Aston Villa and West Ham United shared the spoils on Monday night.
Jack Grealish has shared that Declan Rice told him during their Monday night clash that the Aston Villa player should be the one ‘shooting’ and the West Ham man ‘blocking’ after the roles were reversed during their 0-0 draw.
In the second half, defensive-minded Rice took a shot from the edge of the area, with Grealish throwing himself to the ball and blocking it to safety.
Whilst Rice is deployed in a number six role and goes forward on occasions, Grealish, who plays in the number eight role, is expected to do his defensive duties and he did that right during that passage of play.
Speaking on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports Premier League (16/09/2019), Grealish shared the conversation he had with Rice during the game.
“Dec said on the pitch that ‘we should swap roles, it should be me shooting and him blocking’,” Grealish told MNF. “But it’s what I have to do now when I am playing central midfield.”
In the end, both teams would perhaps be pleased with a point, but if anyone were to be disappointed then it would be Villa because they failed to capitalise on Arthur Masuaku’s sending off in the second half.
Grealish himself had a great chance to score late on in the game and secure all three points, but he couldn’t reach Douglas Luiz’s cross as his forward run into the penalty area went unnoticed.
As for Rice, he was arguably the best player on the pitch as he produced a masterclass in how to protect your back four and defend your penalty area.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side will now turn their attention to Sunday where they will welcome Manchester United to the London Stadium.
A positive result for the Hammers at the weekend could potentially see them move into the top-four because six teams are currently sitting on eight points.
As for Villa, they will also be in the capital on Sunday, but they will be in North London as they prepare for a tough encounter against Unai Emery’s Arsenal.