Bournemouth vs Aston Villa
Kick Off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth
Aston Villa kick off their 2022-23 Premier League campaign with a trip to newly promoted Bournemouth.
Steven Gerrard will begin his first full season in charge having chopped and changed a squad that he predominantly inherited from predecessor Dean Smith and will be buoyed by a positive pre-season, which saw Villa along with Arsenal as the only teams unbeaten in their retrospective build-ups.
Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara have been stand out additions alongside the permanent capture of Philippe Coutinho following his loan spell at the end of last season.
Carlos and Kamara will provide a much needed strengthening defensively and the changing of captaincy from Tyrone Mings to John McGinn may spell less time for Mings depending on the start Villa make to their campaign.
With an extended transfer window, the general consensus is that a ‘number 8’ and a proven goalscorer are both priorities but unless further sales are generated, the club are likely to be close to done.
The game will see Bournemouth return to the Premier League under the management of Scott Parker who has overseen two promotions in his first two campaigns in charge of both Bournemouth and Fulham. The former England midfielder guided his men to second place and a subsequent automatic promotion place as they finished just two points behind Fulham and six points clear of Huddersfield who finished in the first playoff spot (3rd).
Dominic Solanke will be a key players for them having scored 44 times in 86 appearances in the Championship with 15 assists. If he can replicate some of this form in the Premier League, he could the spearhead to the ambitions of surviving.
Scott Parker has pointed out that the team needs strengthening, particularly in defence and they come into the game having lost the last three of their four pre-season fixtures losing by single goals to Braga, Bristol City and Real Sociedad.
On paper, Bournemouth will see this as a key game to build confidence with their next three games being against Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool. Whereas Villa will see it as an opportunity to get an early away win against a newly promoted side who need to add depth to their squad.
Finishing 14th last season was seen as a poor season in Villa’s improving record since promotion back to the Premier League but it was a change of direction in the appointment of Steven Gerrard. It has been well publicised that a top half finish will be firmly expected and with the loss of Michael Beale as Assistant Coach, he will be keen to get a positive start to the campaign.
Bournemouth Team News
The Cherries will be without both Joe Rothwell and Ryan Fredericks who despite signing recently, have thigh and calf injuries.
Marcus Tavernier arrived from Middlesbrough and should be in line to make his debut for the club his own debut in regards to Premier League football.
It has been great to see David Brooks given the all clear from a serious illness and he may feature in the matchday squad which will be a fantastic occasion for the talented midfielder.
Possible starting line up:
Travers, Smith, Mepham, Kelly, Zemura, Christie, Cook, Lerma, Anthony, Billing, Solanke
Aston Villa Team News
Steven Gerrard should have the luxury of being able to pick from a close to fully fit squad with Kortney Hause the only absentee.
In his pre match press conference, Gerrard highlighted that Keinan Davis will be building up fitness with the U21 team whilst Frederic Guilbert and Bertrand Traore are reportedly training away from the first team as the club seemingly look to move them on.
Ollie Watkins will likely start in a position that appears to be up for grabs with regular goals needed.
The club awarded youngster Cameron Archer a new five-year deal and he will be keen to impress alongside Watkins and Danny Ings following an eye-catching loan spell at Preston North End and his goals in the League Cup for Villa early on last season.
Possible starting line up:
Martinez, Digne, Carlos, Konsa, Cash, Kamara, McGinn, Ramsey, Coutinho, Bailey, Watkins
i) The last three games between the two teams have resulted in 2-1 wins for Bournemouth.
ii) Aston Villa have not failed to score in their last eight games with Bournemouth with 82% of these goals coming in the second half.
iii) Bournemouth come into the game unbeaten at home in competitive football since January.
iv) This will be Bournemouth’s first game in the Premier League without Eddie Howe in charge.
v) Aston Villa have played against newly promoted teams five times in the Premier League on the opening game of the season. The only win came against Bournemouth in 2015-16.
Head to Head record:
Bournemouth 4 wins, 1 draw, Aston Villa 4 wins
Last five meetings:
01 Feb 2020 – Bournemouth 2-1 Aston Villa (Premier League)
17 Aug 2019 – Aston Villa 1-2 Bournemouth (Premier League)
09 Apr 2016 – Aston Villa 1-2 Bournemouth (Premier League)
08 Aug 2015 – Bournemouth 0-1 Aston Villa (Premier League)
25 Jan 2015 – Aston Villa 2-1 Bournemouth (F.A. Cup)
AVILLAFAN MATCH PREDICTION
The first game of the season is always a tough one to call, with very little form, new transfers and in the case of this game, a newly promoted team.
Bournemouth will be desperate to get something to start their return to the Premier League but the experience and quality of names with the Villa squad should provide them an opportunity to pick three points up.
Normally I’m hesitant but I feel we can make a good start here! – Bournemouth 1-2 Aston Villa.
Match odds (Variable between bookmakers)
Bournemouth – 11/4
Aston Villa – Evens
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