Aston Villa player ratings vs West Ham: Two score 8/10s but three 5s and several 6s as VAR takes centre stage

Aston Villa player ratings vs West Ham United in the Premier League.

Aston Villa fought back to claim a point in a 1-1 draw away at West Ham United – a game that regrettably saw VAR take centre stage. The Hammers were twice denied goals for handball after reviews, the second of which was deep in added time and took over five minutes to chalk off, the longest-ever in English football. The Hammers' faithful, infuriated by the officiating, booed the referees down the tunnel at full-time. Unai Emery's side, meanwhile, will be happy to claim something from the game.

Villa lacked attacking impetus in the first half and made several defensive errors, one of which allowed Michail Antonio to head in for the lead. The Villans improved in the second period and super substitutes Moussa Diaby and Nicolo Zaniolo combined to level up the scoring. But there weren't many other big moments to shout up about.

The visitors started fairly well as Leon Bailey fed Ollie Watkins excellently but the striker, despite getting plenty of power on his effort, couldn't quite squeeze the ball beyond Alphonse Areola at the near post. Morgan Rogers then tried his luck from around 20 yards but it was straight at the West Ham goalkeeper.

Next, the Hammers' turn as Lucas Paqueta's shot ricocheted off Tomas Soucek, beating Emiliano Martinez but fizzing inches wide of the left post. Jarrod Bowen then went close as he channeled his inner Douglas Luiz by attempting to score from a corner, but Martinez punched the ball away. Alex Moreno gave Coufal too much room to shoot a few minutes later, but Martinez made a good stop to recover.

Much to the dismay of Emery on the touchline and the Villa faithful in the heavens of London Stadium, West Ham took the lead in the 29th minute. Coufal, again given space on the right flank, whipped in an excellent cross for Antonio. The striker got ahead of Ezri Konsa and timed his header perfectly, leaning down to arrow the ball beyond Martinez for 1-0. Mohammed Kudus had a decent opportunity to double his side's lead before half-time when Clement Lenglet was caught out in possession. The Ghanaian sprinted onto a Paqueta through ball but missed the target.

Villa had enough control in possession however lacked a creative spark. Most of the play went down the left flank but there was rarely a way through, while Leon Bailey on the opposite wing was hardly getting a look-in. Emery recognised this and made two substitutions at half-time, bringing on Matty Cash and Diaby for Clement Lenglet and Jhon Duran.

But a set-piece nearly undid everything for Villa before the changes could make the desired impact. Antonio had the ball in the net again for the hosts as he bundled a Bowen corner over the line but VAR ruled the goal out for handball; a huge let-off.

The response was better from the Villans as the shape improved and the tempo increased. The chances began to flow, too, with minor openings for Bailey and Youri Tielemans denied before Konsa saw a close-range strike stopped by Areola. The Irons went close as Emerson Palmieri saw a free-kick saved by Martinez but Villa were the side likelier to score.

That 'goal-is-coming' feeling rang true in the 79th minute as Zaniolo, off the bench, poked home a low Diaby cross to send the travelling Villa Park faithful ballistic. Emery was equally as passionate as the Spaniard left his technical area and pumped his fists in celebration.

The Villans, pumped up by their equaliser, looked for a second but West Ham were the team agonisingly close to winning it at the death. James Ward-Prowse had a glorious opportunity in the 92nd minute but Cash made an incredible block to deny the midfielder. Then it was Kostas Mavropanos and Tomas Soucek, with one of the last moments of the match, as the pair jostled a loose ball over the line, sending the Hammers' support wild. But VAR was asked to intervene and eventually, after six minutes of checking, the goal was chalked off for handball.

The spoils shared as 1-1 was how it remained. Here are our Villa player ratings.

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