Saturday , May 25 2024
Aston villa

Aston Villa 3-1 Bournemouth: Villans finish near-perfect week

Ollie Watkins and Aston Villa found their footing at the end of a busy week, beating Bournemouth 3-1 at Villa Park on Sunday.

Watkins set up two goals and Leon Bailey had a goal and an assist, with Moussa Diaby also scoring after Villa went behind on Dominic Solanke’s 31st-minute penalty. Aston Villa are the lone remaining Premier League club active in this European season after navigating 120 minutes and penalties with Lille on Thursday to reach the Conference, and still have plenty to achieve in the English top-flight and now have 66 points to sit fourth.

Spurs are six points back with two matches-in-hand, and fourth place is their only route to the Champions League barring a miraculous turnabout in UEFA coefficient for England.

The Villans outlasted Lille in penalties to reach a Europa Conference League semifinal with Olympiacos, the winner facing either Fiorentina or Club Brugge in Athens on May 29.

Bournemouth are limping to the line, 13th with 33 points after taking just one point from their last three Premier League outings.

Ollie Watkins

Emery, Watkins continue to burnish award credentials

If there was ever a game for Aston Villa to understandably falter, it was Sunday.

The Villans had beaten Arsenal last weekend and needed 120 minutes plus penalties to get past Lille in France on Thursday.

Surely Unai Emery, Ollie Watkins, and friends would struggle at least a little, and they did early at Villa Park. It was possession but not much else in an even first half that looked destined to end 1-0 to the visitors.

But a great team goal saw Morgan Rogers, who is really coming into his own, make it 1-1 before the break and Ollie Watkins, Moussa Diaby, and Leon Bailey took over in the second half. Watkins set up Villa’s other two goals, rarely looking like one of the few players who played all 120 minutes on Thursday.

Emery’s been well-admired as a tournament boss but this has been something else. He deserves real consideration for Premier League Manager of the Year if he holds off Ange Postecoglou and Spurs for fourth place, and Watkins is atop the PL assist list while also threatening to Golden Boot race. Player of the Year is not crazy.


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