The Hammers were the recipients of a controversial goal in the 40th minute when Kevin Nolan turned home Ricardo Vaz Te's low cross with the assistant referee initially adjudging the Portuguese winger offside before changing his mind.
Referee Mike Dean let the goal stand which ended up being enough for West Ham to record all three points against a Villa side, who under Paul Lambert, dominated possession but could not make that count on the scoresheet.
Upton Park, London - 34,172
Yellow cards:WHU - nil AV - Ciaran Clark 39'
Match notes: - Paul Lambert (first match in charge of AV), Jussi Jaaskelainen (WHU debut), Guy Demel (Premier League debut), Mo Diame (WHU debut), Ron Vlaar, Matthew Lowton, Brett Holman, Karim El Ahmadi (AV & Premier League debut), Modibo Maiga (WHU & Premier League debut)