Phil Thompson names Jordan Ayew as one positive from Aston Villa's loss to Bournemouth

The 24-year-old striker netted a late consolation goal as Villa fell to a 2-1 defeat on Saturday afternoon to leave them all but relegated with five matches left.

Speaking on Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday, former Liverpool captain Phil Thompson singled out Jordan Ayew’s performance as one of the few positives for Aston Villa to take from Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Bournemouth.

The Cherries took the lead at Villa Park just before half-time through Steve Cook’s close-range finish, before Joshua King doubled their lead in the 74th-minute after taking advantage of a Ciaran Clark error.

Ayew gave the hosts some hope of comeback in the 85th-minute with a well-taken finish, side-stepping a defending before driving the ball past Artur Boruc from the edge of the area, but his strike was not enough to prevent the Premier League’s bottom side from falling to their eighth straight defeat.

Norwich City’s 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace meant they avoided relegation until at least Sunday, but with the club sitting 15 points from safety with five games left, they are virtually guaranteed to be playing Championship football next season.

Very few players have given a good account of themselves during the team’s dismal season, but Ayew has certainly been one of their better performers.

An £8.5 million summer signing from Lorient, the Ghana striker has netted six goals in 25 Premier League appearances during his first campaign in England, while also earning some impressive reviews for his creativity and work rate.

There were times on Saturday when he looked like the only Villa player putting up a fight, and Thompson was quick to hail him as a rare positive for the claret and blues.

“I think until Ayew scored in the 85th-minute, it was the first shot on target that they had," Thompson said after watching the game. "There was a chance missed earlier for Villa where he does brilliant – he’s been the one player that you could say that for.

“He goes along the byline on the right-hand side, rolls it right across and Kieran Richardson’s standing there two yards out, couldn’t even short his feet and the ball literally goes right through his legs.”

On Villa’s overall performance, Thompson added: “They were obviously going to play the game out. The players probably think they’re giving their all, but this was a Bournemouth side that were in second gear and yet still far better than this Villa side.

“You feel sorry for the fans. They found time to give ironic cheers all round, particularly for Guzan. If he just took an easy catch or something, they were all cheering. Lescott was getting hounded and so was Bacuna. They were at them all the time.

“You feel sympathy for this lot. I’m looking at the ground, and what a wonderful stadium it is. They’re going to be playing in the Championship in this ground and they’re going to find it so difficult to get out because everyone’s going to come to play Villa and they’re going to find it just as hard.”

Having Ayew in the Championship would obviously give Villa’s chances of bouncing back to the top-flight at the first of asking a major boost, but given the promise he has shown this season, keeping him beyond the summer will prove a tough ask.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch