Match Preview: Aston Villa v Bournemouth

Come Saturday afternoon 1197 days will have passed since Villa Park last hosted Premier League football. Our last top flight outing resulted in a tepid 0-0 draw with Newcastle United that, at the very least, halted a run of 11 straight defeats and dragged our opponents into the relegation mire.

A lot has happened since then mind – a couple of takeovers, three Championship seasons, two play-off finals and four wins (zero defeats) against our cross-city neighbours! However, one thing is for sure, we’re in a much better place now both on-and-off the pitch than were back in May 2016.

And whilst we were dogging it down in the Championship this weekends’ opponents Bournemouth have been up to a different kind of graft and guile; steadily building the foundations of what can now be considered a reasonably safe and sturdy Premier League outfit. Having said that, manager Eddie Howe is as down-to-earth as they come and will know that survival is not a given. As is the case for most clubs outside of the ‘big six’.

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