Eddie Howe Reckons Villa have Invested Wisely as Cherries Prepare for Historic Match

Bournemouth v Aston Villa 2015

At the end of last season, despite the disappointment of the FA Cup final, there was still a sense of optimism for the season ahead. Villa improved under Sherwood and a first full season with the ex-Tottenham manager at the helm is an exciting prospect.

Benteke’s departure was hardly surprising but Delph’s shock U-turn was a blow for the club. Sherwood will now be presented with another challenge; getting the new acquisitions to gel – and fast.

Thankfully most Villa fans are still confident we’ll have a decent campaign, and some have boldly uttered that we could be the surprise package in the league. Whatever you think about our chances this season, a trip away to Bournemouth is a pretty difficult start…

Who knows, if Eddie Howe had put out his first xi against Villa in the FA Cup last season, Villa’s FA Cup adventure could have been derailed before it hit its stride.

last season, bournemouth scored 98 league goals, second only to mk dons in the top four tiers

Howe on Villa

“It’s going to be the hardest team selection I’ve ever had to make because everyone wants to put the shirt on for such a historic game.

“Tim is an outstanding manager and I think he proved that at the back end of last season.”

“They’ve obviously had to sell a lot of players but I think they’ve also invested very wisely.

“We are under no illusions, we are expecting a very difficult first game.”

Sherwood on Bournemouth

“They’re a side who have gelled. They are a team.

“They’ve been together for two or three years, they’ve added a few so they’re going to know exactly what their manager requires and it will be a tough job for us.

“We have to go there at some stage and we’re going down there confident that we can do the job.

“Getting a decent start is not critical but it’s nice if you can. It gives you that confidence and you can bounce into the remaining fixtures.

“Bournemouth are on a massive high. It’ll be a carnival atmosphere down there and it’s something we’ve got to deal with.”

Sherwood on losing players

“The club have backed me well in this window. We’ve lost two important players but we’ve brought in a lot of new faces. It will take time to gel, we know that.”

Gestede on Bournemouth

“It won’t be an easy start.

“I know the team very well from last season. They play good football.

“The atmosphere in the stadium will be amazing for their first game in the Premier League. We have to take it. We’re looking for three points.”

Memory Match

5th March 1988 Bournemouth 1 Aston Villa 2

Villa secured a Division Two win thanks to goals from David Platt and Tony Daley the last time the sides met in a league fixture.

Bournemouth – Last five matches at home (in the Championship): W 4, D 1 

Villa – Last five matches away: W 2, L 3

Villa have only played Bournemouth four times in a league fixture, in both Division Two and Division Three

One to Watch

Callum Wilson – the ex-Coventry forward scored against Villa in the FA Cup and was a key part of Bournemouth’s promotion campaign.

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

When it comes to stat-checking the records always seem to be unkind to the Villans.

Away at Bournemouth, who will be experiencing a historic first Premier League match, Villa will have their work cut out. Villa have failed to beat a newly-promoted Premier League side on the opening day in three attempts!

It’s well-documented how pleasing on the eye Bournemouth’s football was as they marched to the Championship title, and their attacking style could cause problems for Sherwood’s new look Villa side. Howe’s side bagged 98 league goals last season, so Villa will have to be on their guard against the likes of Callum Wilson.

As well as the fact that Bournemouth won their last two opening league fixtures, Hull and Reading, the last two teams experiencing the Premier League for the first time, both opened with three points at home.

If Howe builds on the style of football they played in the Championship, it certainly appears Bournemouth have what it takes to be this season’s entertainers.

Villa’s array of new signings could be in for a baptism of fire at the Vitality Stadium as Howe’s side look to ensure their first Premier League game results in a win.

“They’ve obviously had to sell a lot of players but I think they’ve also invested very wisely” – Howe on villa

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

One of the few positives of selling Christian Benteke (apart from the financial benefits) is that Villa will no longer be able to rely on one man.

Instead, all the players will have to do their part to get on the scoresheet and in the long run this could be of benefit to Villa.

It will be fascinating to see how newly-signed attacking options Gestede and Ayew do in the Premier League. Hopefully they do their part in ruining Bournemouth’s party!

Having climbed up the divisions from League Two, Bournemouth will be confident of starting the season well but on paper at least Villa should prove tough opposition.

Bournemouth’s backline will probably include new signings Tyrone Mings and Sylvain Distin who could struggle against a fast-paced, counter-attacking Sherwood side, given Mings’ lack of PL experience and Distin’s lack of pace.

Villa can’t afford to look like a team of strangers. The wave of new signings has meant that starting places are still very much up for grabs, so hopefully the players impress Sherwood as he figures out his first choice starting XI.

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

In theory Villa should be used to away games on the opening day. We’ve been away from home in our last five league openers and we surprisingly won last season’s first match – as well as winning the first the season before that too.

Teams like Burnley have shown how unforgiving the Premier League can be to newly-promoted teams and while Bournemouth will be raring to go it’s possible the occasion could be too much to handle.

Bournemouth have done well to recruit Atsu on loan as well as signing Max Gradel from Saint Etienne, but Gueye, Veretout and Amavi represent some of the most promising players in the French league last season.

If the new signings hit the ground running it could be a good season for Villa and an enjoyable trip to Bournemouth, the first such trip since 1988.

Let’s just hope Villa cut short the feel-good factor at the Vitality Stadium (for Saturday’s game anyway!) and show that they are a side capable of lifting the darkness of recent campaigns.


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  1. well said – it will be a difficult game and the new players will take time to gel. We have to be patient. Bournemouth and Man U as the two opening games. Frankly I will take two draws but that may not be. Its a long season, but I am 100% behind Sherwood. He has the right idea. Lets hope it works out.

    UTV Trevor Fisher

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