By Phil Medlicott, PA
Aston Villa registered a third win in four Premier League games as they beat Bournemouth 3-0 at home courtesy of goals from Douglas Luiz, Jacob Ramsey and Emiliano Buendia.
Luiz finished from close range to put Villa ahead in the seventh minute before Ramsey and Buendia added further goals in the last 10 minutes.
Bournemouth had gone close to equalising just past the hour mark through a Philip Billing free-kick that was saved in fine style by Emiliano Martinez.
Having extended their unbeaten run, adding to the wins over Everton and Crystal Palace and a draw at West Ham, Unai Emery’s Villa moved up to 10th in the Premier League table ahead of the late game involving Chelsea.
Gary O’Neil’s Bournemouth, meanwhile, slipped a place to 19th, a point adrift of safety, having failed to further boost their survival bid after the surprise 1-0 win over Liverpool last weekend.
Something for Cherries fans to cheer was David Brooks coming on in the 79th minute for his first appearance since being diagnosed with cancer in October 2021, a moment that brought applause all around Villa Park.
Villa made a lively start and grabbed the lead when Ollie Watkins’ shot bounced off Jack Stephens and the ball went to Leon Bailey, who delivered a cut-back from the right for Luiz to send a simple finish past Neto from inside the six-yard box.
There was a scare for the hosts soon after as skipper John McGinn miscued an attempted pass to Ezri Konsa at the back and Jaidon Anthony slid in to intercept, but he could not direct the ball on target, and the same applied to Billing with a headed effort moments later.
The goalkeepers were then called into action at both ends, Dominic Solanke’s low strike being turned behind by Martinez before Watkins, played in by Buendia, saw his dinked attempt well blocked by Neto.
As Villa continued to push for a second, Ramsey put one shot wide, then struck another that went just over the bar via hitting Stephens’ arm – a VAR check for handball ensued but no penalty was given.
Early in the second half Neto saved a firm Alex Moreno strike and a low drive from Watkins, then dealt with a Luiz header.
O’Neil reacted by making a double substitution just before the hour, and the visitors then went close to drawing level as Billing’s free-kick was superbly tipped over by Martinez.
Solanke fired into Villa’s side-netting in the 70th minute, and had another chance two minutes later but was thwarted by a fine intervention by ex-Bournemouth man Tyrone Mings.
There was then a special moment as Brooks made his long-awaited return to action, something warmly greeted by both sets of fans, before Ramsey made it 2-0, getting the better of Stephens and slotting in with 10 minutes left.
Villa remained on the front foot and after Neto again did well to deny Watkins – looking for a seventh goal in eight Villa appearances after being left out of the England squad this week – and Mings, Buendia headed home number three following a corner in the 89th minute.