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Bournemouth 2 Aston Villa 0 - Report

Opening day history repeated itself for Aston Villa as their Premier League campaign got off to a losing start at the hands of a fired-up newly-promoted side this afternoon.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard (centre) during the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Picture date: Saturday August 6, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Bournemouth. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire...RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications..
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard (centre) during the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Picture date: Saturday August 6, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Bournemouth. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire...RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications..

For Watford last season read Bournemouth this, as the Cherries marked their top-flight return with three points and left Steven Gerrard’s team reflecting on a frustrating afternoon where they struggled to click into gear.

Villa made the worst possible start when Jefferson Lerma’s deflected shot opened the scoring in the second minute giving the Cherries something to hang onto and licence to make it difficult for the visitors.

Villa huffed and puffed but never really showed the creativity to break down the Bournemouth rearguard and, while there were half chances at both ends, it was Kieffer Moore who showed the clinical edge to seal the points with a powering header ten minutes from time.

Villa will reflect on having plenty of possession especially following a tactical reshuffle in the second half but without once being able to fully exert Mark Travers in the Bournemouth goal.

REPORT

Gerrard named two Villa debutants in his starting line-up, with Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara making their Premier League bows.

Ezri Konsa got the nod alongside Carlos at centre back, with Danny Ings preferred up top to Ollie Watkins.

Cameron Archer, fresh from putting pen to paper on a new five-year contract, was named among the substitutes.

But with just two minutes on the clock, the season got off to the worst possible start as the Cherries took the lead.

Villa failed to clear a corner and the ball dropped invitingly for Lerma to step up and smash it through a sea of bodies and, via a deflection, into the net.

Villa tried to mount an immediate response with Philippe Coutinho trying to find Leon Bailey’s run inside and Ings latching onto the loose ball to hit a half volley over the bar.

Ings then found space down the right and his cross was deflected wide for a corner from which Carlos got a slight touch but was unable to divert it goalwards.

The early disappointment had certainly stunned Villa into action and Ings then found another decent position before hitting a left foot shot which was comfortable for Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers.

But the visitors were looking in all sorts of trouble at the back and Moore found space at the end of a Bournemouth attack to produce a powerful shot which Emi Martinez had to beat away.

It had been a frenetic start, including several lively challenges, but as the game started to settle John McGinn flashed an effort over from just outside the box.

Lucas Digne then sent in a decent first time cross from the left which was met by Ings with a header which Travers was able to watch over the bar.

An intricate Villa corner routine then saw the ball passed between several players before a low first-time drive from Jacob Ramsey which Travers clawed away.

Yet barely seconds later Bournemouth went close again with Adam Smith’s low cross just too far in front of the arriving Moore to let Villa off the hook.

Signs of Villa frustration were growing and Ings became the first name into the referee’s notebook after scything down Cherries’ debutant Marcus Tavernier.

As half time loomed into view Villa started to enjoy some territorial domination and were camped inside the Bournemouth half but the home side were mounting a spirited rearguard action and the passage of pressure came to an end as Travers came out to collect a deep Matty Cash cross.

Smith was then the first Bournemouth player to be showed a yellow card for a late challenge on Digne and Villa continued to press but Ramsey sliced his effort off target from a decent position.

Kamara was felled by a late challenge from Ben Pearson who earned a booking in what had been a fairly feisty opening 45 minutes, and Ramsey soon followed after pulling back the same Bournemouth player.

And that proved to be Ramsey’s last action of the afternoon as he was replaced at half time by Emiliano Buendia, the Argentinian joining Coutinho and Bailey in behind Ings with Kamara and McGinn as the two sitting midfielders.

Villa started the second half on the front foot to shouts of ‘better’ from Gerrard on the bench, and the travelling fans were also raising the noise levels to help their team push for an equaliser.

But a sign of how it had been going for Villa during the game so far came when trying a free kick routine and Coutinho’s through pass was too strong for Bailey and arrowed straight out of play.

Still Villa tried to press and McGinn’s impressive crossfield pass was headed into the danger zone by Digne only for a Bournemouth defender to clear before Carlos tried an ambitious shot from distance which was well wide.

Kamara then caught his shot sweetly only to see it also finish up wide before a second Villa change midway through the half with Watkins on for Ings.

Konsa needed to have his wits about him to block an effort from Dominic Solanke before Philip Billing went into the book for a foul on Cash.

For all their possession Villa were struggling to make any sort of sustained impact where it mattered and were made to pay ten minutes from time.

Lloyd Kelly picked up a loose ball out on the right and, from his deep cross, Moore had time to direct his pinpoint header back across goal and beyond Martinez to make it two.

Gerrard responded by sending on Archer and Douglas Luiz and while Villa continued to enjoy more of the pressure in the remaining minutes they did so once again without overly threatening the Bournemouth goal.

TEAMS

Bournemouth (3-4-3): Travers; Kelly, Mepham, Lerma; Smith, Billing, Pearson (Cook 71), Zemura; Tavernier (Christie 86), Moore, Solanke (Stanislas 90+5).

Subs not used: Dennis (GK), Marcondes, Stacey, Dembele, Hill, Anthony.

Goals: Lerma (2), Moore (80).

Villa (4-3-3): Martínez; Cash, Konsa, Carlos, Digne; McGinn, Kamara (Archer 81), Ramsey (Buendia 45); Bailey, Ings (Watkins 66), Coutinho (Luiz 81).

Subs not used: Olsen (GK), Mings, Chambers, Augustinsson, Young.

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