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Preview: Aston Villa vs. Bournemouth

Preview: Aston Villa vs. Bournemouth

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Bournemouth, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Fresh from an astounding win over Liverpool to further their Premier League survival bid, Bournemouth head to the West Midlands to tackle Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon.

The Cherries got the better of their Merseyside adversaries 1-0 last weekend, while Unai Emery‘s men were pegged back in a 1-1 draw against West Ham United.

Match preview

 Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 12, 2023© Reuters

It was almost exactly 365 days since Villa had embarked on a three-game Premier League winning streak when they met West Ham in the capital last weekend, but they ultimately came up short in their efforts to post a first trio of top-flight victories since March 2022.

Seeking to add to successes over Crystal Palace and Everton, Villa were on course to do just that when Ollie Watkins struck his ninth top-flight goal of the season early doors, but his former Brentford teammate Said Benrahma levelled from the spot to ensure a slice of the spoils for the Hammers.

Despite failing to make it three wins on the trot, taking seven points from their last nine Premier League contests is a marked upturn in fortunes for Emery’s crop, whose February could hardly have begun more disastrously with three losses to Leicester City, Manchester City and Arsenal.

The 11th-placed Lions remain in search of a coveted top-half finish and have a game in hand on ninth-placed Fulham, but they cannot rise any higher than 10th no matter what transpires this weekend and have just two wins to show from their last six top-flight contests at Villa Park.

Keeping up their admirable streak of scoring in every Premier League game under Emery, Villa have now netted in each of their 13 top-flight games with the Spaniard at the helm, and not since going down 2-0 to Chelsea in October have they failed to fire in front of their own fans.

Philip Billing scores for Bournemouth against Liverpool on March 11, 2023© Reuters

One week on from almost making Premier League history with an 11th-second goal against Arsenal, Philip Billing scored nearly a carbon copy of that strike at the Emirates – albeit after 28 minutes this time – to put a disjointed Liverpool to the sword at the Vitality.

The 28-year-old was in the right place at the right time to sweep home before the break, and Gary O’Neil‘s defensive stalwarts remained unwavering in their efforts to thwart a flat Liverpool, whose barrage of slow attacks were easily quelled in a famous Cherries win.

Even in Bournemouth’s previous losses to Arsenal and Manchester City, their attacking endeavours were to be applauded, but the Cherries remain below the dotted line in 18th place courtesy of their inferior goal difference to West Ham and Leicester City, who also boast 24 points from their 26 contests.

Perhaps dreading another coach journey to rival territory, Bournemouth fans have witnessed their side lose seven of their last eight Premier League away contests – the exception being a 1-0 success against Wolverhampton Wanderers – while 35 goals shipped on the road is unsurprisingly a division high.

History favours those in black and red, though, as Bournemouth have won each of their last four Premier League contests versus the Lions, and the last two times that the Cherries have won back-to-back Premier League contests, the second game in that sequence came against Aston Villa.

Aston Villa Premier League form:

Bournemouth Premier League form:

Team News

Aston Villa defender Diego Carlos receiving treatment during the Premier League game with Everton on August 13, 2022.© Reuters

There was a sight for sore eyes on the Aston Villa bench last weekend, as Diego Carlos made a matchday squad for the first time since his Achilles tendon rupture, but the centre-back will likely be forced to accept substitute minutes here before he is considered for the first XI again.

Philippe Coutinho and Jed Steer are still taking up places on the sidelines, but Boubacar Kamara might have a chance of coming back from his ankle concern, despite initial fears that he would be sidelined until after the international break.

Leander Dendoncker could also be in contention to return from a wrist injury sustained in a “domestic accident”, while Watkins is out to become the first Englishman to score 10 goals in three successive Premier League seasons for Villa since Gabriel Agbonlahor between 2007 and 2010.

Similarly, Bournemouth were able to welcome David Brooks back to the bench with open arms against Liverpool for the first time since his recovery from cancer, but as is the case with Carlos, minutes as a substitute will be first on the agenda for the Welshman.

All of Adam Smith, Hamed Traore, Junior Stanislas, Ilya Zabarnyi and Marcus Tavernier are taking up spots in the treatment room, and it is not yet clear how many members of the quintet might return before the international break.

O’Neil reverted to a four-man defence for the win over Liverpool, demoting Chris Mepham from the ranks, and the Cherries coach should see no need to make many tactical changes here.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Luiz; Bailey, Buendia, Ramsey; Watkins

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Neto; Smith, Stephens, Senesi, Zemura; Anthony, Lerma, Rothwell, Ouattara; Billing; Solanke

SM words green background

We say: Aston Villa 1-1 Bournemouth

While Bournemouth have struck six of their eight Premier League goals against Villa in the first half, the Lions have proven adept at bouncing back, netting all four of their own top-flight goals against the Cherries in the second 45.

A closely-fought draw could therefore be on the menu, with Bournemouth unlikely to keep out Emery’s well-oiled goalscoring machine but proving a consistent threat in the final third themselves in recent weeks.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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