Said Benrahma rescued a 1-1 draw for West Ham United against Aston Villa to keep the Hammers alive in the relegation battle.
Having won each of their last five meetings with the Villans, there was an air of optimism that the impressive streak would rumble on in west London.
Cheered by a loud Hammers faithful, West Ham set out to impose themselves in the game early on, and they had sights of goal with Nayef Aguerd and Said Benrahma registering attempts, but both failed to hit the target.
On the back of successive wins, Unai Emery’s side looked set to make it three in a row when Ollie Watkins beat Aguerd to Alex Moreno’s cross to head home the opening goal.
The in-form striker became just the second Villa player to score in four consecutive Premier League games on the road before making a goal-line clearance to deny Lucas Paqueta a chance to restore parity.
However, his telling efforts were thwarted by attacking partner Leon Bailey who clumsily fouled Paqueta to concede a penalty.
Benrahma shouldered the weight of stepping up to face Emiliano Martínez, whose reputation from 12 yards out precedes him. But the Algerian made no mistake levelling matters with an emphatic strike that rippled the back of the net.
An end-to-end contest ensued following Benrahma’s goal, with both sides going for the jugular. Both sides created chances but failed to convert any.
Benrahama nearly turned provider, delivering an exquisite cross into the box, but Kurt Zouma’s header flew unconvincingly wide before Martinez denied Watkins from point-blank range at the other end.
The Algerian international proved too hot to handle for the Villa defence in the opening 45 minutes and did not let up in the second half.
Keen to add to his tally, the 27-year-old saw a volley saved, curled an ambitious strike past the post, and had another attempt tipped over the crossbar after the restart.
West Ham’s diagonal balls in behind caused problems for Villa’s defence as the game progressed, although gritty defending from Emery’s side did enough to keep them out.
Benrahma and Jhon Duran saw goalbound efforts blocked on either side of the pitch as both sides looked to snatch a winner late on but to no avail.
West Ham have once again failed to translate their impressive European form into the league as they continue to flirt with relegation.
They will feel they should have got more from the game, but a draw takes them out of the relegation zone – although they are level on points with 18th-placed Bournemouth.
David Moyes may retain the backing of the club hierarchy, but it remains to be seen how long that will last with replacements already being lined up.
- Man United ready mega bid for Tottenham striker Harry Kane
- Tottenham director Fabio Paratici opens up on Conte’s exit, plays down search for replacement
- England Under-21s: 5 players who could break into the first team for Euro 2024
- Arsenal and Brentford want Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Jesper Lindstrom
- Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan undecided about his future