Express & Star

Aston Villa 3 Bournemouth 1 - Report

Villa moved six points clear in fourth place after coming from behind to beat Bournemouth.


Dominic Solanke fired the visitors in front after Matty Cash had brought down Milos Kerkez just past the half-hour mark.

But Morgan Rogers levelled things up just before the break and Moussa Diaby put Villa ahead when he converted Ollie Watkins’ cross.

Watkins then set up Leon Bailey to make the points safe as Unai Emery’s team finished off a fantastic week in style.


Villa were excellent in the second half, after an opening period when you wondered whether the effects of Thursday’s Europa Conference League win in Lille might have caught up with them.

Rogers’ strike on the stroke of half-time, after Bournemouth, had spurned good chances to double the lead provided by Solanke’s spot-kick, changed the momentum.

The 21-year-old had a big hand in Villa’s second in what was another excellent individual display.

It was Watkins, however, who led from the front, setting up both of Villa’s second half goals and being unfortunate not to find the net himself.

Aston Villa's Morgan Rogers (left) and Bournemouth's Adam Smith battle for the ball

Rogers was one of two players brought into the starting XI and it was his dummy which helped set up Villa’s first chance of the game, Diaby racing into the visiting half and finding Watkins, whose shot took a nick off the leg Illia Zabarnyi and looped just over the bar. From the corner, John McGinn sent an effort wide of the target.

Villa were moving the ball nicely and a move which began with Pau Torres bursting out of defence nearly ended with the centre-back getting on the end of Diaby’s cross.

Emi Martinez, given a rapturous reception by the Holte End prior to kick-off, was forced into his first work of the afternoon by a well-struck Justin Kluivert shot.

Villa still looked the slicker but could not find the final touch, Diaby failing to adjust his feet in time to convert a Bailey cross.

Yet the hosts were given a warning when Dango Outtara arrived unmarked at the far post and fired into the side netting and just past the hour mark it was the visitors who grabbed the lead.

Diaby lost possession too easily in his own half and when Cash slid in recklessly to being down Kerkez, Villa could have few complaints. Martinez could not repeat his Lille heroics, despite guessing the right way, with Solanke striking the penalty just too high for the goalkeeper to get a touch.

Cash almost made swift amends with a drive which whistled just wide of the post.

Aston Villa's Moussa Diaby (left) and Bournemouth's Illya Zabarnyi battle for the ball

Yet Bournemouth were now creating plenty of problems. Ezri Konsa took advantage of hesitation from Solanke to dive in and clear behind, before Kluivert send a deflected effort bobbling just wide of the post.

Villa needed a moment of inspiration and Rogers, with help from Bailey, provided it. It was Diaby who first earned redemption, halting a Bournemouth break with a barge the visitors were less than happy with, to spark a Villa counter. Bailey then picked out the run of Rogers with the outside of his boot and the 21-year-old kept his cool, cutting inside a defender before lifting his finish into the roof of the net.

It felt a big moment and Villa began the second half with greater purpose, with the increasingly influential Watkins twice testing Neto before then setting up Diaby to put Villa ahead.

Rogers turned on halfway and picked out the run of Villa’s top scorer behind Illia Zabarnyi, with Watkins then chopping inside the defender and finding Diaby slide a finish beyond Neto.

Villa Park, quiet for much of the opening half, was now fully alive but it required a sharp stop from Martinez to preserve the lead when he kept out Outtara’s close-range header, before turning to roar at the North Stand.

The hosts were pushing for a third, Watkins sending a shot just wide of the far post after another excellent Bailey pass.

The same pair would then combine for Villa’s third with 12 minutes remaining. Watkins started the move by rolling his man and then raced on to Diaby’s through pass, went around Neto and squared for Bailey to tap home from no more than a yard out.

Martinez denied Cherries substitute Enes Unal twice in stoppage time but the game was won.

Key Moments

31 GOAL Dominic Solanke puts Bournemouth ahead from the penalty spot after Matty Cash brings down Milo Kerkez.

45+1 GOAL Morgan Rogers levels for Villa, lifting a finish into the net after being set away by Leon Bailey.

57 GOAL Moussa Diaby puts Villa ahead, sliding home Ollie Watkins’ cross.

78 GOAL Bailey makes it three for Villa, tapping home Watkins’ low cross at the far post.


Villa (4-4-2): Martinez, Cash (Kesler-Hayden 90+5), Konsa, Torres, Digne, Bailey (Carlos 87), McGinn, Tielemans, Rogers, Diaby (Duran 90+3), Watkins Subs not used: Chambers, Lenglet, Iroegbunam, Munroe, Kellyman, Olsen (gk).

Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Neto, Smith (Aarons HT), Zabaryni, Senesi (Semenyo 63), Kelly, Cook, Christie (Scott 76), Outtara (Unal 82), Kluivert (Billing 76), Kerkez, Solanke Subs not used: McKenna, Hill, Gonzalez, Travers (gk).