After the midweek success in the EFL Cup — Aston Villa traveled to Bournemouth hoping to continue momentum. Dean Smith picked mostly the same team from Tuesday — putting Reina back in goal now that his calf is apparently good enough to play.
Samatta became the first player from Tanzania to play in the Premier League — the 117th country to represented (before you open a tab and Google it — there are 195 countries in the world according to the info box after searching the question).
The nerves were clear in the early sunshine. Both teams need points... and both teams are desperate not to see the other gain any. Bournemouth was pressing high against the back three of Villa.
Hause put Villa in a spot of bother after shoving Billings over in the sixth minute. The ensuing free kick was hit to Wilson but his header deflected off Guilbert to take all the sting out of it. Billings had a shot of his own a few minutes later but it was easily caught by Reina.
Villa seemed to be trying to slow the game down in the first opening 20 minutes. Slow throw-ins, slow free kicks — perhaps trying to take the home crowd out of the game — the problem is Villa were playing slow too.
On Villa first good looking counter attack — Lerma took out Grealish and picked up a yellow card. Before the foul — Guilbert, Samatta and Jack linked well down the right. Lerma and Grealish were in each other’s face quite often.
Villa grew into the game after the 25 minute mark — adding to the idea that Smith may have told his team to play slow and careful for the opening period of the match.
Bournemouth needed two big blocks to prevent goals from Jack and Samatta with ten minutes left in the first half.
After the attacking spell Mings picked up a yellow card for a trailing leg on Fraser. The free kick went over everyone — but Francis was first to the ball. His cross was headed down to a running Billing — who stayed calm and put it into the net. Reina couldn’t get enough on it to keep it out. 1-0 to the hosts — and it was a deserved lead on the opening 37’.
To add to the pressure — the live table after the goal put Villa in 19th.
Bournemouth took energy from the goal and pressured Villa all over the park.
Luiz picked up a late yellow card for stopping a Bournemouth counter attack. The free kick hit the wall and Mings failed to clear it well. The ball was sent back into the box — Reina palmed it right to Ake — who doubled the hosts lead.
Right after the goal Jack had a chance after skipping by a defender. He took a tight angle shot that went off the inside of the keeper’s leg and rolled across the net but not in it.
The halftime whistle ended a poor Villa half. Two goals from free kicks given by Mings and Luiz. Smith spend the first part of the break laying into to officials in the tunnel. Hopefully in the locker room he did the same to players — especially the defenders.
Dean Smith made a switch during the break with Engels on for Konsa.
The second half started... ugly. Neither team seemed to actually want to keep the ball. After four or five poor defensive plays for Villa — Lerma put a shot off the bar.
Down at the other end it was Lerma again making headlines. Grealish passed the ball and made a run and was impeded by Lerma. A second yellow card was surprisingly shown. It was harsh — unless Lerma had been warned and knew he was on thin ice — but I didn’t see anything that would have deserved that.
The free kick after the foul was a good ball. Engels headed it over — and then was punched in the face by the keeper. Mr. VAR looked at it — but no penalty for being punched in the head and not getting anywhere near the ball.
Keinan Davis entered the fray on 58’ for El Ghazi who was never involved in the play.
The next chance did not fall to the team with more players. Wilson should have made it 3-0 — but he put a shot wide. Villa went right down and had a great chance from Targett but it was cleared off the line.
Wilson picked up a yellow card for dissent. He had been complaining about every whistle against him. So this yellow was deserved.
With 20 minutes left — Villa finally found the break through by utilizing the two big men up front. A Davis effort was deflected and looped toward the keeper. It was a race between Ramsdale and Samatta — and the Tanzanian got his head to the ball first scoring a goal on his PL debut. Villa’s first headed goal of the league campaign!
Davis had a tough angle shot blocked after a Bournemouth giveaway.
As the clock ticked up — Villa maintained possession for the most part looking for a way through the solid defense of the hosts.
Both Mings and Davis put headers over the bar. Neither were easy — but they were chances.
With 11 minutes left — semifinal hero Trezeguet came on for Nakamaba. Leaving the midfield quite sparse but attacking options plentiful.
Bournemouth wasted time effectively on every chance. They were helped by Villa giving the ball away — especially Mings who had a poor day all around against his former side.
Four minutes were added to the 90.
Hause picked up a late yellow card for dissent after Harry Wilson absolutely dove to buy Bournemouth some time.
Grealish pushed Villa forward — but on this Saturday there was no late magic for Aston Villa.