Relegation troubles? West Ham could move up SIX places with Villa win

The precarious state of the bottom half of the Premier League means West Ham could finish the weekend as high as 12th with a win at Aston Villa.

Whether it's down to a severe lack of quality or rather an increased lack of competition, the bottom half of the Premier League table is exceedingly close this season.

Bottom-side Fulham are just five points off 12th-placed Swansea City, while 19th-placed Cardiff City are just six off 10th-placed Aston Villa.

And due to the narrow margins at the wrong end of the league standings, one team in particular could be set to benefit this weekend - if they can get a result at Villa Park.

Indeed, West Ham United are just three points away from a six-place jump up the table - and fixtures this weekend might just provide the perfect circumstances for such a transition.

Sam Allardyce's men have only won twice away from home this season but face a Villa side who, strangely, have won just three in 12 at home. That statistic might stem from the counterattacking nature of Paul Lambert's side, with the Villans unable to dominate games in their own backyard.

That, then, gives West Ham the perfect opportunity to record a rare victory on their travels, even without Andy Carroll. And the incentives could not be higher, as four other bottom-half sides travel to tough destinations this weekend, with six in action against each other.

Fulham and Stoke City, for instance, face difficult trips to Manchester United and Southampton respectively. Swansea and Cardiff, meanwhile, face each other in the south Wales derby, where at least one side will have to drop points.

Elsewhere, Crystal Palace host West Brom in a battle between 17th and 16th, while Sunderland face Hull City in a contest between 13th and 14th.

Norwich City, finally, host Manchester City - a side that beat them 7-0 in their last encounter.

So with the fixtures being as they are this time around, one or two favourable draws here and there could see West Ham move from 18th to 12th. The only question is whether Big Sam's men can go out there and do the business.

Can West Ham beat Aston Villa this weekend?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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