Aston Villa’s first Premier League home game in three years ended in defeat on Saturday, as Bournemouth came to Villa Park and edged a 2-1 victory.
A penalty from Josh King and long range strike from Harry Wilson put the visitors in control, and while Douglas Luiz scored to give the hosts hope 20 minutes from time, Eddie Howe’s Cherries escaped with maximum points.
Check out our breakdown of the game below.
Key Talking Point
For the first time in 1197 days of exile, Villa Park would host to a Premier League fixture and the Villa fans were anticipating a suitable result to mark their return to the big time.
106 seasons of top flight football, we’re Aston Villa, and we’re home.
UP THE VILLA!!! pic.twitter.com/0Rwm081yyM
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) August 17, 2019
However the party atmosphere was well and truly dampened early on as Villa were dealt another sobering top flight lesson. Dean Smith’s men were chasing shadows for the opening 25 minutes, and were limited to speculative efforts on goal.
The Villa fans were buoyed as the players responded to their sluggish start. The home side dominated in the second half. Douglas’s Luiz’s screamer on 71 minutes got the party started again as the home side redoubled their efforts in search of their first Premier League points.
Aston Villa Player Ratings
Starting XI: Heaton (4); Elmohamady (5), Engles (5); Mings (6); Taylor (6); McGinn; (6) Douglas (7); Grealish (8); Hassan (5); Moraes (5); El Ghazi (6)
Substitutes; Jota (5) Davies (N/A)
Aston Villa Star Man
Jack Grealish was as the heart of everything positive by Villa on Saturday. In a combative midfield, Grealish carried the ball out so well for his boyhood club. He dictated wave after wave of Villa attacks in the second half.
The only blemish for Grealish was an almighty miss at the Holte End. The midfielder is not known for his heading ability, but he allowed a huge chance to pass him by with the goal at his mercy. It would have been a perfect moment to cap off a lively display for the local lad.
Key Talking Point
It’s never too early in a season for an injury crisis is it? Eddie Howe was without six first team players going in to this match, including last season’s young player of year David Brooks who is expected to be sidelined until October at the earliest.
New summer signing Arnaut Danjuma missed out for a second successive week but at least Howe was able to pick on-loan Liverpool winger Wilson in his starting XI for the first time.
Despite their depleted numbers, the Cherries took the game to Villa. Their athleticism and snappy one-touch play had Villa reeling and on the ropes. The visitors got their rewards with two early goals that stunned their hosts.
Bournemouth Player Ratings
Starting XI: Ramsdale; (6) Smith; (7) Cook (8); Ake; (7) Daniels; (6) Wilson;(6) Lerma(7) Billing (7), Fraser (6); King (7); Wilson; (6)
Substitutes; Surman (6) Solanke (5)
Bournemouth Star Man
Steve Cook was outstanding in the Bournemouth rear guard all day long. The experienced defender was a strong head on every direct ball swung in to the Cherries box.
Howe would have delighted to see his defender leading by example particularly during a busy second-half for the away side. Bournemouth shipped 45 goals on their travels last season and while they left Villa Park without a clean sheet, their travelling supporters will be delighted by a more determined and dogged defensive display.
Villa will hope to bounce back with another home game against Marco Silva’s Everton next week. Dean Smith’s men will need to keep focusing on the positives as they look for their first points of the season.
For Bournemouth, next up it’s only the Champions at home. Eddie Howe will hope to be able to call on more of his first team regulars as they look to continue their bright start to the new season against Manchester City, which should be an easy one for them…