UEFA Champions League

Bournemouth-Aston Villa Preview

Gary O'Neil says Bournemouth cannot afford to get carried away with last week's surprise victory over Liverpool, as they continue their bid for Premier League survival with Saturday's trip to Aston Villa.

Philip Billing scored the only goal as the Cherries claimed a memorable win over Jurgen Klopp's Reds last time out, just a week on from pushing Arsenal close in a 3-2 loss at the Emirates Stadium.

While Bournemouth have enjoyed an upturn of late, they remain inside the relegation zone courtesy of their poor goal difference, and O'Neil knows there is plenty of work to do.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference on Friday, O'Neil said: "I enjoyed the drive home on Saturday!

"And then I was pretty much back to making sure we reviewed the game and get ready for the next one.

"I don't get too high when win, or too low when lose. We just have to keep working hard and make sure we come out right at the end of it."

Villa were pegged back in a 1-1 draw at West Ham last week, meaning they remain 11th in the table - albeit just seven points adrift of the top seven.

Boss Unai Emery hopes a return to Villa Park will help his side recapture their best form, saying: "Our challenge now is to be consistent at home and to be a team improving, showing our supporters that every match is very important.

"We want to share with them our improvements, and Saturday is going to be a very good challenge to show it."

Striker Ollie Watkins has six goals in Villa's last seven outings, and he is keen to keep that run going.

"It's nice as a striker to score goals, that's what you want to do at the end of the day," he said. "I'm looking forward to these last 12 games to keep scoring and helping the team."

Aston Villa - Ollie Watkins

Watkins is Aston Villa's top Premier League goalscorer this season with nine goals and will be looking to reach double figures against the Cherries. He could become the first player to score 10 or more goals in three consecutive top-flight campaigns for the Villans since Christian Benteke (2012-13 to 2014-15), and the first Englishman to do so since Gabriel Agbonlahor (2007-08 to 2009-10).

Bournemouth - Philip Billing

Billing is Bournemouth's top Premier League scorer this season, netting twice as many goals in 25 appearances this term (six) as he had in 77 games across his three previous campaigns combined (three). Having followed up his early strike at Arsenal by hitting the winner against Liverpool, the midfielder is looking to maintain a rich vein of form in front of goal.

Aston Villa have won just two of their last 10 Premier League games against promoted sides (D3 L5), and are winless in their three such games this season (D1 L2).

Villa have also lost each of their last four Premier League meetings with Bournemouth, though the visitors are without back-to-back Premier League victories within a single campaign since February 2020.

With the visitors losing nine times on their travels in the Premier League this season, Emery's men will fancy their chances of recording a home victory.

Aston Villa 50.9 per cent

Bournemouth 22.2 per cent

Draw26.9 per cent

Updated March 17, 2023

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