Villa could have closed the gap on the top four after Manchester City, beaten at Everton, and Tottenham, held at home by Hull, both dropped points yesterday. But a combination of a below-par performance and some fine saves by Robert Green meant they had to settle for their first goalless draw of the league campaign.
Related ArticlesPremier League tablePremier League actionPremier League fixturesTelegraph player raterTransfer TalkSport on televisionIt means the Carling Cup semi-finalists have taken only one point from the last nine. Martin O'Neill's side barely woke from their slumbers during the opening 45 minutes against a side ravaged by injury problems.
They dominated the second period but rarely threatened to find a way past England keeper Green.
"Away from home it's a good result," said West Ham captain Matthew Upson. "We're improving. We've had some really tight games against some top teams. We set out well today. The last few months we've had an improvement. Hopefully we can maintain that to the end of the season."
Fellow defender James Tomkins was given the man-of-the-match award for his performance, and he was satisfied with his afternoon's work.
"A team like Villa, you have to keep them quiet in the first half," he said. "We had a few chances at the end, maybe could have stolen it, but overall we're happy."