Aston Villa vs Bournemouth: Preview and Prediction

After a successful week for Aston Villa, Unai Emery will now target a victory against Bournemouth to boost their top-four chances.

Aston Villa are coming into the game against Bournemouth on the back of a monumental week that has undoubtedly given the club and the supporters a massive lift on on fronts. Ahead of last Sunday, the Villans were under pressure to clinch a top-four spot. But they made amends and took full advantage of Tottenham’s disastrous result against Newcastle United.

Villa might still have played an extra game, but they have given themselves a chance for a top-four place following their stunning victory over Arsenal at the Emirates. They did this without talismanic midfielder Douglas Luiz, as two late goals from Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins sealed the three points for Unai Emery on his first return as a Premier League boss to the Emirates.

Furthermore, they went past Lille in their Conference League quarter-finals courtesy of Emiliano Martinez’s heroics in the penalty shootout. Villa are also the only remaining English team in Europe. Emery wants continental success at Villa Park at the end of the campaign and a top-four finish to play in next season’s Champions League.

As for their visitors, Bournemouth, they still have plenty to play, although Andoni Iraola will be totally content should the season finish now. After what was a disastrous start to life with the Cherries, the Spaniard has turned it around at the Vitality Stadium, with the Cherries not primed for a mid-table finish.

They are indeed sitting in a comfortable position on the table and mathematically still have a chance to challenge a European place. Many would not expect Bournemouth to clinch that potential Conference League place. But there is an opportunity should they make a concerted effort.

Team News & Tactics

Aston Villa

Douglas Luiz put in a shift in midfield as he will continue to serve his domestic suspension. That could make Unai Emery line Aston Villa up in a similar way as he did against Arsenal, meaning John McGinn and Youri Tielemans could slot in the central midfield berths.

Villa certainly have a long list of injured stars, but Emery will still be able to name a strong enough lineup that could get three points at home against Bournemouth. Only Nicolo Zaniolo has been out of contention since last weekend and has already joined the host of players sitting out of action.

At the back, Emery will still name his strongest lineup, with Ezri Konsa playing at right-back and Lucas Digne on the other flank. Centrally, Diego Carlos and Pau Torres are the manager’s best bets.

Morgan Rogers and Leon Bailey could take up with wide attacking berths. Ollie Watkins still hopes to catch Erling Haaland and Cole Palmer for the Golden Boot, as he will want to boost those chances with a goal or something against Bournemouth.

Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne; Bailey, Tielemans, McGinn, Rogers; Diaby; Watkins


Andoni Iraola will also miss a host of his critical stars ahead of this tough trip to Aston Villa. Among those out of action, Tyler Adams and Antoine Semenyo are near to making a comeback, with the latter in contention for a place in the attack, considering his excellent form before injury.

He might have to wait for another week before starting as Dango Ouattara, Alex Scott, and Justin Kluivert are best placed to take their places in the attacking formation, with Dominic Solanke leading the line for Bournemouth against Aston Villa.

Ryan Christie and Lewis Cook are the midfielders that Iraola will rely on, with Illia Zabarnyi and Marcos Senesi the central defenders for the Cherries.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neto; Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kerkez; Christie, Cook; Kluivert, Scott, Ouattara; Solanke

Key Stats

  • Aston Villa have won just two of their seven Premier League clashes with Bournemouth, drawing one and losing four. Meanwhile, Bournemouth have scored at least two goals in five of their last six matches against Aston Villa in all competitions.
  • Aston Villa are unbeaten in four home games in all competitions, managing three wins and a draw since a 4-0 defeat to Tottenham in March.
  • Unai Emery’s men have lost only one of their 18 top-flight fixtures this season against sides that started the day in the bottom half of the table (W12 D5), a 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest in November.
  • Bournemouth have lost just one of their last seven Premier League games, winning four and drawing two. They require five more points to set a club record total of 47 in the Premier League.
  • Ollie Watkins is vying to become the first Villa player to score 20 goals in a top-flight season since Peter Withe in 1980/81. Watkins is also one goal shy of equalling Dwight Yorke as Aston Villa’s second-highest Premier League goalscorer on 60. Gabriel Agbonlahor leads the way with 76 goals.

Player to Watch

Ollie Watkins

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The England international has been in sensational form, as his goal from last weekend against Arsenal took him closer to Erling Haaland and Cole Palmer. Of course, the latter was much behind Watkins, only for him to score four times on Monday, which did take him past the Aston Villa striker.

In any case, Watkins can still finish the season in style and become the first striker in Birmingham since 1981 to go past the 20-goal mark in a top-flight season. At this point in the campaign, Watkins will undoubtedly have eyes for the Golden Boot, although he must be at his very best between now and the end of the season, starting with a goal or so against Bournemouth.


Aston Villa 2-1 Bournemouth

The Cherries are coming into this clash at the back of an entertaining draw with Manchester United. But they might need to catch up at something at Villa Park. In any case, Bournemouth and Andoni Iraola are not under any acute pressure to deliver the result, unlike their hosts.

Aston Villa are under serious pressure to keep the fourth spot as far away from Tottenham as possible, and for that they must win against Bournemouth. In the form Unai Emery’s men are in, they have the right momentum to get three points on Sunday, although they might end up conceding the odd goal.

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