West Ham United’s Declan Rice scored a fine goal from distance as the rampant Londoners breezed past Aston Villa 4-1 in their Premier League clash at Villa Park on Sunday to pile the pressure on home manager Dean Smith.
Jarrod Bowen almost doubled the lead minutes later from a rapid counter-attack before Villa equalised in the 34th through Ollie Watkins, who finished with aplomb following a reverse pass from Matty Cash.
West Ham, however, kept up the pressure and were rewarded when Rice restored their lead before halftime.
The home side’s hopes of a comeback suffered a blow when Ezri Konsa was sent off almost immediately after the restart for impeding Bowen who was clear on goal.
Villa rallied valiantly and created a string of chances but were caught twice on the break, with Pablo Fornals and Bowen each finishing off slick counter-attacking moves and putting the game beyond Villa’s reach.
West Ham are fourth in the standings with 20 points — behind champions Manchester City on goal difference — after 10 games. Villa are 10 points adrift of the Hammers in 15th.