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Premier League | Gameweek 34
Apr 21, 2024 at 3pm UK
Villa Park

Aston Villa
3 - 1

Rogers (45+1'), Diaby (57'), Bailey (78')
Cash (87')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Solanke (31' pen.)
Smith (21'), Senesi (37'), Zabarnyi (55')

Preview: Aston Villa vs. Bournemouth - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Aston Villa vs. Bournemouth - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Bournemouth, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Following a nail-biting success in Europe, Aston Villa return to their pursuit of a place in the Premier League's final top four, as they host mid-table Bournemouth on Sunday.

Villa scraped through to the Europa Conference League semi-finals with a tense penalty-shootout win in midweek, while their visitors came close to doing the double over Manchester United last time out.

Match preview

It took a dramatic set of spot-kicks to overcome Ligue 1 side Lille on Thursday night, when Aston Villa let their 2-1 first-leg lead slip and were indebted to fit-again Matty Cash for levelling matters in France and sending the tie into extra time.

Unai Emery's men eventually prevailed 4-3 on penalty kicks, but that only tells half the story, as controversial goalkeeper Emi Martinez continued his love-hate relationship with French football fans, saving twice in the shootout and openly shushing several thousand enraged supporters.

That resulted in a second yellow card for the Argentinian antagonist, but he was not sent off - in accordance with the rules - before helping his team through to the last four, where they will face Olympiacos next month.

Although far from convincing, such a success followed hot on the heels of another eye-catching result in the Premier League last week, which restored the Villans' status as slight favourites to take England's fourth - and surely final - Champions League place for next season.

Title-chasing Arsenal were Villa's victims in an impressive 2-0 win, with 19-goal top scorer Ollie Watkins finding the target again, taking one step closer to becoming the first man to score 20 times for the Birmingham club in a top-flight season since Peter Withe way back in 1981, when they last won the title.

Emery's side have now posted 19 Premier League wins this season - already Villa's best such tally for 31 years - and they have surpassed the final points tally from their last 10 top-flight campaigns with several games left to play.

Still facing a tough run-in, a well-drilled squad will take nothing for granted in their top-four tussle with Tottenham Hotspur just yet - particularly as they only just escaped with a point from their last meeting with Bournemouth.

Although Watkins popped up with a 90th-minute leveller in December's reverse fixture - an eventful 2-2 draw down in Dorset - Bournemouth have still won four of their seven Premier League meetings with Aston Villa to date.

That result came in the early throes of their remarkable rise up the rankings, as since mid-November, only England's top four teams have won more points than the Cherries, who have picked up 36 during that period - a run featuring no fewer than 10 league victories.

Although Bournemouth's five-game unbeaten streak recently ended with a disappointing defeat at Luton Town, they were close to bouncing straight back with another success last weekend.

Andoni Iraola's side ultimately settled for a 2-2 home draw against Manchester United, despite leading twice and dominating the shot count, and having taken four points off the Red Devils this season, they further cemented their place in mid-table.

Now well clear of the drop, the Cherries are looking up: they have only managed one top-half placing in their brief Premier League history - finishing ninth in 2017 - and that remains an outside possibility this term.

Aston Villa Premier League form:

Aston Villa form (all competitions):

Bournemouth Premier League form:

Team News

In an effort to keep his Aston Villa squad fresh, Unai Emery could rotate several players on Sunday afternoon: Douglas Luiz must be replaced in midfield, as he serves the final game of a Premier League suspension, so captain John McGinn may fill a deeper role, with Leon Bailey potentially returning to the hosts' starting XI.

Making an immediate impact, Matty Cash returned to action on Thursday after several weeks on the sidelines through injury; however, long-term absentees Boubacar Kamara, Emi Buendia, Tyrone Mings and Jacob Ramsey are all unavailable, in addition to Alex Moreno.

Starting up front, Ollie Watkins has recorded 19 goals and 10 assists in the top flight this season, one more strike would see him become just the third English player to score at least 20 times and assist 10 goals in a 38-game Premier League campaign.

While Watkins has fired Villa into the reckoning for Champions League qualification, Bournemouth's Dominic Solanke scored both against the Villans earlier this season and the opening goal last week - the latter has now netted 17 league goals this term.

Antoine Semenyo is available again and can contend for selection in support of the Cherries' star striker at Villa Park, but Luis Sinisterra has been ruled out after his withdrawal during the first half last Saturday.

Though the Colombian winger could miss the rest of the season, Marcus Tavernier is closing in on a return from his thigh injury; however, he still joins Ryan Fredericks and Tyler Adams on the sidelines.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Lenglet, Digne; McGinn, Tielemans; Bailey, Rogers, Diaby; Watkins

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Neto; Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kelly; Christie, Cook; Semenyo, Scott, Kluivert; Solanke

We say: Aston Villa 2-1 Bournemouth

In a battle of two Basque bosses, Unai Emery could come out on top - though Andoni Iraola's Bournemouth are sure to push a weary Aston Villa side all the way. The hosts may have heavy legs, but their visitors concede an average of two goals per game on the road and can be caught out at the back.

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

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Premier League Table
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916
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