Their previous league match saw the Hammers lose 2-0 against Brighton & Hove Albion at the London Stadium, which then led to them securing a 3-0 win over Viborg FF in midweek.
One figure that featured in Thursday’s European win that should start today is Gianluca Scamacca.
The Evening Standard picked up on the centre-forward’s impressive display in midweek by saying that he “took [his] goal brilliantly and worked hard out of possession with closing down, too”, in addition to highlighting the “encouraging link play” he had with Maxwel Cornet and Said Benrahma.
Only Manchester City (71.8%), Liverpool (70.3%) and Chelsea (58.3%) have higher possession percentages than Villa (57.7%) in the league so far this season, so it could be the Italian’s ability to work hard when his side don’t have the ball that makes him a useful figure against Steven Gerrard’s side this afternoon.
Hailed as a “complete” player by Former Italy U21 coach Luigi Di Biagio, Scamacca could be a better option for the Hammers than Michail Antonio, as none of the four shots at goal he’s had in the league so far in this campaign have even been on target.
Last term, the Italian bagged 16 times, which could make him a terrifying prospect for Villa’s defence, who have already shipped six goals in their opening three games of the campaign. It’s evident their back line isn’t up to scratch yet so it feels like the ideal time to hand Scamacca his opening Premier League start.
Either way, given the poor way that the Hammers have begun their latest league season, the pressure will surely be on if they fail to get a result today.