West Ham v Aston Villa: Player stats suggest Grealish shots on target

West Ham United host Aston Villa in the Premier League on Monday in a 8pm kick-off at the London Stadium.

It has been an impressive start to the season for both teams, with West Ham’s 1-0 win against Sheffield United taking them to 11th in the table.

Villa, meanwhile, are ninth with 15 points from eight matches despite last weekend’s 2-1 home defeat to Brighton.

West Ham are 27/20 to win the match, with the draw 13/5 and a Villa win 15/8.

This is a repeat of July’s meeting, which saw Villa get the draw they needed to survive relegation on the final day of last season.

Dean Smith’s side are a different beast this campaign, however, winning their three away games so far this season against Fulham, Leicester and Arsenal without conceding a goal.

West Ham have not lost at home since the opening day against Newcastle, though, drawing with Manchester City as well as beating Wolves and Fulham.

Villa are missing Ross Barkley with a hamstring injury, but Michail Antonio has returned from his to start for West Ham.

One man who can light up any match is Jack Grealish, and he’s likely to receive plenty of attention as always. Generally coming inside from the left flank, the likes of Vladimir Coufal, Declan Rice and Fabian Balbuena are likely to be the players generally tasked with tackling and fouling the England star.

Balbuena is a particularly proactive defender, averaging over one tackle, one foul and two interceptions this season. Odds of 6/5 on Balbuena making 2+ tackles (Sky Bet) appeals given it has landed three times in his seven starts this season and he should be busier than ever with Grealish and Ollie Watkins to deal with.

Balbuena is 4/1 to be carded (Betfair), with Coufal 7/2 (Sky Bet) and Rice 9/2 (bet365). I like the look of Balbuena and Tyrone Mings, who has been carded twice this season and may struggle with the pace of Michail Antonio, as a double at 35/1 (Betfair).

With Barkley injured, Grealish is likely to take on even more shooting responsibility than usual. He has had two shots on target in four of his eight league matches this season, making 4/1 (Betfair) look huge odds for Grealish to have two or more shots on target once again.

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