By Sam Stone

19th Mar, 2023 | 2:30pm

Dion Dublin view spot on as 71% John McGinn Aston Villa stat emerges v Bournemouth

Well, that was another day to remember for Unai Emery and Aston Villa as Bournemouth became the latest team to be brushed aside at Villa Park.

Goals from Douglas Luiz, Jacob Ramsey and Emi Buendia were enough for the Villans to secure a 3-0 win on Saturday afternoon (18 March) and move level on points with Chelsea in the Premier League standings.

Considering the dire state the club was in when Steven Gerrard was at the helm, it’s been a remarkable turnaround by the Spaniard. Villa’s good form and John McGinn in particular were praised by Dion Dublin on BBC’s Match of the Day on Saturday night.

“Villa were great, they were positive, they were direct, they had lots of pace. There are a couple of clips of them being very positive,” said Dublin (Match of the Day, 58m 45s, 18 March).

“That’s just pure strength from McGinn, who took charge of that midfield today. He took everything forward and played it forward as much as possible.”

The former Villa frontman is spot on in his assessment of McGinn. The Scotland international has been immense since the arrival of Emery, having operated in a number of different positions across the midfield. During the win over the Cherries, McGinn was once again deployed in a deeper lying role alongside Luiz, to deputise for the injured Boubacar Kamara.

When operating in a defensive midfield role, winning duels is a requirement and McGinn slotted in superbly alongside the everpresent Brazilian.

Dublin referred to McGinn as “pure strength” and that’s backed up by the statistics. According to Wyscout, the 28-year-old won five out of his seven offensive duels (71 per cent success rate) against Gary O’Neil’s side. An offensive duel is a player using his body to protect the ball from an opponent and McGinn is the master.

On Saturday afternoon his ability to hold onto the ball was at its very best, with his success rate being nearly 25 per cent higher than his 2022/23 season’s average. Furthermore, his overall due success rate of 53 per cent was in line with his average for the campaign.

Dublin also referred to Villa’s directness during the 3-0 win on Saturday. On the face of it, the word “direct” can hold negative connotations for fans. Longer passing into a big target man springs to mind. However, Villa don’t have a natural target man. Ollie Watkins holds the ball up well, but he’s far more effective pulling out wide and looking to get in behind.

Villa’s directness came due to their vertical passing. Emery’s side managed 33 long passes, 128 forward passes and 24 passes into the final third. These numbers are actually below their season’s average, however, the difference came down to their success rate.

Over the course of the season, their average success rate for those passing metrics is 63 per cent. Against Bournemouth, it was 83 per cent. Essentially, they were playing better-quality vertical and progressive passes into their dangermen.

McGinn was once again at the heart of this. The midfielder completed all of his attempted longer passes, played two successful balls into the final third and completed 11/12 forward passes. It was a complete display from the 28-year-old, who is now one of the first names on the team sheet.

The international break has come at a bad time. Emery’s men are in good form and could well have a distant eye on the European places. Much will depend on their next Premier League fixture against Chelsea. Graham Potter’s side have started to get going in recent weeks and sit level on points with the Villans.

A win at Stamford Bridge will certainly have the Aston Villa faithful dreaming of a European tour.

In other Aston Villa news, Dan Bardell admits one Villa loanee has “no pathway” under Unai Emery, with a recent signing being the final blow.