Match ends, Aston Villa 3, Bournemouth 0.
Unai Emery says his Aston Villa side have to show “big ambition” and push for a European place after they cruised past struggling Bournemouth at Villa Park.
Douglas Luiz was picked out by Leon Bailey and swept home from close range early on, before Jacob Ramsey jinked past Jack Stephens to make sure of three points.
Villa added a third when Emi Buendia headed in from a yard out after Tyrone Mings flicked on Luiz’s corner to seal the hosts’ third win in four Premier League games.
Villa stay 11th but move to within four points of sixth, while Bournemouth remain in the bottom three after being brought back down to earth following their win over Liverpool last weekend.
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“After the matches we lost to Arsenal and Leicester, the reaction has been fantastic. Today is maybe the best 90 minutes we played here since I arrived,” Emery told BBC Match of the Day.
“We controlled the game with the ball. We conceded some chances to them, but I think it is normal because they are in a good moment. I’m happy today and I want to share it with the players and supporters.
“We have to rest a little bit but now we have a big challenge because we are slowly going up. We are looking up. It’s important to have big ambitions and face big challenges. We have Chelsea in two weeks and we have to try and be consistent.
“Next step is top 10, but if we are ambitious you want to get to something more and look at the teams in the European positions. Of course it is not in our hands to take a European place, but we have to try. We have to take this new challenge.”
Villa were on top from the start and, after Luiz put them in front, they had numerous chances to extend the lead.
Ollie Watkins had the best of the opportunities when he was put through by Buendia, only for his dinked effort to be kept out by Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto.
The hosts might also have had a penalty six minutes before the break when Ramsey’s goalbound shot was deflected over the bar by the hand of Stephens, but the video assistant referee turned down Villa’s appeals.
Bournemouth’s limited threat came through the pace of their front three. However, Dominic Solanke, now without a goal in 10 league matches, lacked conviction when clean through and his hesitation allowed Mings to get back and make the block.
Defeat left Gary O’Neil’s side a point from safety, but there was a major highlight as David Brooks came on to make his first appearance since being diagnosed with cancer in 2021 – 534 days since his last game.
Villa continue to make progress under Emery
When Emery took charge in October, Villa were below Bournemouth in the table. Victory on Saturday means they are now 14 points ahead of them and they looked the superior side throughout.
Even before going in front, Villa looked to have the measure of Bournemouth, with Buendia, flanked by Ramsey and Bailey, finding space between midfield and defence and looking to feed Watkins.
After the goal, VIlla eased off and allowed Bournemouth back into it, but a couple of scares midway through the half shook them out of their slumber and by the break they were in the ascendancy once more.
Chances were more scarce early in the second period, but Villa always maintained control of the game as Luiz and John McGinn patrolled the middle of the park, and the hosts always looked the more likely to find the game’s second goal.
Ramsey eventually provided it and Villa were able to express themselves for the final 10 minutes, creating chances at will as Watkins came close again and Mings spurned a glorious chance, shooting straight at Neto from seven yards out having been left all alone at the far post.
With 11 games to go and only four points separating sixth and 11th in the table, Villa have the chance to make it an exciting end to the season and push for an unlikely European spot.
Blunt Bournemouth struggle again on road
After the high of toppling Liverpool a week ago, it was back to reality for Bournemouth as they succumbed to a ninth defeat in 10 away games in all competitions.
The manner in which Villa were able to cut through them will be a concern for O’Neil and the Cherries have now kept only one clean sheet in 24 league away games.
Bournemouth’s best spell came after the opening goal as they managed to get players close to Buendia and frustrate the Villa creator.
However, Villa adjusted, Bournemouth did not and the Argentine was soon collecting the ball in vast areas of space again – and if it was not him, then it was Bailey, Ramsey or left-back Alex Moreno exposing the gaps.
Just as concerning was the lack of threat at the other end. Against Liverpool and Arsenal, Bournemouth were always dangerous on the break.
They were again here but, with Villa also at their best on the counter, such chances were harder to come by, especially after going behind so early.
Tasked with trying to break down a set Villa backline, Bournemouth rarely troubled Emi Martinez in the home goal as they suffered another disappointing day on the road.
Player of the match
- Aston VillaAston VillaAston Villa
- BournemouthAFC BournemouthAFC Bournemouth
- Squad number7Player nameMcGinnAverage rating
- Squad number6Player nameDouglas LuizAverage rating
- Squad number41Player nameJ RamseyAverage rating
- Squad number11Player nameWatkinsAverage rating
- Squad number2Player nameCashAverage rating
- Squad number15Player nameÁlex MorenoAverage rating
- Squad number10Player nameBuendíaAverage rating
- Squad number5Player nameMingsAverage rating
- Squad number4Player nameKonsaAverage rating
- Squad number31Player nameBaileyAverage rating
- Squad number1Player nameE MartínezAverage rating
- Squad number9Player nameTraoréAverage rating
- Squad number22Player nameDuránAverage rating
- Squad number16Player nameChambersAverage rating
- Squad number7Player nameBrooksAverage rating
- Squad number13Player nameNetoAverage rating
- Squad number24Player nameSemenyoAverage rating
- Squad number29Player nameBillingAverage rating
- Squad number25Player nameSenesiAverage rating
- Squad number8Player nameLermaAverage rating
- Squad number5Player nameKellyAverage rating
- Squad number11Player nameOuattaraAverage rating
- Squad number14Player nameRothwellAverage rating
- Squad number3Player nameStephensAverage rating
- Squad number9Player nameSolankeAverage rating
- Squad number32Player nameAnthonyAverage rating
- Squad number15Player nameA SmithAverage rating
- Squad number22Player nameTraorèAverage rating
- Squad number21Player nameMooreAverage rating
- Squad number18Player nameViñaAverage rating
- Match Stats
- Live Text
- 1E Martínez
- 15Moreno Lopera
- 7McGinnBooked at 36minsSubstituted forChambersat 90+1′minutes
- 6Douglas Luiz
- 31BaileySubstituted forTraoréat 65′minutes
- 10BuendíaSubstituted forDuránat 90+1′minutes
- 41J Ramsey
- 3Santos Silva
- 15A SmithSubstituted forBrooksat 79′minutes
- 3StephensBooked at 79mins
- 25SenesiBooked at 66mins
- 11OuattaraSubstituted forViñaat 90+1′minutes
- 14RothwellSubstituted forTraorèat 59′minutes
- 8LermaBooked at 58mins
- 32AnthonySubstituted forSemenyoat 59′minutes
- 29BillingBooked at 14minsSubstituted forMooreat 90+2′minutes
- 4L Cook
- Robert Jones
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 3, Bournemouth 0.
Foul by Bertrand Traoré (Aston Villa).
Hamed Traorè (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Jhon Durán (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Foul by Matty Cash (Aston Villa).
Matías Viña (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Bournemouth. Kieffer Moore replaces Philip Billing.
Substitution, Bournemouth. Matías Viña replaces Dango Ouattara.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Jhon Durán replaces Emiliano Buendía.
Goal! Aston Villa 3, Bournemouth 0. Emiliano Buendía (Aston Villa) header from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tyrone Mings following a corner.
Attempt blocked. Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) header from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Douglas Luiz with a cross.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Philip Billing.
Attempt blocked. Bertrand Traoré (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by John McGinn.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Jefferson Lerma.
Attempt blocked. Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ezri Konsa.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Dominic Solanke.
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