Aston Villa moved out of the relegation zone by drawing against a West Ham side who finished with 10 men after Arthur Masuaku’s red card.
Masuaku was dismissed with 23 minutes left after picking up two bookings.
Before that, the game’s major talking point saw Anwar El Ghazi clash heads with Villa team-mate Tyrone Mings, although no action was taken.
Villa’s John McGinn had plenty of the game’s better chances, forcing Lukasz Fabianski into two saves.
Both sides had frantic attacks late on, with penalty shouts at both ends, but neither could find the decisive touch.
Collisions and red cards the name of the game
There were plenty of big hits and tackles, more so than major goalscoring opportunities.
The major incident in the first half involved two Villa players – Mings was furious with El Ghazi’s lack of defensive help and started shouting in his face.
At that moment, Netherlands winger El Ghazi nudged his head into Mings’ face. He could have been sent off, but referee Mike Dean and the video assistant referee decided the contact was not sufficient to produce a red card.
Elsewhere, the physios were busy, as Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianski flattened El Ghazi as he punched a cross clear, and McGinn hurt himself after tackling Sebastien Haller when Angelo Ogbonna accidentally stood on him.
There were five yellow cards in the game, and two of them landed to Masuaku – one in each half. The first was more straightforward, with a heavy challenge on Frederic Guilbert, who needed treatment.
But the second tackle to produce the red card – Dean’s 102nd as a Premier League official – was a tackle on substitute Ahmed Elmohamady, who went down easily.
BBC Radio 5 Live pundit Chris Sutton was in no doubt that it was the right decision, calling the tackle “reckless and brainless”.
West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini disagreed with the decision to send off his left-back. “It was a typical sending off when you play away, with the pressure of the fans in every foul,” he told BBC Sport.
Villa captain Jack Grealish said his side “got worse when they went down to 10 men”, adding: “We tried to rush things and force things and gave the ball away.”
His manager Dean Smith agreed, saying: “I thought 11 v 11 we were really good and created the best chances. I expected a little better of us when they went down to 10.
“We never used that extra man and got rushed on the ball rather than keeping our structure.”
Both sides miss decisive touch
Both sides had grand plans for a win – Villa had the opportunity to move two points clear of the bottom three, while West Ham could have gone third in the table.
The visitors had more chances, but Villa had the better ones.
The best opening probably fell to Villa striker Wesley, who headed wide from about six yards out after a fine Grealish cross.
McGinn was his usual classy self and went close with several shots from outside the box.
“We were brilliant defensively, with our second clean sheet in row at Villa Park,” said Grealish. “We need to be deadlier in front of goal. As soon as we are, everything will click into place.”
West Ham’s much-hyped attacking quartet of Haller, Andriy Yarmolenko, Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson struggled to create many opportunities.
Mark Noble’s seventh-minute snap shot, which was straight at goalkeeper Tom Heaton, proved to be their only shot on target.
“We played with 10 men exactly the same as 11,” said Hammers boss Pellegrini. “I’m very happy with the personality and performance. If you cannot win, don’t lose it.
“We did a complete game. I want to see in every game the attitude we saw tonight. I’m happy with the way we’re improving.”
Villa move out of the bottom three on goal difference, while West Ham are ninth.
Man of the match – Issa Diop (West Ham)
Match stats – Villa’s second worst start
- Only in 1997-98 did Aston Villa accrue fewer points after the opening five games of a Premier League campaign (three) than they have managed this season (four).
- West Ham have suffered just one defeat in their past nine top-flight games (W5 D3), after losing five of the seven before that.
- Eight of the 41 Premier League meetings between Aston Villa and West Ham have ended goalless, the highest proportion (19.5%) of any fixture in the competition that’s been played 30-plus times.
- Since their return to the Premier League in 2012-13, West Ham have picked up 22 red cards in the competition (level with Arsenal), with only Newcastle managing more during this period (26).
- Mike Dean racked up his 102nd red card in the Premier League, 35 more than any other referee has awarded in the competition (Phil Dowd is next on 67).
- Since the start of last season, Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish has been fouled 179 times in league football (including play-offs), 49 more than any other player in the top four tiers.
Both sides play ‘big six’ teams on Sunday. West Ham are at home to Manchester City (14:00 BST), while Villa go to Arsenal (16:30).