Dean Smith’s Aston Villa will host Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United in Monday night’s Premier League clash at Villa Park.

Issa Diop has never sampled the famous Aston Villa atmosphere before but that will all change on Monday night. And, speaking to the club’s official website, the West Ham United defender has made it clear that he knows exactly what to expect at one of England’s most historic stadiums.

The last time Villa hosted the Hammers, Jores Okore, Idrissa Gueye and Carlos Sanchez were starting in claret and blue. It’s fair to say a lot has changed since that December evening in 2015.

But one thing that has stayed the same is the passion of the Aston Villa fans. There is a real feelgood spirit in the Midlands right now despite a tough start to life back in the big league, comprising of just one win in four top flight games.

And Diop, who arrived in England two years after Aston Villa were relegated, is looking forward to sampling his first taste of life at Villa Park.

“Away games are always difficult in England but it’s going to be a good game,” said the former Toulouse captain, who cost The Hammers £22 million in 2018 (BBC).

“The lads told me Aston Villa is a very good atmosphere with good fans, so like every game we want to win, so I hope we’re going to do our best game to get the three points.”

West Ham battered Watford 3-1 on their last away trip with Sebastien Haller, the club-record signing, scoring twice at Vicarage Road. And Manuel Pellegrini will need the towering Frenchman to be at his best again on Monday with Tyrone Mings and Bjorn Engels forming a fine centre-back partnership at the heart of Dean Smith’s back line.

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