Aston Villa's draw at West Ham proved enough to keep Dean Smith's side in the Premier League.

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Jack Grealish looked to have put Villa's safety beyond doubt when he fired in from the edge of the box with six minutes remaining, but within a minute The Hammers were level when Andriy Yarmolenko's deflected shot at goal spooned over Pepe Reina and into the Villa net.

Beginning the last day of the season just outside the relegation zone, Villa never looked like leaving this position given Watford going behind early and seemed to be happy to play out a goalless draw until the late drama.

The game could have been different if Michail Antonio, who scored six goals in three games coming into this match, had finished a gilt-edged chance in the 12th minute when a long ball from Ryan Fredericks drifted over Ezri Konsa but he lashed at the ball from inside the area and it flew wide of the goal.

Neither goalkeeper had a shot to save until the closing stages when both will be disappointed not to have kept out the goals, but thankfully for Reina it made no difference to Villa's 2020/21 league status.

Talking point - Villa thankful for technology blip

Every point was crucial in Aston Villa staying up and it is true the biggest factor was their eight points in the last four games when others around them stumbled.

However, in the very first game back after the Premier League restart they were very fortunate when the goal-line technology did not see goalkeeper Orjan Nyland take the ball over the line.

If the goal had been given, or VAR checked it, they would have been a goal down to Sheffield United and may well have lost the match.

Instead this point contributed to their final total of 35, one clear of Bournemouth, who had a slightly better goal difference.

Villa will not be thinking about this now, but some on the south coast certainly will.

Dean Smith, Manager of Aston Villa walks out after half time during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Aston Villa at London Stadium on July 26, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus

Image credit: Getty Images

Man of the match - Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

There were few real quality performers on show, but Aston Villa's captain stood up throughout the match, demanding the ball when team-mates were nervous and his goal five minutes from time, effectively - with results elsewhere - ensured they would not go down.

It remains to be seen whether this will be the final game in a Villa shirt for the former Holt-ender with talk of a move to Manchester United, but if he does leave, he has left with a great memory with his superb strike (albeit one that flew through Lukasz Fabianski's hands).

He was the key man in them securing Premier League status and now he ensured they stayed in the top-fight.

Player ratings:

West Ham: Fabianski 5, Fredericks 6, Diop 7, Ogbonna 6, Johnson 6, Soucek 6, Rice 6, Bowen 6, Noble 7, Fornals 6, Antonio 5.
Subs: Haller 5, Yarmolenko 7, Lanzini 5, Anderson 6.

Aston Villa: Reina 5, Guilbert 6, Konsa 6, Mings 7, Targett 6, Luiz 6, Trezeguet 5, McGinn 7, Hourihane 7, Grealish 8*, Samatta 6
Subs: Davis 7, Nakamba 6, Hause 6, El-Ghazi 6.

Match highlights:

12' Wow! Antonio, the in-form striker in the division, misses an absolute sitter. Diop hits a long ball over the defence that Konsa's lunging touch only puts into the striker's path but he lashes at the ball from inside the area and it flies a yard wide.

79' Grealish's effort is deflected wide, he gets the short corner played back to him then turns inside Noble who gets a touch on his goalbound shot.

84' GOAL! Jack Grealish scores a massive goal for his boyhood club. He turns outside Fredericks on the left hand side of the penalty area before smashing an effort into the roof of the net.

85' GOAL! Unbelievable. You wait all game for a shot at goal...Yarmolenko's effort is deflected on the edge of the box and spooned off Grealish over the retreating Reina and into the net.

FULL TIME! Aston Villa stay in the Premier League.

Key stats

8 - The points Villa secured from their last four matches to secure Premier League safety.

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