Villa stars detail how Unai Emery has led incredible turnaround
Speaking exclusively to ProSoccerTalk ahead of the final game of the season, Aston Villa and Brazil midfielder Douglas Luiz hailed the impact of Unai Emery and his staff.
Luiz was just named Aston Villa’s Supporters’ Player and Players’ Player of the Season and he pointed to Emery’s experience and ability as a man manager as to why Villa are on the brink of a remarkable return to Europe.
“I think all of the players believe in him and his job,” Luiz explained. “He’s done so good and we believe in his work. We train hard everyday and this is the difference because he has so much experience in the big clubs. We are so happy to have Unai… He has helped me so much because I need a coach who believes in me, my position. He did this and has given me everything I need to perform. I am so happy to have Unai on my side.”
Happiness was a clear theme from talking to Villa’s players about this incredible turnaround and like Luiz, Jamaican winger Leon Bailey has become an integral part of Emery’s new-look side since he arrived from Villarreal in November.
Bailey shared similar praise of Emery as he hailed the clarity the Spanish coach gives his players so they can then go out onto the pitch and express themselves.
“Everybody is enjoying it from the goalkeeper to the striker,” Bailey smiled. “The clarity is just there and once you are on the pitch and you have clarity, it means you don’t have to think too much. You already know what to do. It gives you a clear and free mind to deliver, show your ability and not overthink it and I think this is why the players have been able to take the next step. It has been really great playing under the gaffer. It can only get better from here.”
That last line from Bailey sums up how anyone who has watched Aston Villa recently feels: as long as Unai Emery is the manager, there is a lot more still to come from this talented, well-drilled and balanced squad.
European qualification or not, this Villa side is ready to compete for a top six finish next season.
Harry Kane scored 30 goals on the season and finished six goals behind the Golden Boot winner, as an attack-heavy Premier League season saw Manchester City’s Erling Haaland rewrite the single-season goals record book.
No one’s ever scored more goals in a 38-game Premier League season than Manchester City’s Erling Haaland did this season when he bagged 36 in his first season in the competition.
Haaland surpassed the record set by Newcastle’s Andy Cole and Blackburn’s Alan Shearer, who each bagged 34 goals during 42-game seasons.
There was something somewhat dull about knowing the identity of the 2022 Golden Boot winner, the lone curiosity being the final number of his final tally, we get it, but most of what Haaland did this season was simply marvelous and to be admired without much fear.
Haaland piled up 20 goals in a single Premier League season faster than any player in history… by seven games (Kevin Phillips of Sunderland did it in 21). Now he’s beaten Phillips’ record for most goals in a debut Premier League season.
He passed Salah and could’ve found his way to 40 if City wasn’t focused on keeping his prepared for big games in other competitions.
Haaland did not hit 40 goals, but the Premier League record is his and no one’s going to say 40’s impossible in the future.
Haaland nearly toppled the record for goal involvements (goals plus assists) in a single season, including beating the 42-game record. Alan Shearer put up 47 over 42, while Thierry Henry holds the 38-game record with 44.
He also broke Phillips’ record of goals in a first Premier League season when he bagged his 31st of the season versus Leicester City on April 15.
Read on to see the latest Premier League goal totals for the 2022-23 season, as Haaland looks to claim a Golden Boot in his first PL season.
Manchester City (89 points – 1st place) opted for a largely rotated side, with seven non-regular starters getting the nod on Sunday, with one eye focused on next Saturday’s FA Cup final vs Manchester United — the second of three trophies on offer for Pep Guardiola’s side to end the season.
It was a long wait for the game’s only goal, but the Brentford fans got to celebrate once more as they closed out a brilliant second season in the top flight. Bryan Mbeumo laid the ball back to Ethan Pinnock, who came streaking into the penalty area completely unmarked. Pinnock guided a low strike out of Ederson’s reach to secure victory no. 15 on the Bees’ season.
Due to Aston Villa and Tottenham both winning above them, Brentford narrowly miss out on the Europa Conference League.
85th minute – Ethan Pinnock pops up to score a late Brentford winner
How to watch Brentford vs Manchester City live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 11:30am ET, Sunday TV Channel: Peacock Online: Stream via Peacock Premium
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Bryan Mbeumo scored twice and set up Brentford’s other goal in the win against Spurs and he is really stepping up in the absence of Toney. With Wissa and Schade also impressing in attack, Thomas Frank’s side may be able to cope with Toney suspended until January 2024.
Manchester City rotated their lineup heavily once again against Brighton and the likes of Phil Foden, Rico Lewis and Stefan Ortega all impressed. Expect to see the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Ruben Dias and Julian Alvarez rotated back into the lineup.
Brentford team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Christian Norgaard (achilles), Pontus Jansson (hamstring), Keane Lewis-Potter (knee), Ivan Toney (suspension)
At half time the Toffees were being relegated for the first time in the PL era and their hopes of extending their incredible top-flight active streak to 70-straight seasons were in real danger. Goodison was full of boos and images of doom.
But Doucoure smashed home a stunning goal in the second half to send Goodison Park wild as Bournemouth pushed hard for an equalizer late on but Everton held on and got the win they needed to stay up.
