EPL

Unai Emery toasts ‘very good week’ for Aston Villa after win against Bournemouth

By Sports Desk April 21, 2024

Unai Emery hailed a “fantastic” win that capped a “very good week” after Aston Villa came from behind to secure a 3-1 home win over Bournemouth.

Having gone a goal down through Dominic Solanke’s 31st-minute penalty, the hosts turned things around with Morgan Rogers equalising in first-half stoppage time and second-half efforts following from Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey, both set up by Ollie Watkins, who is the Premier League’s leading assist maker this season on 12, to go with his 19 goals.

Villa again boosted their bid for Champions League football seven days after winning 2-0 at Arsenal, and three on from the penalty shootout triumph at Lille that took them into the Europa Conference League semi-finals.

With four league games to go, the midlands outfit are now six points clear in fourth of fifth-placed Tottenham, who have two games in hand.

Villa boss Emery said in his post-match press conference: “A very good week, very good, and today was fantastic.

“Of course, those three points were very important, and I think we can be proud of our work and proud of how we are being consistent and trying to fight with Tottenham.”

Villa can make the gap to Spurs nine points when they host Chelsea on Saturday, a day before Tottenham play their next match, at home against derby rivals Arsenal, and asked about that, Emery said: “Every match is very important.

“Here against Brentford (a 3-3 draw on April 6) we didn’t achieve three points and were disappointed. We used that match to analyse with the players, and I think the reaction of the players was fantastic at Arsenal, and was fantastic as well today.

“I think again the players are showing us their commitment to continue being demanding, to try to keep consistency at the end of the season.”

Emery was also asked about being linked with Bayern Munich, to which the Spaniard replied: “I am focused here, 100 per cent.”

Bournemouth stayed 13th, on 42 points with five games remaining.

The Cherries’ record Premier League points tally for a season is the 46 accrued when finishing ninth under Eddie Howe in 2016-17.

And boss Andoni Iraola said after the Villa game: “I think we have a clear goal right now and that is to beat the points record of Bournemouth.

“I think we can do it, but it’s not going to be easy because we have very difficult games. We play away again against Wolves, then we have Brighton, Arsenal away (also Brentford at home and Chelsea away) – games where if we want to get the points we want, we are going to have to have a very, very good performance. That is what we are looking for.

“Today we couldn’t do it, especially second half, and we need to improve if we want to get that.”

Related items

  • Guardiola: Foden can still get better after Player of the Year award Guardiola: Foden can still get better after Player of the Year award

    Pep Guardiola thinks Phil Foden can still get better, after the 23-year-old winning the Premier League’s Player of the Year.

    Foden has been a pivotal part of City’s title challenge this season, scoring 17 goals and providing eight assists in the top-flight in 2023-24.

    It is the youngster’s most prolific scoring season for City, while only six players have bettered Foden’s goal haul in the Premier League.

    When asked about the strides that Foden has made this season, leading him to the award, Guardiola praised the England international’s influence on the squad.

    "Obviously, he makes a step forward as a football player. In terms of minutes or time, but he's decisive in winning games," Guardiola said.

    "Maybe before it was a glimpse of action, but now it's consistent. That is the truth, but they still have a margin. Sometimes his game is overexcited, it's over, and you have to be more calm because his excitement he has for himself, but we'll have question of time, but this season has been really, really important. Really, really important."

    Foden has bettered his tally of 11 goals from last season and leads City’s squad for chances created this campaign with 68.

    "He's moving forward, but I had the feeling he can be better, and I think he can do it because I've said many times, that he loves football," Guardiola added.

    "He enjoys being on the pitch, and I think the feeling doesn't like when you have the day off.

    "He likes to be in the training session doing less or more and I had the feeling it still can be better."

    Manchester City can win a fourth-consecutive Premier League title on Sunday against West Ham, if they can match or better Arsenal's result.

  • Objectives met: Shabazz pleased with Golden Jaguars' showing despite losses to T&T Objectives met: Shabazz pleased with Golden Jaguars' showing despite losses to T&T

    Despite losing both friendly encounters to Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana senior men’s Head coach Jamaal Shabazz says their objectives were met, as the players that made the trip to the twin island republic gained invaluable experience that will assist to shape their future in the sport.

    The Golden Jaguars lost 1-2 and 0-2 to Angus Eve’s Soca Warriors at the Crawford Stadium, in Port of Spain, but for Shabazz, the fixtures served their purpose of gauging the readiness of players, who competed in recently concluded Round One of the KFC Elite League Season, especially with the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers scheduled to get under way next month.

    “We did not win, but a lot of questions were answered as to who is ready to move into our full international squad. We achieved our other objectives. We got higher level match practice for the likes of Daniel Wilson, Kelsey Benjamin, Curtez Kellman, Colin Nelson and Ryan Hackett, all of whom travel with our first team. We gave valuable exposure to players like Marcus Tudor, Simeon Moore, Chris Macey and Stephen McDonald, just to name a few,” Shabazz shared.

    “It is clear that player for player we were able to match our opponents. Some boys gave a good account of themselves, and some were a bit nervous. Most importantly, the lads would have learnt a few lessons for their future, like the margin for error at international level is small and the need for more composure in front of goal,” he added.

    Aside from those he mentioned, Shabazz also had three overseas-based players from Canada, France and the United States, in his 24-member squad, and by all indications, a few more might be assessed, as the tactician prepares to select his final squad for the qualifiers.

    Guyana will contest Group D of the qualifiers, alongside Panama, Montserrat, Belize and Nicaragua. They are set to open against Panama in Panama City on June 6, followed by the Belize encounter on June 11 in Barbados.

    Shabazz expressed gratitude for the continued support in gifting local-based players the opportunity to showcase their potential, and challenge for spots in the final squad.

    “I must thank the Government of Guyana and the Guyana Football Federation for enabling this exposure for the home-based players. At least twice a year we should get these types of matches for home-based players to develop,” Shabazz noted.

  • Guardiola: Other clubs have a chance to win the title against Man City Guardiola: Other clubs have a chance to win the title against Man City

    Pep Guardiola believes that other clubs do have the chance to win the Premier League while he is the Manchester City manager. 

    Guardiola has led the Citizens to five top-flight titles in his seven seasons in charge, including each of the last three in a row.

    They have the opportunity to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League campaign – they must match or better Arsenal’s result on the final day against West Ham to finish top of the table.

    Asked what he thought about the narrative that suggested other teams struggle to win the title while he is at City, Guardiola immediately brushed the idea aside.

    He said: "It is wrong, look at the margin. If every season I won by 20 points, then I would say yes I am a genius, I'm so good, but it's not.

    "The Premier League we won against Liverpool they could have won. Arsenal can win, we can win. It's like that.

    "My judgement about the team, about how we behave, nothing changed, nothing changed. My opinion of Liverpool this year has not changed, whether they have won or not won.

    "I know here there is just a prize for the winners and the winners smell good and everyone won a copy and everything, but it's not.

    "It's not the case because behind of arriving here in the last press conference of the season before the last game of the Premier League there are a lot of work, like Liverpool was and Arsenal have been this season."

    Guardiola was also quick to highlight the hard work of everybody at the club during their title challenge.

    "It's not because of what we have done in the past gives you this season, it's completely the opposite," he continued. 

    "There are a lot of work for all departments. How many my backroom staff, the medical department, the physio department, how they care all the seasons, every single few, few injuries.

    "Injuries are always there, but the balance is ridiculous, how good it is, and that's because there is a lot of work, they care about the players and the people, you know, every single day, hours and hours being above the players, you have to do this, you have to do this, you have to do this to be fit. So otherwise, we cannot be where we are."

    The City manager was also asked about his future at the club, and whether he would be continuing past the end of the season.

    "Yeah, I have a contract. I want to be here next season, yes," he added. 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.