mai 24, 2024

A Villa 3 – 1 B’mouth

5 min read

Aston Villa came from behind to beat Bournemouth 3-1 at Villa Park and strengthen their grip on a Champions League spot.

Dominic Solanke’s first-half penalty had prompted fears of a hangover from Villa’s Europa Conference League commitments, but Morgan Rogers scored an excellent equaliser late in the first half and Moussa Diaby finished a fine team move to turn the game around.

Leon Bailey made it three from a second Ollie Watkins assist to ensure the three points that take Unai Emery’s side six clear of fifth-placed Tottenham in the race for the fourth Champions League berth. Andoni Iraola’s Bournemouth side remain 13th.

Player ratings

Aston Villa: Martinez (7), Cash (6), Konsa (7), Torres (7), Digne (7), McGinn (7), Tielemans (7), Rogers (8), Bailey (8), Diaby (7), Watkins (8).

Subs used: Duran (n/a), Kesler-Hayden(n/a).

Bournemouth: Neto (6), Smith (6), Zabarnyi (6), Senesi (5), Kelly (6), Kerkez (7), Cook (6), Christie (6), Ouattara (6), Kluivert (7), Solanke (6).

Subs used: Aarons (5), Semenyo (5), Scott (6), Billing (6), Unal (6).

Player of the match: Ollie Watkins.

How Villa turned the game around

There was a rapturous reception for European hero Emiliano Martinez before kick-off but those exertions against Lille on Thursday evening appeared to have had a negative impact on the energy levels of the Villa players with Bournemouth starting brightly.

Matty Cash’s lunge on Milos Kerkez brought the reward for the Cherries’ enterprising opening and gifted Solanke the opportunity to put the visitors ahead from the spot. Martinez was unable to keep this penalty out, beating him away to his right.

Team news headlines

  • Aston Villa made two changes from the Lille game. Nicolo Zaniolo was injured and replaced by Leon Bailey, while Morgan Rogers came in for Douglas Luiz.
  • Bournemouth made one change from their draw against Manchester United with Luis Sinisterra possibly out for the season. Lloyd Kelly came in for him.

That sparked Villa and their supporters a little but it was not until first-half stoppage-time that they were level. Ryan Christie was robbed, allowing Bailey to spring the counter-attack and Rogers did superbly to cut inside and strike the ball high into the net.

Villa, without Douglas Luiz pulling the strings in midfield, struggled for rhythm in that opening 45 minutes but what drive there was to their play was provided by Rogers. It was the January signing who helped set up the goal that put his side in front too.

Rogers’ threaded pass found Watkins and the Villa striker jinked inside before sliding his pass perfectly into the path of Diaby, who finished low beyond Neto to complete the turnaround. It was another slick team move to delight the Villa Park crowd.

The onus was on Bournemouth to find an equaliser of their own but Villa were a different animal having found their rhythm and Bailey sealed the deserved win when he tapped in from Watkins’ cross-shot after more good work by the tireless striker.

They saw out the victory that takes them six points clear of Spurs. It has been a magnificent week for Villa. That win over Arsenal has been followed by a dramatic success in Europe and now this. A special season could be set for the ending that it deserves.

Emery: We are going to fight Spurs

« I am very proud of our work and very proud of our supporters, » Emery told Sky Sports. « The atmosphere was fantastic, an atmosphere to play a match with the motivation like we did.

« Those three points is very important because the Premier League lost the fifth position for the Champions League next season. Now the work and challenge is more difficult because it is to get fourth.

« We are going to fight with Tottenham, who have two matches in their hands. It is going to be very difficult but we have to accept this challenge.

« We are going to focus on each match, we are going to enjoy today after this week, we finished fantastically the week. Next Saturday is a challenge, here at home against Chelsea, and we are going to be very motivated. »

Iraola: Points record is target now

« Two different halves for us, » said Iraola. « I think we were better in the first half, dealt very well with very difficult forwards. We transitioned well, played the game that we wanted. The key moment, we are leading 1-0 and commit too many players, concede 1-1.

« In the second half, we were not so solid, could not defend well. Left one against one, difficult scenarios for defenders, and we could not provide the help we did in the first half. If we do not defend as well, not as good without the ball, it costs us with the ball. »

Asked about losing another lead, Iraola replied: « We have also recovered a lot of points late. » With any European hopes now surely extinguished, the Cherries boss was asked what the target was for the remainder of the Premier League season.

« The clear goal is to beat the points record of Bournemouth, » he revealed. That is now four points away. « We can do it but we have difficult games. If we want to get the points we want, we have to have very good performances. Today, we could not do it. »

Villa’s win in stats

  • Aston Villa have won 20 Premier League matches this season, the first time they’ve done so since the first ever campaign in 1992-93 (won 21).
  • Aston Villa have scored 71 Premier League goals this season, only the second time they’ve netted that many in a campaign in the competition, also scoring 71 in 2007-08.
  • Ollie Watkins has now had a hand in 31 Premier League goals for Aston Villa this season (19 goals, 12 assists) – he’s only the ninth English player to score or assist 30+ goals in a 38-game season.
  • His 12 assists have been bettered by just one Villa player in a single season – Ashley Young in 2007-08 (14).
  • Morgan Rogers has had a hand in three goals in his last four Premier League appearances, netting in each of his last two at Villa Park.
  • Leon Bailey has been directly involved in 26 goals in all competitions for Aston Villa this season, with today the fourth time this season he has scored and assisted in a game in 2023-24.

What’s next?

Aston Villa host Chelsea next on Saturday April 27, kick-off 8pm.

Bournemouth are at Wolves on Wednesday April 24, kick-off 7.45pm.

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