At Bournemouth on Sunday, December and match facts

You know when everything is going great, sometimes it quickly isn't and it's often because you just lose focus for a split moment and then it's uphill for a bit before things are back to normal? I've just written that first sentence and realised banana skin is the term I was looking for.

If we're not careful, Bournemouth on Sunday could be a banana skin for us. They've won three of their last six matches and that is the same as Newcastle and Spurs and better than Chelsea.

I'm just writing it, that's all and I don't doubt that we'll go into the game prepared but you just have to be careful of these matches. I guess I'm saying, I'm not taking anything for granted and it will be, like all Premier League matches, a tough one.  

That written, we're flying at the moment so we can be a little confident.

Moving on quickly, I've just seen the fixtures for December and it's a seven in the League and one in Europe. It's a lot of football and more than what we are used to, so I suspect we might see a few changes over this month, a player or two getting a rest for single matches. 

So December is a big test and if we can get through this month fairly unscathed, it should be seen as a positive. If we can get through this month as we have got through the past two, we should be very happy. 

Match facts from the BBC


  • Bournemouth have won four of their six Premier League meetings with Aston Villa. Their win rate of 67% is bettered only by winning 75% of their Premier League games against Huddersfield Town.
  • Villa's 3-0 win in March ended a run of four league defeats in this fixture.


  • Bournemouth have won three of their past four Premier League games, having previously been winless in 13 (D3, L10).
  • They could win three successive top-flight matches in the same season for the first time since March 2016.
  • The Cherries can also equal the club Premier League record of three successive home victories, last set in February 2018.
  • Bournemouth have both scored the fewest (1) and conceded the most (10) goals from set-piece situations in the Premier League this season (including penalties).
  • Dominic Solanke has scored six of Bournemouth's 14 Premier League goals this campaign. He has already equalled his final league goal tally scored in 33 appearances last season.
  • Justin Kluivert's goal against Sheffield United last weekend made him just the second player this century to score in each of the top five European leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France), emulating Stevan Jovetic. The 24-year-old has actually scored goals in six countries, having begun at Ajax.
  • Andoni Iraola and Unai Emery were opposition managers in the 2021-22 La Liga. Emery's Villarreal defeated Iraola's Rayo Vallecano 2-0 at home and 5-1 away (including a goal by Pau Torres).

Aston Villa

  • Aston Villa's tally of 22 Premier League wins in 2023 is bettered only by Manchester City's 26. It is already twice as many victories as Villa managed in 2022, while they last won more in a calendar year as a top-flight club in 1931 (24).
  • They have scored 31 Premier League goals this season, second only to Manchester City's 33. Villa's rate of 2.4 goals per game is their highest across a league season since 1931-32 (2.48).
  • This is the latest stage of a season in which Villa have started a match day in the top four since December 2009, when they lost 3-0 at Arsenal.
  • Unai Emery has the best win rate (63.2%) and highest points-per-game average (2) of any permanent Villa manager in Premier League history.
  • Villa have equalled their highest points tally after 13 matches of a Premier League season: also 28 in 1998-99 under John Gregory, when they drew 2-2 at Nottingham Forest in their 14th league fixture.
  • Villa are the only Premier League club not to have dropped a point from a winning position this season, winning all nine games in which they have led.
  • Ollie Watkins has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last eight league games, scoring seven and assisting three. His 12 total goal involvements this season are the most of any English top-flight player.
  • Watkins has scored 19 Premier League goals in 2023, behind only Erling Haaland (29) and Mohamed Salah (22). It is the second-most Premier League goals by a Villa player in a calendar year, after the 21 scored by Dwight Yorke in 1996.
  • Emery has won 24 of his 38 Premier League games as Villa manager (D5, L9), only one short of his total number of victories in 51 league games in charge of Arsenal (D13, L13).
  • Eight players have started all 13 of Villa's Premier League matches this season, including Boubacar Kamara, who is suspended on Sunday.