When these sides last met in January in the fourth round of the FA Cup, Villa fans were treated to a wonder goal by Carles Gil that helped the Villans march towards the FA Cup final that we’d now rather forget.
The injured Gil won’t be scoring goals of any sort tomorrow, unfortunately, and Aston Villa fans are currently pondering who Sherwood will start in attack, after suggestions that a 4-3-3 will be 4-4-Tim’s preferred formation for the 2015-16 season. With Kozak having staked a claim to a starting spot in pre-season and Gestede familiar with Howe’s side, who to task with scoring tomorrow won’t be the easiest decision the manager has made.
With so many new faces having been brought to B6 so far this summer, Sherwood will need to consider his choices carefully before naming his revitalised starting XI to face the newly-promoted Cherries at the re-named Vitality Stadium tomorrow afternoon. Having promised long-suffering fans that they won’t have to lose sleep over relegation worries again while he is at the helm, Sherwood will be hoping to get off to a good start, as of course will Eddie Howe’s men as they begin life as Premier League footballers.
Howe has added Premier League experience to his high-scoring, entertaining side in the form of Distin and width in Christian Atsu and Max Gradel. Having scored ninety-eight goals last season and having hit five hundred and seventy-three shots on target, the Cherries definitely pose a threat to their opponents, whose defence has looked less than solid at times in pre-season. Furthermore, the boys in claret and blue managed to score only thirty-one Premier League goals in 2014-15 and will be without the man who netted most of them. While admitting that A.F.C. Bournemouth’s remarkable ride may have to end, Howe will no doubt be secretly hoping to see a fairy tale start to the season with victory on home soil as he continues his reign as the darling of Dorset.
Drawn away for the first game for the fifth season in a row, the Villans will be hoping to add to their opening day wins from 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Aston Villa: LDWDDD
A.F.C. Bournemouth: WWLDWLD
After his injury in the pre-season friendly against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Gabby Agbonlahor will not feature in tomorrow’s game.
Carles Gil, who picked up a knock in pre-season, will not be available.
Jores Okore is continuing his recovery from surgery so he has been ruled out.
It is extremeky doubtful that Jack Grealish will feature, due to a hamstring problem.
Amavi Clark Richards Hutton
Westwood Veretout Gueye
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Venue: Vitality Stadium
Kick-off time: 3p.m.
Tickets: The away allocation has sold out
Last meeting: January 2015 – Aston Villa 2 – A.F.C. Bournemouth 1 (The FA Cup)
Mark Lawrenson: 2-1
Paul Merson: 2-0