Manuel Pellegrini’s side have bounced back fantastically from their opening day mauling at the hands of champions Manchester City, with wins over Watford and Norwich City getting them firmly back on track.
Now, former England international – and recent perennial news-maker – Michael Owen has given them the edge over the Villans, telling BetVictor: “Villa beat Everton in their last home game but were disappointing at Selhurst Park last time and, if there is to be a winner at Villa Park on Monday, I think it will be the visitors.”
It’s been a tricky return to the top flight for Dean Smith’s side, and Owen clearly feels it could be about to get worse in front of their home fans. His take will certainly have the Hammers fans licking their lips, that’s for sure.
Villa have just three points thus far this campaign, beating Everton, as Owen said, but suffering defeats to Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace last time out.
West Ham, on the other hand, appear to be going from strength to strength under Pellegrini. However, this is a gut-check sort of game for the east London outfit.
This is the kind of fixture that the Irons would lose in the past, or possibly draw, as Owen also intimated they might still do. To show that they are a new team, a stronger team, they need to brush aside these sort of opponents.
With club record signing Sebastien Haller having got off to a tremendous start, and playmakers Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini flourishing, it’s hard to see how Villa’s defence keeps them out.
Owen believes West Ham might have the edge, now Pellegrini’s men need to go out and prove him correct.