Aston Villa controlled Bournemouth in a straightforward 3-0 win that sent the Cherries back to earth on Saturday at Villa Park.
The relegation-threatened Cherries beat Liverpool 1-0 last time out but trailed by the seventh-minute and only once looked a threat to score, when Dominic Solanke took too many touches on a long second-half dribble.
Douglas Luiz scored that first-half marker and match star Jacob Ramsey fittingly got Villa’s second goal in the win, which propels Villa into 10th place with 38 points before Chelsea (37 points) kicks off vs Everton.
Villa’s claimed 10 of its last 12 available points as Unai Emery’s men can dream of Europe in realistic-enough fashion.
Bournemouth’s 24 points are good for 19th place, one point off safety.
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Unai Emery’s Aston Villa makes jam of sour Cherries
Bournemouth is not dead in the water but Villa sure made them look like a team not fit for the level.
Villa’s expected goals of 3.20 really piled up late but that’s a big figure, and Tyrone Mings led a defense that only allowed Bournemouth nine shot attempts and an 0.59 xG total over 90 minutes.
Villa literally looked like a European candidate on Saturday, and only some of that has to do with Bournemouth. The Villans were in the ascendancy from Moment No. 1 and probably could’ve scored five on another day (Mings had a late in-tight shot saved by Neto, in fact).
This all happened with Boubacar Kamara, Leander Dendoncker, and Philippe Coutinho injured and Diego Carlos and Lucas Digne as unused subs.
Watch out for Villa, who has a lot of reasonable points ahead of them on the fixture list.
David Brooks return a feel-good moment
The vibes didn’t last too long, and that’s why we want to make sure we acknowledge David Brooks’ return to Bournemouth following a lengthy and scary absence.
Brooks, 25, announced his diagnosis with Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2021 and missed the rest of last season, then missing most of this season with a dreadful hamstring injury.
His entrance to this game was greeted with very warm applause around Villa Park. It’s just that Villa then scored within minutes.
Aston Villa vs Bournemouth player ratings: Stars of the Show
Douglas Luiz: Scored early, dominated throughout.
Jacob Ramsey: This isn’t exact math, but it feels like he spent approximately 15% of this game with the ball in space.
Jefferson Lerma, Philip Billing, and Dango Ouattara: For the most part, if Bournemouth is playing these are the players you can count on to play well (Lerma certainly has his days, but most of the time). Sometimes Neto joins in. It’s just not enough.
Bournemouth returns to the pitch on April 1 versus Fulham, while Villa goes to Chelsea the same day.
Douglas Luiz goal video: Villans in control early
Jacob Ramsey goal video: MOTM adds a goal to his performance
Emi Buendia goal video: Ex-Norwich man turns in Luiz corner
How to watch Aston Villa vs Bournemouth live, stream link and start time
Key storylines & star players
Leon Bailey will be looking to make amends for the penalty he conceded in a 1-1 draw with West Ham. Bailey’s looked quite good under Unai Emery, and his connection with in-form and sneaky postseason honors candidate Ollie Watkins could prove vital to this game and the top-half charge.
Philip Billing looks the sort of leader that can help prod a big finish out of Bournemouth, who has in Dango Outtara the electric injection it wanted from the January transfer market. Neto will matter quite a bit, too, for a team which is still conceding chances.
Aston Villa team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Philippe Coutinho (thigh), Jed Steer (calf), Boubacar Kamara (ankle), Leander Dendoncker (undisclosed)
Bournemouth team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Junior Stanislas (undisclosed), Marcus Tavernier (thigh), Illia Zabarnyi (foot), Adam Smith (groin)