The Villa Report: A Pivotal Game That Put Pressure on Spurs

Aston Villa vs Bournemouth

By Rob Carter

In a Word


Happening a lot‘ – Cambridge Dictionary

The Carter Report

While the point against Chelsea at Villa Park proved a useful point, after Spurs lost at home to Arsenal the following day, a key result in setting up Villa in pole position for a fourth Champions’ League spot was their win against Bournemouth. After an impressive away win at Arsenal, Villa needed to beat the Cherries to gain back-to-back wins to really put the pressure on Spurs as they sat on the sidelines without a game that week.

At the end of a pivotal week, flares, smoke, enraptured fans and general chaos greeted the team bus as it wound its way to Villa Park for the Bournemouth game, allowing the home faithful a chance to greet their heroes before the game.  The club had also done this before the Brighton game at the end of last season, and the connection between the team, management & fans can only benefit as a result. Rarely has anyone carried off pulling a suitcase on wheels as well as Unai Emery.  The man oozes panache.

The chaos, perhaps predictably after a tumultuous week, continued on the pitch, with the home side once again flowing freely and creating a glut of chances.  Almost inevitably, there will be bumps in the road; this time provided by a penalty which threatened to stall Villa’s momentum. Dominic Solanke converted past Emi Martinez and Villa Park grew anxious.

 Morgan Rogers though provided the cure shortly before half-time though. The January signing from Middlesborough continues to delight, perhaps ahead of schedule, and once again he delivered, with a lovely goal on the counter attack, setting up buoyant scenes on the concourses at half-time.

The second half saw the home side come into their own, swashbuckling away in true Emery style, augmented by goals from Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey, with the irrepressible Ollie Watkins pivotal on both occasions.  With 19 league goals (26 in all competitions) and 12 assists, only Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane can boast a better record in Europe’s top leagues.

As the sunshine continued to light up Villa Park, the home crowd ran through their full repertoire of songs, in particular enjoying poking fun at near neighbours (not rivals) Birmingham City, who spent the afternoon in the bottom three of the Championship.

Whilst never 100% comfortable, this win was a job well done, and set Villa up nicely for two more home games in close succession, against Chelsea in the Premier League, and then Greek side Olympiakos in the Europa Conference League semi-final first leg.

After failing to get revenge for the FA Cup defeat, the point against Chelsea in hindsight was welcome. As for Olympiacos, a minimum two-goal lead from the home leg seems likely to be needed, particularly when reviewing the previous tie against Lille, when Villa were perhaps lucky to progress.

With so much to look forward to, and players in top form, the run-in to the season promises to be one that will live long in the memory.


Value rating: £35 (out of £41) 

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