Aston Villa vs Bournemouth – Pre-game Assessment

Sunday, April 21, 15:00 – Villa Park

Referee: Tim Robinson

With the emotionally and physically draining fixtures (beating Arsenal at the Emirates in the Premier League and prevailing over Lille in the Europa Conference League on penalty kicks, days apart), behind them, our Villans could be forgiven for relaxing at home to 13th place Bournemouth.   But Emery will have a different plan.

The reverse fixture with Bournemouth, itself, provided a warning.  The Cherries gave us a tough time at home before we finally squeezed out a tie.  If the circumstances around that game do not prepare our Villans for surprises, our last performance at home against Brentford should (3 goals shipped in 9 minutes!).

Still, the second-year manager finds himself having achieved a remarkable turnaround with our Villans.  From struggling to stay clear of the drop, he lifted the team into a coveted 7th spot last season, good enough to qualify for the Europa Conference League and, in our first year competing in Europe for decades, getting into the semi-finals. 

As for the Premier League, with five games to play we are in 4th place, good enough to qualify for the elite UEFA Champions League alongside Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal, to compete with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich. 

All we have to do is keep sprinting to the finish line.  Our Villans control their own destiny!

We have two winnable home games (against Bournemouth and Chelsea).  That would give us a 9-point lead over 5th place Spurs when they play Arsenal at home, followed by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Liverpool at Anfield!  In theory, Spurs could win all three games and catch us up.   Not very likely!

Unai will have the squad super-focused on his fellow-Basque’s team arriving from the south coast.  Andoni Iraola is somewhat of a protégé of Emery and a more recent arrival in the Premier League where he hopes to replicate Unai’s success.

So far, he has done a excellent job.  The recent visit of Manchester United was typical with their “Golden Boot” striker (Solanke) getting them an early lead and them dominating much of the game.  This was against a Red Devil team still dreaming of making it to the top four.  The result was a 2-2 tie, the same result that our Villans achieved when we visited Vitality Stadium last December.  We had to wait until the 90th minute for our “golden boot” to tie the score.

Bournemouth is not as successful on the road and if we had hosted them last year, there would have been no doubt about our success.  This year, the shoe has been on the other foot.  We have only won two Premier League games at Villa Park in 2024 compared to winning four away games!

Another concern for Emery is player availability with Moreno picking up a calf injury and unavailable to play for a few weeks.  The line-up will be make-shift, but the talent and confidence is there to carry us through.

Result Prediction:

Prediction:  Aston Villa 3, Bournemouth 0

Predicted Villa Line-Up:

Aston Villa: (4, 2, 3, 1) Martínez, Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne, Tielemans, McGinn, Cash, Rogers, Diaby, Watkins

Subs: Olsen, Lenglet, Zaniolo, Iroegbunam, Bailey, Chambers, Kesler-Hayden, Kellyman

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