A mad 15,000 mile dash for Aston Villa ace Emi Martinez shows just how feared and respected West Ham United have become under David Moyes.

Over the last 24 hours reports were abound that Aston Villa could be without their star player against West Ham on Sunday after Martinez had to fly home to Argentina.

High-flying West Ham travel to Villa Park looking to consolidate their place in the Premier League’s top four.


The Hammers are aiming to make it three Prem wins in a row – and five in all competitions – after victories at Everton and at home against Tottenham.

Villa meanwhile are under pressure after three Prem defeats on the bounce.

Moyes’s hopes looked to have been boosted with the news that Villa’s star player, goalkeeper Martinez, could miss the game.

Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League
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According to the likes of Birmingham Live, Martinez flew back to Argentina this week to be by his father’s bedside when he required an emergency heart operation.

The player himself posted a picture on social media with his dad in hospital.

But Villa boss Dean Smith surprised everyone in his pre-match press conference on Friday when he announced Martinez had completed a mad 15,000 mile round trip dash to get back from Argentina in time to face West Ham.

Photo by MICHAEL REGAN POOL AFP via Getty Images

Mad 15,000 mile dash for Aston Villa ace Emi Martinez shows just how feared West Ham have become

“Emi Martinez will be back training with us today,” Smith said in his pre West Ham presser (AVFC).

“He’s had some personal issues that he had to fly back home for, but he’s back today so I have no worries about his availability.”

Players are no longer required to self-isolate on returning from South America.

So the news is a massive boost for Villa.

West Ham United v Manchester City - Carabao Cup Round of 16
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What it does show, though, is that besides Martinez clearly being a consummate professional as well as a top goalkeeper – West Ham are now a team that is feared.

For Martinez to go to such lengths to make it back to face the Hammers and Smith clearly desperate to have him in the side, shows opposing teams and managers feel they need to field their strongest possible side to get a result.

It is great news that Martinez’s personal situation seems to have eased – and it is certainly more important than a game of football.

But it means West Ham’s forwards will have to be clinical when chances arise to beat the big former Arsenal man.

More West Ham news:

Merson delivers West Ham top four verdict and predicts Villa result.

West Ham in fresh link to striker with stunning scoring record.

Redknapp lifts lid on what Liverpool fans did when they heard West Ham had won.

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