Aston Villa striker Jordan Ayew hails burgeoning partnership with Rudy Gestede

The summer signing from Lorient has produced some of his best football for Villa over the past two games against Newcastle United and West Ham United thanks to Gestede's presence alongside him.

Aston Villa striker Jordan Ayew believes playing up top with Rudy Gestede has helped get the best out of him over the past two games.

Ayew was speaking to AVTV after helping Villa secure a 1-1 draw against West Ham United on Saturday afternoon, having cancelled out Aaron Creswell’s 45th-minute opener with a second-half spot kick.

The hosts arguably should have won the game after dominating for lengthy periods and creating numerous chances, but some poor finishing saw them fail to capitalise on one of their best performances of the season.

Gestede was the main culprit after being brought back into the line-up following a game-changing substitute appearance in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle United, as he proceeded to miss three guilt-edge chances over the course of the match.

However, the physical front man did crucially win the penalty for Ayew to equalise just after the hour, while his height, strength and work rate also caused serious problems for the Hammers defence and freed up his strike-partner to produce a man of the match performance.

It was a similar story in the Newcastle clash, when Ayew burst into life following his strike-partner's 59th-minute introduction, and the Ghana international believes that the pair are beginning to develop a fantastic rapport on the pitch.

“Playing up front with Rudy, we understand each other really, really well,” said Ayew. “He’s a really good friend of mine and does everything perfect for me. He did a really good job today and I’m happy for him.

“He’s good in the air and keeps the ball, so I have the chance to go left or right – I have a free role with him. I like playing with Rudy and we have to keep it up because we have two important games coming and we need to get points.”

Vs West Ham Total ShotsShots OntargetKey PassesTotal PassesPassing AccuracyHeaders WonHeader SuccessDispossessedMins Played
Rudy Gestede 5 3 1 28 71% 11 47.83% 1 90

Despite Ayew and Gestede’s blossoming partnership, Villa still sit nine points from safety at the bottom of the Premier League, having taken just eight points from 18 games and gone winless since beating Bournemouth 1-0 on the opening day.

Performances have improved somewhat since Remi Garde replaced Tim Sherwood as manager in early November, but they desperately need to start collecting three points if they are to overcome the odds and retain their top-flight status.

Nevertheless, Ayew has been extremely encouraged by their recent displays and thinks that the next two games against fellow strugglers Norwich City and Sunderland, respectively, can be the turning point in their season.

"Things are changing bit by bit,” he added to AVTV. “We will win games, no doubt, if we continue playing like this. We have two important games coming up and we need to get points.

“We have to continue on with what we have been doing since the second half against Newcastle. We have to keep on that way."

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