Aston Villa claimed their third win in four Premier League games as they cruised past struggling Bournemouth at Villa Park.
Douglas Luiz was picked out by Leon Bailey and swept home from close range early on, before Jacob Ramsey jinked past Jack Stephens to make sure of three points.
Villa added a third when Emi Buendia headed in from a yard out after Tyrone Mings flicked on Luiz’s corner.
While Unai Emery’s side moved into the top half, for a few hours at least, Bournemouth remain in the bottom three after being brought back down to earth following their win over Liverpool last weekend.
Villa were on top from the start and, after Luiz put them in front, they had numerous chances to extend the lead.
Ollie Watkins had the best of the opportunities when he was put through by Buendia, but his dinked effort was kept out by Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto.
The hosts might also have had a penalty six minutes before the break when Ramsey’s goalbound shot was deflected over the bar by the hand of Stephens, but the video assistant referee turned down Villa’s appeals.
Bournemouth’s limited threat came through the pace of their front three, but Dominic Solanke, without a goal in nine matches, lacked conviction when clean through and his hesitation allowed Mings to get back and make the block.
Defeat left Gary O’Neil’s side a point from safety, but there was a major highlight as David Brooks came on to make his first appearance since being diagnosed with cancer in 2021 – 534 days since his last game.
Villa continue to make progress under Emery
When Emery took charge in October, Villa were below Bournemouth in the table. Victory on Saturday means they are now 14 points ahead of them and they looked the superior side throughout.
Even before going in front, Villa looked to have the measure of Bournemouth, with Buendia, flanked by Ramsey and Bailey, finding space between the midfield and defence and looking to feed Watkins.
After the goal, they eased off and allowed Bournemouth back into it, but a couple of scares midway through the half shook them out of their slumber and by the break they were in the ascendancy once more.
Chances were more scarce early in the second period, but Villa always maintained control of the game with Luiz and John McGinn patrolling the middle of the park, and the hosts always looked the more likely to find the game’s second goal.
Ramsey eventually provided it and Villa were able to express themselves for the final 10 minutes, creating chances at will as Watkins came close again and Mings spurned a glorious chance, shooting straight at Neto from seven yards out having been left all alone at the far post.
With 11 games to go and only four points separating sixth and 11th in the table, Villa have the chance to make it an exciting end to the season and push for an unlikely European spot.