By Sam Stone

15th Mar, 2023 | 5:40pm

Aston Villa predicted XI v Bournemouth: Leon Bailey axed, Ashley Young to return

Aston Villa host Bournemouth on Saturday (18 March) looking to make it four Premier League matches without defeat.

Unai Emery’s side secured a hard-fought point against West Ham United on Sunday (12 March) and are now within four points of the European places.

There have been a number of standout performances in recent weeks and we don’t anticipate the Spaniard to alter his starting lineup significantly against the Cherries.

One move we can see the Villa boss making is withdrawing Leon Bailey. The inconsistent Jamaican has endured a tough time of late and this was evident at the London Stadium.

According to Whoscored, the 25-year-old failed to register a shot on target or one successful dribble at West Ham. He also lost the ball three times against the Hammers – more than any Aston Villa player. It was a day to forget for the winger and we could potentially see Bertrand Traoré being handed a start due to Philippe Coutinho currently being out injured.

The Burkina Faso international replaced Bailey against West Ham and made a relatively positive impact on his return to the side. The 27-year-old managed one shot, one key pass and one dribble in his 27-minute cameo, which certainly matches Bailey’s impact.

Elsewhere, Ollie Watkins will almost certainly start up front. The 27-year-old has netted in six of his last seven games and is in some of the best goalscoring form of his career. During this fine spell, Watkins’ finishing has massively improved. Against West Ham, for example, he managed four shots with a 75 per cent accuracy rate.

Jacob Ramsey and Emi Buendia are predicted to make up the rest of the attacking midfield having both started on Sunday. Ramsey looked somewhere near his old self at the London Stadium, completing three key passes against David Moyes’ men. Buendia was at the heart of some second-half controversy, but couldn’t quite impact the game in the way he would’ve wanted.

John McGinn and Douglas Luiz could make up the defensive midfield pairing with Boubacar Kamara currently out injured. If the Frenchman doesn’t return, McGinn will be the man Emery turns to. The Scot was full of running at the weekend and managed 67 touches of the ball.

One other change we could envisage is in the right-back role. Matty Cash endured a tough time against Said Benrahma and failed to make one tackle against the Hammers. Emery hasn’t been afraid to throw Ashley Young into the fray and we could see the veteran return to the starting eleven.

Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings were, once again, superb. Mings managed six clearances and won 100 per cent of his aerial duels. The duo will almost certainly start against Bournemouth.

We also anticipate Alex Moreno to keep his place after his impressive attacking display at the weekend. He produced a wonderful cross for Watkins’ opener and completed more key passes and dribbles than any Villa player. It was a strange move from Emery to replace him early on in the second half. To finish off the lineup, we anticipate Emi Martinez to keep his place in goal, despite a few shakey moments at the London Stadium.

A win for Villa could see them leapfrog Chelse and finish the day in 10th position.

In other Aston Villa news, Hutton has reacted to a controversial incident in the draw at West Ham.