West Ham United fans can breathe a sigh of relief as star striker Michail Antonio looks set to be back in top form ahead of the highly anticipated clash with Aston Villa in the Premier League, relays the Hammer.News.
As the Premier League resumes this weekend, the Hammers will travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa in a match that promises to be closely contested. Separated by just two places and two points in the league table as they approach the quarter-way stage of the season, both teams will be eager to secure a valuable victory.
In recent years, West Ham has had a strong record against Aston Villa, with just one defeat in 14 Premier League encounters since 2013. This history makes the upcoming fixture even more intriguing, as it could be a game decided by fine margins on the pitch.
All eyes will be on the performance of the two teams’ strikers, Ollie Watkins and Michail Antonio. Concerns had arisen about Antonio’s recent form and fitness, as he has faced challenges both in terms of scoring goals and sustaining top physical condition. The West Ham striker had not found the back of the net since the victory against Brighton in August and had also suffered from an adductor strain that required a late fitness test before featuring in the draw against Newcastle.
While the talented Watkins was called up by and scored for the England national team during the recent international break, Antonio had received a call-up to represent Jamaica. This meant a grueling 10,000-mile round trip for matches against Grenada and Haiti.
Given Antonio’s recent injury struggles, this was less than ideal for West Ham manager David Moyes, especially considering the limited backup options after opting not to sign a replacement for Gianluca Scamacca during the summer transfer window.
However, West Ham received encouraging news ahead of their clash with Aston Villa, as Antonio put in a remarkable performance for the Reggae Boyz, Jamaica’s national team. Notably, Antonio did not feature in the Jamaica squad during their 4-1 win over Grenada on Friday night, raising concerns that he may have picked up a new injury. Yet the fears were alleviated as Antonio returned to the field, provided an assist, and was awarded the man of the match in Jamaica’s 3-2 victory against Haiti.
Crucially, Antonio played for 88 minutes and is expected to return to London today, providing him with almost a full week to rest, recover from any potential jet lag, and prepare for the crucial clash with Aston Villa. This timely return and extra preparation will undoubtedly boost West Ham’s chances of securing a victory in what promises to be a tightly contested encounter.