Villa secure comeback victory to boost top-four hopes

21 Apr 2024

Goals from Rogers, Bailey and Diaby give Unai Emery's side 3-1 win over Bournemouth at Villa Park

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Aston Villa continued their surge towards the UEFA Champions League with a 3-1 comeback victory over AFC Bournemouth on Sunday.

Dominic Solanke put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot, but Morgan Rogers equalised before half-time, paving the way for Villa to complete the turnaround after the interval at Villa Park.

Moussa Diaby finished off a slick move in front of the Holte End before Ollie Watkins brilliantly teed up Leon Bailey to round matters off.

The Villans have now consolidated their place in fourth, holding a six-point advantage over Tottenham Hotspur, albeit with Unai Emery’s team having played two matches more than Spurs, while Bournemouth stay 13th in the Premier League table.

Race for top four

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
4 Aston Villa AVL 38 +15 68
5 Spurs TOT 38 +13 66
6 Chelsea CHE 38 +14 63
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How the match unfolded

A nice move from back to front led to a first sighter for Watkins, who saw a deflected strike curl over the crossbar, while Pau Torres almost tapped home from Diaby’s cross.

However, Emiliano Martinez was required to beat clear Justin Kluivert’s fierce drive to stop the visitors opening the scoring against the run of play.

Martinez, though, could do nothing to prevent Bournemouth from taking the lead after Matty Cash bought down Milos Kerkez in Villa’s area.

Bournemouth penalty

The Argentinian was Villa’s penalty shootout hero in Lille on Thursday in the UEFA Europa Conference League but was beaten by Solanke’s spot-kick.

Solanke penalty

Parity was restored on the stroke of half-time, though – Villa drawing level thanks to Rogers’ finish into the roof of the net.

Rogers goal

Villa turned the contest around 12 minutes into the second half with a sweeping attack – Watkins setting up Diaby to slot past Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto.

Diaby goal

The hosts were still indebted to Martinez when Ryan Christie’s cross was met by Dango Ouattara, who the ex-Arsenal goalkeeper denied with an excellent save at his near post.

And the points were all but sealed when Watkins rounded Neto and laid it on a plate for Bailey to pass into an empty net.

Fittingly, Martinez had the final say, pulling off a magnificent double save to thwart Enes Unal late on, with the Bournemouth substitute having previously seen a goal disallowed for offside.

Villa get job done after European exploits

This could have been a tough ask for Villa after Thursday’s shootout win over Lille in the Europa Conference League, with head coach Emery electing to only make two changes from that match in France.

The atmosphere was raucous at Villa Park, but clear-cut chances were at a premium until Villa’s quality finally told.

Bailey’s outside of the boot pass set up Rogers to equalise before Diaby’s finish capped off an excellent team move.

Watkins’ pace and composure made the third goal, and with four matches left, Villa are ever closer to Champions League football.

Solanke delivers but Cherries fall short

Now mathematically safe from relegation, the Cherries would have wanted to show their credentials as a team chasing a top-half finish.

Andoni Iraola’s side dealt well with early pressure from the hosts before Kluivert’s shot forced Martinez into action before referee Tim Robinson waved away appeals for a handball inside the box from Lucas Digne.

Bournemouth received their opportunity around the half-hour mark and Solanke made no mistake past Martinez to net his 18th league goal of the season.

Solanke looked to be through on goal to double their lead before half-time, but Ezri Konsa made a well-timed tackle at the last moment.

Villa showcased their top-four credentials to take the contest away from Bournemouth, though, highlighting the work Iraola still needs to put into his squad to take the next step forward.

Premier League

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
11 Brighton BHA 38 -7 48
12 Bournemouth BOU 38 -13 48
13 Fulham FUL 38 -6 47
14 Wolves WOL 38 -15 46
15 Everton EVE 38 -11 40
Club reports

Villa report | Bournemouth report

Next Premier League fixtures
Key facts

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).

Bournemouth have scored first and lost five Premier League matches this season, their most ever in a single campaign. Only Brentford (six) have lost more such matches this campaign.

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).

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