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First team

Media view: Expert insight on Aston Villa


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth will be hoping to make it back-to-back home wins in the Premier League when they host Aston Villa tomorrow (3pm kick-off).

Villa arrive at Vitality Stadium on the back of booking a place in the final of the Carabao Cup this week.

Trezeguet’s dramatic injury-time goal earned them a 3-2 aggregate victory over Leicester City which set up a date with Manchester City at Wembley.

In the Premier League, Dean Smith’s team opened 2020 with a 2-1 win at Burnley on New Year’s Day, their second away triumph in the top flight this season.

They bounced back from going down 6-1 against Manchester City by picking up a point on their travels at Brighton before beating Watford 2-1 at Villa Park ten days ago.

Having banked seven points from their past four games, Villa are currently 16th in the Premier League, two points and two places above the Cherries.

Ahead of the clash, afcb.co.uk caught up with Gregg Evans, who covers the fortunes of Villa for The Athletic.

afcb.co.uk: How will reaching the Carabao Cup final affect Villa’s mindset ahead of tomorrow?

GE: It will give them a massive boost and add to the feelgood factor at the club.

Results in the Premier League are the priority and there are no bigger games than this one.

I worry about whether Villa will be as fresh as Bournemouth given their efforts on Tuesday, but their confidence levels will be sky high.

afcb.co.uk: Only Norwich have fewer points than Villa on their travels – what’s been the main difference between their home and away displays?

GE: Villa had a tough run of away fixtures early on in the season and have already played six of the top eight on their travels.

They struggled to hold on to leads earlier in the season but have turned things around in recent times and have picked up four points from their past two away games.

afcb.co.uk: What are your thoughts on Jack Grealish (pictured above) being touted for England?

GE: He's ready and should be called up into the next squad.

He’s as good as any midfielder England have available. Already this season he has scored more goals than in any other campaign. His performances have been brilliant.

afcb.co.uk: On current form (other than Grealish), who is Villa’s player to watch?

GE: Tyrone Mings on his return to Bournemouth. He's a rock in the heart of defence and a much better player than the one who left the club.

afcb.co.ukAre any first-choice players either injured or suspended against the Cherries?

GE: Nothing new from last week. John McGinn, Wesley Moraes and Tom Heaton are long-term injuries.

afcb.co.ukHave Villa had a busy transfer window?

GE: Yes, they signed Danny Drinkwater on loan from Chelsea and Pepe Reina on loan from AC Milan. They also paid £10.5million for Ally Samatta, a striker from Genk (pictured above).

afcb.co.ukWhat’s your score prediction?

GE: 1-1.

You can follow Gregg on Twitter – @greggevans40

Match officials: Anthony Taylor (referee), Gary Beswick (assistant), Adam Nunn (assistant), James Linington (fourth official), Stuart Attwell (VAR), Stephen Child (assistant VAR).

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