They were set up with five at the back from the start and it was too negative. Dyche got it right though. All they needed was one loose ball to drop to the right onrushing central midfielder and it did in the second half as Doucoure hammered home. It was a brilliant finish in what wasn’t a brilliant game. But Everton and Dyche don’t care. With loads of injuries they found a way to get it done and the history books show that Everton have still never been relegated from the Premier League and only Arsenal have a longer active top-flight streak as they will be playing at England’s top table next season, their 70th consecutive at the top level. Off the pitch there are financial issues to solve which could impact them next season but Dyche has done his job and if Everton are smart they should give him the tools to rip things up and rebuild the squad. Just staying up like this can’t happen again to Everton. They said that last season but look what happened. This time they have to make sure they are never in the relegation scrap again. A club of Everton’s size should never be in this situation.
Stars of the show; Everton vs Bournemouth player ratings
Abdoulaye Doucoure: Scored a beauty to be the hero and was brilliant in midfield.
Mark Travers: Made some really good punches and clearances.
Alex Iwobi: Showed real leadership and character to dig in deep. Brilliant.
James Tarkowski: A man mountain at the back, clearing everything Bournemouth chucked at Everton late on.
How to watch Everton vs Bournemouth live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 11:30am ET, Sunday TV Channel: USA Network Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Everton vs Bournemouth live analysis! – By Joe Prince-Wright at Goodison Park
THEY HAVE DONE IT! EVERTON HAVE SURVIVED! FULL TIME: EVERTON 1-0 BOURNEMOUTH – It is party time here at Goodison.
SAVE! Jordan Pickford makes a fine save to deny a volley from Vina.
10 minutes of stoppage time. 10!
Bournemouth have a free kick as the clock ticks into the 90th minute…
Everton are doing their best to hang out but they are dropping deep. Bournemouth having a go. After Pickford was down for a wild getting treatment, there will be a lot of stoppage time.
GOALLLL! Everton 1-0 Bournemouth – Goodison Park has gone bonkers. Abdoulaye Doucoure smashes home a stunner to put the Toffees ahead.
ABDOULAYE DOUCOURE BLOWS THE ROOF OFF AT GOODISON PARK!
BLOCK! What a block from Yerry Mina after Bournemouth made the most of some poor Everton defending. Excellent from David Brooks there.
You get the sense things were very defensive from the start from Sean Dyche as he stated with a back five.
CLOSE! Senesi squirms a shot wide of the far post after Bournemouth cause havoc in the box. The atmosphere is very, very quite here.
First, as it stands of today – Leicester City have gone 1-0 up against West Ham. With Everton drawing here at Goodison against Bournemouth, that means the Toffees are going down. Chants of “going down, going down!” from the Bournemouth fans in the away end. Everton’s fans are stunned.
BIG CHANCEEE! Idrissa Gana Gueye is played in but his shot is tipped over. Should be 1-0 to Everton. Moments later Travers tips away a shot from distance
A cross is whipped into the box but there isn’t an Everton player anywhere near it. Huge roars of discontent from the home fans. They want more attacking intent from their team.
The home fans are driving their team on. Everton seeing a lot of the ball but it is mostly from wide positions.
Demarai Gray with a half chance as he wriggles free but his shot/cross is cleared at the near post.
KICK OFF! We are underway and it has been a tense start. Everton’s fans are urging their team on but they’re in a back five. Bournemouth have had some good chances to whip it in from the right but the quality hasn’t been there on the final ball.
🔥🔥🔥 WHAT AN ATMOSPHERE! Welcome to Goodison Park. It is so loud here.
The nerves continue to build here at Goodison. 45 minutes until kick off. Everton fans just want to get this started. This has to be excruciating for them. Meanwhile in the away end the Bournemouth fans are having a lovely time in the sun. Completely opposite atmosphere.
As we sit in the press box in the main stand at Goodison, you can hear a wall of noise approaching the stadium from every angle. Great atmosphere building here.
Team news is out and there are two changes for Everton as Conor Coady comes in for the injured Nathan Patterson. Demarai Gray starts up top in place of the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Looks like Coady is at right back and McNeil is at left back. Bournemouth are without captain and star goalkeeper Neto who misses out due to personal reasons.
Hello and welcome to Goodison Park, where the nerves are jangling, the sun is shining and the flares are plentiful! The equation is simple for Everton: win and they will stay up. Lose or draw and their safety is out of their hands. Get ready for an intense few hours.
😬🔵☀️Welcome to Goodison Park!
Where the nerves are jangling, the sun is shining and the flares are plentiful.
Everton have really been through it with injuries in recent weeks and the fact that Calvert-Lewin is once again struggling means that Dyche may play without a recognized striker on the final day. Defensively they have issues at full back but they have hung in there and the home crowd has inspired them on several occasions as they are within one win of safety.
Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto has been exceptional, so too has Dominic Solanke and Dango Ouattara at the other end of the pitch as there has been a really nice balance about the Cherries over the last few months as they stayed up without much stress in the end. In the reverse game in November Bournemouth beat Everton 3-0 to spark ugly scenes in the away end as the Everton fans turned on their players and demanded and were hugely disappointed with the display.
Everton team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Seamus Coleman (hamstring), Dele Alli (groin), Ruben Vinagre (achilles), Andros Townsend (knee), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (thigh), Nathan Patterson (thigh), Tom Davies (thigh), Vitalii Mykolenko (thigh), Ben Godfrey (groin)
After the break for the 2022 World Cup, the Premier League returned with a bang and the start to 2023 delivered plenty of fun and it continued into the business end of the season.
Manchester City chased down Arsenal to win yet another Premier League title. Manchester United’s new-look side reclaimed a place in the top four, and so did Newcastle. Brighton and Aston Villa surprised by qualifying for Europe, while Liverpool dips into an unusual competition for its recent standards.
Teams were relegated. Managers were sacked. And here’s how the table looked when all was said and done.