Verdict: Bournemouth to score in the 1st half
Aston Villa will travel South to the seaside hoping to consolidate their top 4 position. A difficult fixture against Bournemouth could end Unai Emery’s team’s incredible run. The match will be played at Vitality Stadium in front of 11,000 fans.
Andoni Iraola revived his team after a poor start to the season. The Spanish manager returned to his best after 2 consecutive Premier League wins. Questions were raised before the Newcastle game since Manchester City severely hammered Bournemouth at Etihad Stadium with a staggering 6-1 win. It was the kick Solanke and his teammates needed to change their attitude. The magnificent display in front of their own fans against Newcastle ( 2-0 win) propelled the hosts into safety. Having their morale boosted, Bournemouth travelled to Sheffield on a high, defeating the Blades 3-1.
Iraola’s current team pulled back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the 1st time since the end of last season. The Cherries sit 16th in the table, 7 points above relegation. Another positive result, this time against Aston Villa, could send Bournemouth towards the middle of the table in a safety zone. Fans will be expecting more from their favourites who had disappointing displays at Vitality Stadium, winning only 8 points from a maximum of 21. The story is different in the h2h games against today’s visitors, The Cherries winning 2 of 3 home games played against Villa.
Ryan Frederiks (calf), Tyler Adams (hamstring) and Emiliano Marcondes are all out for the Villa clash. Andoni Iraola will most likely stick to his winning 4-2-3-1 line-up with Solanke being the main character. The English striker is expected to repeat his incredible performance against Newcastle when he scored a brace.
Aarons, Zabarnyi, Senesi and Kelly will form the back 4 line with Christie and Cook playing as defensive midfielders. Semenyo, Kluivert and Tavernier will look to put Solanke in a favourable position to score.
Unai Emery has transformed Aston Villa since taking over the reign, more than a year ago. The versatile acclaimed Spanish manager who has a lot of silverware under his belt, mostly won with Sevilla and PSG, is in pole position to bring Villa to a historic top 4 finish at the end of the season. Having already qualified for the Conference League knock-out stage, The Villans can turn their attention to the Premier League. With 28 points already in the bag, Watkins and his teammates find themselves 2 points behind leaders Arsenal.
The first-round 5-1 defeat at Newcastle was long time forgotten. Aston Villa fancy playing in London with Chelsea and most recently Tottenham being two of the visitor’s victims in the games played on the road. Scoring goals for fun is something Villa is doing on a regular basis having the 2nd most prolific attack in the Premier League (31 goals). Only the current champions, Manchester City, boosts a better performance netting 33 goals. Aston Villa will be looking to improve their Vitality Stadium record, suffering 2 defeats from 3 games played.
Tyrone Mings is sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering a cruciate ligament tear. Emiliano Buendia, the young talented right-winger is out of action until mid-February. He suffered a cruciate ligament tear at the start of the season but his recovery is going well. Kamara is out serving a yellow card suspension.
Unai Emery will line up his best available team being able to rest some players midweek in the home Conference League match against Legia. A classic 4-4-2 with a solid back 4 consisting of Digne, Torres, Diego Carlos and Konsa is expected. Ollie Watkins will be looking to add more goals under his belt in an attempt to challenge Haaland and Salah for the Premier League Golden Boot.
Key factors to consider
- Bournemouth is back on track after winning the last two Premier League matches.
- The hosts won 2 of their last 3 matches played at home against Villa.
- Andoni Iraol’s side displayed a top performance last round, defeating Newcastle with 2-0.
- Aston Villa are on the front foot winning 9 of their last 12 competitive games.
- Unai Emery’s team is doing a great job in Europe qualifying for the Conference League knock-out stage.
- The visitors won the last 2 games played on the road, scoring 5 goals.
Fatigue can be a decisive factor considering the loaded schedule Aston Villa’s players were subject to. Bournemouth’s form has been increasing lately with at least 1 goal scored in the visitor’s net to be expected. A build-up on the Newcastle performance is expected with the hosts scoring before the break.
Verdict: Bournemouth to score in the 1st half
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