Aston Villa can finally be put out of their misery and see their relegation confirmed this weekend, which sees them take to the field against a Bournemouth side that is hoping to hit back from successive heavy defeats.
After claiming victory away to the Cherries on the opening day of the season, only two more have followed for Aston Villa and two managers have departed, so for most of the season it has been a case of when rather than if their inevitable demotion to the second tier will be rubber stamped. Regardless of whether it happens or not on Saturday, they will be greeted with hostility by their own supporters, who did not hold back in their vitriol during the last game against Chelsea.
Once they conceded the first goal, it became embarrassing yet again for the West Midlands club as the lack of intensity from the players led to their opponents cantering to the three points. The game turned into something of a sideshow as the banners and placards multiplied in the stands, and it is likely to be a similar story here, where Eric Black remains in charge of the team. Meanwhile, the recent high-profile additions to the boardroom will be looking on, continuing to ponder how to get this great club back on track.
While they have come up against tough opposition on both occasions, Bournemouth have performed a long way below the standards they have set for themselves in losing their last two matches as seven goals have been conceded without reply. Eddie Howe will be demanding better from his team, who were completely outplayed from the start in their last outing against Manchester City and were any chance of coming away with a result disappeared within the first quarter of the game.
This kind of fixture should suit them better as they have claimed a number of good results on the road against sides in the bottom half of the Premier League, and if they can get an early goal it should turn into a straightforward afternoon. Max Gradel is likely to be their biggest threat on the day, as he looks to build on the encouraging form he has shown since coming back from a long-term injury against a lightweight Villa backline.
Gabriel Agbonlahor is no longer suspended by Aston Villa, but misses this one due to a virus. Alan Hutton is absent after being sent off against Chelsea, but Ciaran Clark is back from injury.
Striker Benik Afobe is out for Bournemouth along with Harry Arter, while Adam Smith is a major doubt as he is suffering from a hernia problem.
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