Relegation-threatened Bournemouth will hit the road to square up against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday.

Aston Villa are all set to host Bournemouth at Villa Park in search of their 11th win in the league. Villa will look to get all three points as they hope to push for a top-six finish. On the other hand, Bournemouth will give it their all as they look to survive in the English top flight.

The Birmingham-based club did not start the season in the best possible way. Things were looking really difficult for them. And as a result, the club sacked Steven Gerrard and replaced him with Unai Emery. The former Villarreal boss has done a great job since joining them a few months before the winter transfer window.

Villa are heading into this fixture on the back of a 1-1 draw against West Ham United. Emery’s men dominated the ball but could not create enough chances to claim all three points. They will have to be better in the final third if they want to end up on the right side of the result against Bournemouth.

The home team have seven points in their last five matches, having won two, lost two and drawn one. Aston Villa are on a three matches unbeaten run in the league and would surely love to extend it to four.

Meanwhile, it was been a very difficult season for the visitors. They are currently 18th in the league with 24 points out of their 26 matches. Gary O’Neil’s men have not been at their best all season, but they still have a chance to survive in the English top flight.

The visitors are heading into this encounter on the back of a stunning 1-0 win over Liverpool. While it was a game that the Merseyside club dominated, Bournemouth managed to convert the one big chance they had and kept the opposition at bay. It was a great win for O’Neil’s men and they will be eager to produce something similar against Villa.

They have conceded the most number of goals (51) in the ongoing Premier League season. However, the clean sheet against Liverpool will give them the belief that things can still get back on track. The visitors also have seven points in their last five matches with two wins and a draw.

It is going to be an interesting battle between two teams who have been in similar form of late and are desperate for three points. The Hard Tackle takes a close look at the fixture and tries to predict the tactics they could deploy.

Team News & Tactics

Aston Villa

Unai Emery will be without the services of Philippe Coutinho and Jed Steer, who are out injured. While initially, the reports suggested Boubacar Kamara will only return after the international break, it looks like he might find himself in the squad for this fixture.

Meanwhile, Diego Carlos who has just returned from his Achilles tendon rupture will once again start as a substitute. Leander Dendoncker could also make a return in this fixture.

Villa could start with the 4-2-3-1 formation, with the in-demand Emiliano Martinez in goal. Matty Cash and Lucas Digne will once again take charge as the full-backs, while Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings will be the centre-backs.

John McGinn will pair up with Douglas Luiz in the centre of the park. The duo will sit in front of the back four as the double pivot. Meanwhile, Leon Bailey and Jacob Ramsey will star as the wide midfielders. And they will look to stretch the field of play and make life difficult for the opposition full-backs. Emi Buendía will start as the attacking midfielder behind star striker Ollie Watkins.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Luiz; Bailey, Buendia, Ramsey; Watkins

Aston Villa predicted XI vs Bournemouth


The visitors have a long list of injuries as Adam Smith, Hamed Traore, Junior Stanislas, Ilya Zabarnyi and Marcus Tavernier are all out injured. Meanwhile, Bournemouth welcomed David Brooks, who has just recovered from cancer, to the bench last time around. He is once again expected to feature as a substitute.

Gary O’Neil made a tactical change last time around against Liverpool as he started with a four-man defence. The visiting manager is expected to stick to it for this fixture as well.

The Cherries are expected to start in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Their skipper Neto will start in goal. Adam Smith and Jordan Zemura will line up as the full-backs. Jack Stephens and Marco Senesi will once again start as the centre-back pairing.

Jaidon Anthony and Dango Ouattara will start out in the midfield. While their priority will be to make attacking the runs, the duo are expected to help out their defence when needed. Jefferson Lerma will pair up with Joe Rothwell as they look to dictate the pace of this game. Meanwhile, Philip Billing will start behind Dominic Solanke as the second striker.

Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Neto; Smith, Stephens, Senesi, Zemura; Anthony, Lerma, Rothwell, Ouattara; Billing; Solanke

Key Stats

  • The visitors have won five out of the last ten meetings between Aston Villa and Bournemouth in all competitions.
  • Bournemouth have conceded the most number of goals (51) in the ongoing season.
  • Aston Villa have kept only one clean sheet in their last ten matches against Bournemouth.
  • Bournemouth have scored three goals in their last two away games after failing to do so in four consecutive away games.
  • The visitors have only won one away game in their last eight matches.

Player to Watch

Ollie Watkins

Embed from Getty Images

Watkins will once again lead the lines for Aston Villa on Saturday. The 27-year-old has had a decent season so far and his manager would expect him to deliver against a team that has conceded the most goals in the current campaign.

The 27-year-old striker has already found the back of the net on nine occasions in the league. And, he can become the first Englishman to score 10 goals in three successive Premier League seasons for Villa since Gabriel Agbonlahor did it back in the day.


Aston Villa 1-1 Bournemouth

Aston Villa are 11th in the league, and they are 11 points ahead of Bournemouth. However, their recent form has not been that great. They are heading into this encounter on the back of a draw and might fight it difficult against a high-on-confidence Bournemouth outfit.

Meanwhile, Gary O’Neil’s men have just pulled off a stunning win against Liverpool in their last outing. Overall, their season has been poor but they are expected to put on a great show on Saturday when they square up against Villa. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 drawn between the two teams on the basis of their recent form.

Comments 2

  1. Colin says:

    Not saying it won’t happen but I would be surprised if Bailey , Digne, and Cash start this match
    I think it more likely that Young, Moreno,, and Traore will start, but we will see

  2. Allan says:

    I think you are right.. I can see Traore.. maybe as a winger could be a good move for Villa

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