Aston Villa - AFC Bournemouth Preview: Relegation could be confirmed as Villans host Cherries

Villa host Bournemouth on Saturday, the day which could confirm their relegation.

Aston Villa - AFC Bournemouth Preview: Relegation could be confirmed as Villans host Cherries
(photo: vavel)

Aston Villa host AFC Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon, fully in the knowledge that their relegation to the Championship could be confirmed, should they fail to win.

Ever-present in the Premier League since it's origin in 1992, Villa are part of an exclusive set of just seven clubs, having not been relegated to English football's second division since 1987. That could change as early as Saturday though.

Permutations

Villa currently sit bottom of the table, 15 points behind 17th placed Norwich City with six games left to play. This means that after tomorrow's fixtures, there will be five games left to play.

Should Norwich get a better result than Villa tomorrow, and the gap extends to more than 15 points, the Villans will find it mathematically impossible to make up the ground in the time remaining, and thus be relegated.

The Canaries visit out-of-form Crystal Palace, and will fancy their chances of picking up at least a point. With this in mind, it's imperative that Villa beat Bournemouth at home, the only result that would guarantee their survival for another week, regardless of how Norwich do.

Is there slight hope against virtually safe Bournemouth?

If only Villa could have had the season that Bournemouth had. Led by Eddie Howe, the newly promoted side have taken the Premier League like a duck to water, and are only just two points from the 'magical 40 point mark', with 18 points to play for.

They're 11 points clear of the relegation zone, and only a miracle would see them go down now, something that may play into Villa's hands. 

Beating Swansea City 3-2 a few weeks back got Bournemouth home and dry, in many people's opinion, and they've conceded a combined seven goals without reply in their next two games against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City. Villa will hope to take advantage of any Cherries player's that have one eye on their summer holiday already.

Bournemouth have gone off the boil since Cook's winner against Swansea (photo: reuters)
Bournemouth have gone off the boil since Cook's winner against Swansea (photo: reuters)

You'd be unlikely to back Villa to take advantage though, having lost seven straight games in the Premier League, something they've now done twice this season.

Hope will be taken from Villa's opening day win against Bournemouth, Rudy Gestede's header the only goal of the game at Dean Court. That has so far proved to be just one of three league wins all season.

Team news

Adama Traore and Jack Grealish could both start for Villa, having returned to first team training in the past few weeks following long periods out with injury.

Gabriel Agbonlahor was set to return for Villa having been suspended by the club for the defeat to Chelsea last week, but now looks like being kept out by a virus.

One big loss for Bournemouth is that of Benik Afobe, who has a hamstring injury, whilst Adam Smith and Harry Arter are both unlikely to feature with hernia and Achilles trouble respectively.