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Aston Villa 1 Bournemouth 2 - Report and pictures

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Villa paid the price for a nightmare start as they lost their Premier League home opener to Bournemouth.

Dean Smith’s men conceded twice inside the opening 12 minutes as Josh King - from the penalty spot - and Harry Wilson put the Cherries in command.

Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz scored a spectacular goal on his home debut to bring Villa back into it, with 19 minutes to go.

But the hosts were unable to find a leveller, meaning they remain without a point two games into the season.

Analysis

Smith will feel his team were worthy of at least a draw after they created a host of openings, in the first top flight match at Villa Park since May 2016.

But ultimately they were unable to overcome their dreadful start, which saw Bournemouth awarded a penalty after just 43 seconds when Tom Heaton, one of several players making their home debuts, brought down Callum Wilson in the box.

Luiz was then guilty of losing possession to Wilson, whose long-range shot took a huge deflection off Tyrone Mings before going in off the post.

Villa created a number of chances after that but it required a stunning strike from Luiz for them to get on the scoresheet.

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The performance was not without positives but it is the naivety of a team, in which several players are learning about the Premier League for the first time, which remains a concern.

Luiz, who had made a late substitute appearance off the bench in last weekend’s defeat to Tottenham, replaced Conor Hourihane in the only change to Villa’s line-up.

With six huge flags being waved in front of the Holte End as the teams emerged on to the pitch, the match began with a carnival atmosphere inside Villa Park.

It quickly dissipated, however, as the hosts almost immediately handed the initiative to their opponents.

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There seemed to be confusion over who was dealing with a ball into the box and when Wilson nipped in front of Heaton, the keeper could not withdraw his foot in time and sent the striker tumbling over.

King made no mistake from the spot, striking his penalty to the left as Heaton dived to the right.

Villa, in truth, responded well to the early setback, John McGinn hitting a 25-yard drive which Cherries keeper Aaron Ramsdale was forced to tip over the bar.

But on 12 minutes Villa dug their hole a little deeper. Looking to play out from the back, Luiz dummied a pass from Trezeguet straight into the path of Wilson, whose left-footed shot from 25 yards out took a huge deflection off Mings and went in off the post.

It was a huge dose of fortune for the visitors but when the luck fell Villa’s way soon after, and Charlie Daniels knocked a Mings long ball straight into the path of McGinn, the Scot hit his shot too close to Ramsdale.

The Cherries keeper also pushed a deflected Wesley effort wide before, in stoppage time, saving with his legs to deny Trezeguet at close as Villa pushed for a breakthrough.

At times there was plenty to admire about their attacking play but their naivety in defence almost gifted Bournemouth a third before the break.

Again Luiz was guilty of giving away possession cheaply, only this time Heaton denied Wilson with a fine one-handed save.

The Cherries were perhaps lucky to finish the half with their full compliment of players, with Philip Billing treading a painfully thin line.

Having been booked for persistent fouling, the former Huddersfield man had within a minute slid late into Grealish.

But referee Martin Atkinson did not even award a foul, while the official also decided not to show a second yellow card when Billing committed two further fouls before the break. It came as no surprise to see him replaced by Andrew Surman for the second half.

Villa Park saw its first VAR check early in the second period when Wesley tumbled under pressure from Ramsdale but the video officials deemed no penalty should be awarded.

Grealish then shot just wide of goal, after McGinn had taken a quick free-kick, before Neil Taylor saw a shot blocked by Steve Cook as the hosts continued to ramp up the pressure.

Their best chance of the match to that point then arguably fell to Grealish but under pressure he headed Ahmed Elmohamady’s dipping cross over the bar.

When Villa’s goal finally arrived, it did so in spectacular fashion. Luiz received the ball 25 yards from goal and took advantage of time and space to curl a superb shot into the top corner and bring Villa Park bursting back to life.

Smith introduced Jota off the bench and the Spaniard produced a teasing cross for McGinn but the midfielder could not get his header on target.

With Villa committing more and more men forward, Ryan Fraser then had a chance to seal the points for Bournemouth but shot weakly at Heaton after running from inside his own half.

Key Moments

2 - GOAL - Villa make the worst possible start as Tom Heaton brings down Callum Wilson in the box and Joshua King sends the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.

12 - GOAL - Villa’s afternoon gets worse as Douglas Luiz dummies the ball straight into the path of Harry Wilson, whose shot from 25 yards takes a huge deflection off Tyrone Mings and gives Heaton no chance.

71 - GOAL - Douglas Luiz pulls Villa back into it, curling home a superb 25-yard effort into the top corner.

Teams

Villa (4-3-3): Heaton, Elmohamady, Engels, Mings, Taylor, McGinn, Luiz, Grealish, Trezeguet (Davis 87), Wesley, El Ghazi (Jota 75) Subs not used: Targett, Konsa, Lansbury, Hourihane, Steer (gk).

Bournemouth (4-4-2): Ramsdale, Smith, Cook ©, Ake, Daniels, Wilson, Billing (Surman HT), Lerma, Fraser, Wilson (Solanke 76), King Subs not used: Ibe, Stacey, Rico, Mepham, Boruc (gk).

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
Football MMPJ - @mjmarr_star

Sports journalist for the Express & Star

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