Eddie Howe’s high-flying Bournemouth will arrive in Birmingham knowing they scored more goals in just one visit to the city than their hosts have at home all season.
Aston Villa’s recent struggles in front of goal have been well documented but it will be no more evident than when the Cherries come to Villa Park, a ground where Paul Lambert’s side have scored just seven goals this term – compared to the eight Bournemouth scored when they thumped Birmingham City at St Andrew’s in late October.
Howe’s team slipped up at Leeds in midweek, losing 1-0 thanks to Luke Murphy’s impressive strike, but the South Coast side remain atop the Championship by a point. The defeat was their first on the road in ten games.
Sunday afternoon’s clash will be the first time these teams have met in the FA Cup and Lambert will be keen to silence his many critics with a morale-boosting victory over lower league opposition. Villa have won just once in their last eight matches in all competitions and may see new signing Carles Gil make his debut. The Villans are hoping the 22-year-old Spanish midfielder, bought from Valencia for £3.2million, can inject some much-needed creativity to the side.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Bournemouth 1 Aston Villa 2 (Daley, Platt), Division Two, March 1988
Aston Villa 1 (Walters) Bournemouth 1, Division Two, October 1987
Aston Villa 2 (Vowden, Lochhead) Bournemouth 1, Division Three, February 1972
Aston Villa and Bournemouth have never met in the FA Cup
Eddie Howe’s team have scored more goals in Birmingham this year (8) than Villa (7)
Bournemouth have not reached the FA Cup fifth round since the 1988/89 season
Villa have been knocked out by lower league opposition in each of their last two seasons
Aston Villa to win: 2.45
Bournemouth to win: 3.1
TV: Live on BT Sport 1 at 5.30pm, highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm.