Aston Villa - Bournemouth Preview: Cherries look to end poor form against woeful Villans

Eddie Howe's will look to add to Villa's woes as the home side face potential relegation on Saturday.

Aston Villa - Bournemouth Preview: Cherries look to end poor form against woeful Villans
Aston Villa vs Bournemouth | Photo: VAVEL / Jonny Walsh

AFC Bournemouth face relegation-bound Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday looking to end their brief poor run of form.

The Cherries have conceded seven goals without reply in their last two games, and have not won since the 3-2 victory over Swansea City in March.

Eddie Howe’s side lost 4-0 against Manchester City last weekend, following a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur prior to the recent international break. However, a first win in three games could potentially relegate the Villans if other results also go against them.

Head to head

The two sides met in the maiden game of the season, and Villa managed to take a rare three points thanks to Rudy Gestede’s late header. Both clubs have gone in contrasting directions since, however, and a Bournemouth win - coupled with Norwich City taking at least a point at Crystal Palace - will relegate Villa.

This fixture has been sparsely contested through the years due to the Cherries languished in the lower regions of the Football League, while Villa have been ever-present in the top-flight since 1988. However, Bournemouth have the edge over the Villans in the head-to-head record: winning four of the six meetings, to Villa’s one victory.

Villa's eventful season has snowballed into a disaster

It’s been a calamitous season for Aston Villa, who were once one of England’s biggest clubs. They are winless in the league since their 1-0 win against Crystal Palace in January, and their opening day victory over the Cherries was one of just three victories all season.

Tim Sherwood started the season as manager at Villa Park following their FA Cup final appearance in the previous season, however, he was harshly sacked in October and replaced by Remi Garde. The Frenchman only lasted five months in the Villa dugout, before being sacked in the latter stages of March for failing to oversee a turnaround in results and morale.

Remi Garde was sacked for failing to turn Villa's fortunes around | Photo: Getty images
Remi Garde was sacked for failing to turn Villa's fortunes around | Photo: Getty images

Bournemouth have been a breath of fresh air this season and seem destined to survive another season

Bournemouth have enjoyed a completely contrasting season; Howe’s side were widely expected to return to the Sky Bet Championship, but are set to survive another year in the top-flight. Three points would lift them onto 41 points and would almost certainly secure safety for at least another season.

Villa were on the receiving end of a 4-0 thrashing to Chelsea last weekend, but caretaker boss Eric Black insisted in his pre-match press conference that his players have responded well in training and are prepared to take on the Cherries.

Howe was surprisingly cautious in his pre-match press conference, claiming Villa’s league position “shows how difficult” the Premier League is. He also denied claims that his side “were already on holiday” in their previous two matches, saying each place further up the table is “vital” to the club, and he has challenged his side to win all of their remaining games.

Team news

Villa will be without long-term absentees Jordan Amavi and Libor Kozak, while Ciaran Clark and Adama Traore remain doubtful through injury. Right-back Alan Hutton is suspended following his sending-off against the Blues.

Meanwhile, Howe will be without Callum Wilson and Tyrone Mings - who have both missed large parts of the season through injury – while Benik Afobe, Harry Arter, Adam Smith and Junior Stanislas are doubtful to take part.

Aston Villa predicted line-up: Guzan; Richards, Okore, Lescott, Cissokho; Veretout, Gueye, Weswood; Sinclair, Gestede, Ayew.

Bournemouth predicted-lineup: Boruc; Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels; Ritchie, Surman, O’Kane, Gradel; King, Grabban.