Aston Villa manager Unai Emery held nothing back to the media following a controversial penalty given to West Ham United in the 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon. The hosts equalised through Said Benrahma from the spot, but Chris Kavanagh’s decision to give the foul wasn’t appreciated by The Villans’ head coach.
West Ham’s goal came just nine minutes after Ollie Watkins handed the visitors the lead and it ultimately decided the result. Leon Bailey was silly to give Lucas Paqueta a slight nudge in the penalty area but the Irons midfielder’s tumble to the ground was perhaps a little excessive.
The Hammers had more shots on the day and caused the likes of Alex Moreno and Matty Cash plenty of issues with their wide men, but their only goal came from their penalty. Had it not been given, Villa could have walked away with three vital points toward their top-half push.
Up against a bottom-three opposition, many expected a victory, but it wasn’t to be. When asked if the result was a missed opportunity for his side, Emery said: “It depends, I’m happy because we knew before the match that it was going to be difficult. After the first half, maybe we deserved more.
“We controlled the game and scored the first goal. They pushed but the second half was a little more open than I wanted. There was maybe a moment [or two] to win the match, but then again it was probably a fair result.”
Emery’s honesty on how things went continued when he was quizzed about the two penalty calls in the game. There were calls in the second half for a Villa spot kick as Emi Buendia was bundled over by Declan Rice - and it looked from the stands to be a similar scenario to the West Ham penalty - but it wasn’t given.
“I watched it [the first-half penalty being awarded] and I respect the referees, 100 per cent, but my opinion is it was a very soft penalty,” Emery said with a wry smile. “I didn’t watch it [the possible Buendia call] as I only watched the one we conceded,” Emery continued.
Following the 1-1 draw at the London Stadium, Villa remain in 11th place – somewhere they have been for what seems like an absolute age. The top half isn’t too far away with Chelsea just two points away and Brentford three, whereas the nearest challengers below are Crystal Palace and Wolves, who are eight behind.