone Mings.
The changes didn’t have the desired affect though as the home side started slow - a similar theme in recent weeks.
Young defender Ben Johnson gave West Ham an early deserved lead with a great strike before Ollie Watkins leveled things up for the claret & blue.
They were all square for a grand total of four minutes before Declan Rice fired the visitors back in front.
Any hopes of a comeback were dealt a huge blow when Ezri Konsa received his marching orders just after the break. The defender was initially given a yellow card but following intervention from VAR, the yellow became red.
Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen added the icing on the cake for the Hammers who move up to fourth with the win. Villa remain 15th.
On a day where not many Villa players come away with credit, Watkins is able to hold his head high.
The young forward has had a rough start to the season but he was full of energy today and got his deserved goal.
He could have added a second too with a great header but Fabianski pulled off an impressive save to deny him.
Probably the best player on the pitch on the day.
His performance was outstanding and he capped it off with a great goal.
Ironically he’s exactly the type of player Villa could do with. Whilst they have good players in that area, they don’t really have anyone that can grab a game by the scruff of the neck like Rice did today.
“You’re not fit to referee” was the chant around Villa Park as the game came to a close.
It wasn’t the finest officiating performance you’ll see this year and there were glaring inconsistencies throughout.
The red card for Ezri Konsa was harsh and if anything, it should have been Kortney Hause receiving his marching orders for a foul seconds earlier.
Of course, the result wasn’t all on the referee today but he certainly didn’t help.
Although I feel the sending off was harsh as touched on above, Konsa got himself into a terrible position. Bowen got in behind too easily and he did make a challenge. He gave the ref a decision to make.
The red card essentially killed all hope of a comeback and he gave his team a mountain to climb.
The Argentine keeper has been one of if not the best performer for Villa this season but today was one to forget.
He claimed he was un-sighted for the second goal but it’s still a save you’d expect him to make nine times out of ten.
The first goal was one he’d arguably have saved on another day, too. He did pull off some good saves as the game progressed but ultimately it was one to forget for he and the entire Villa team.
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Martinez 5; Cash 6, Konsa 4, Hause 4, Targett 4; McGinn 6, Nakamba 5, Ramsey N/A (15’ Young 6); Buendia 5 (52’ Mings 6), Watkins 7*, Bailey 5 (72’ El Ghazi N/A)
West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 7; Johnson 8, Zouma 8, Ogbonna 8, Cresswell 8; Soucek 7, Rice 9*; Bowen 9 (90’ Vlasic N/A), Fornals 8 (90’ Coufal N/A) , Benrahma 6 (64’ Lanzini 8), Antonio 7