Aston Villa suffered a hugely disappointing 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth in our Premier League season opener on Saturday.
Goals from Jefferson Lerma and Keiffer Moore secured all three points for the hosts on their return to the top flight, while Villa were left to rue poor defending for both goals as well as a frustrating lack of creative quality in the final third.
Despite changes to the system and personnel as the game went on, Steven Gerrard wasn’t able to find the answers to unlock Bournemouth and get something from the game, and so the focus will now switch to getting things on track ahead of hosting Everton next weekend.
Early goal and slow start hurt Villa
Lerma’s goal inside the first two minutes was a real blow for Villa, as with the crowd making their presence felt and Bournemouth looking to assert themselves early, going behind was the last thing that we needed.
That in turn allowed them to sit behind the ball and frustrate us while looking to counter, and our vulnerability in the air defensively was exposed for Moore’s goal too as we didn’t put up anywhere near enough resistance.
The most frustrating and disappointing aspect of the loss was the way we started the game. Gerrard would have known that we needed to start strong and quick, but we didn’t. The early goal compounded that misery, and our obvious struggle to create in the final third ensured we posed no real sustained threat throughout the game.
Time will tell if these issues are fixable over the course of the week as we now look to bounce back immediately, but it’s a concerning way to start a new campaign with Gerrard having had a full pre-season this summer to develop and implement his desired identity and philosophy on his team.
Aston Villa player ratings vs Bournemouth
Emiliano Martinez, 6 – Couldn’t have done much for either goal, and produced some decent saves particularly in the first half to keep us in the game.
Matty Cash, 5 – Didn’t really influence things with his ability to break forward down the right flank and not only stretch the pitch and give us width, but to provide a direct attacking threat himself too.
Ezri Konsa, 5.5 – Struggled early on with the pace and directness of Bournemouth’s attack and had his hands full with their front two. Stood up to it better as the encounter went on.
Diego Carlos, 5 – Didn’t see the same level of composure and assuredness in possession as we saw in pre-season and also faced a difficult physical battle with their frontline. Will learn a lot from his first taste of Premier League football.
Lucas Digne, 5 – Similar to Cash in many ways, as Villa looked to him as an out-ball but couldn’t provide a genuine threat down the left flank either with his runs forward or his deliveries into the box.
John McGinn, 4.5 – The new Villa captain struggled in this one as he couldn’t stamp his mark on the game and give us a real presence or control in the middle of the pitch. Will need to step up and set the example next weekend with an all-action and assertive performance.
Boubacar Kamara, 4.5 – Was a real struggle for him in the early stages as he tried to get to grips with the pace and tempo of the game, and it didn’t really get much better over the course of the clash. Similarly to Carlos, he will take a lot from this game and will hopefully bounce back strong.
Jacob Ramsey, 4 – Replaced at half-time, didn’t give us any control or balance in midfield and that was, and has been, a major problem for us for some time now. JJ needs to do more to make his mark on games when he isn’t making penetrating runs forward or getting on the scoresheet.
Leon Bailey, 5.5 – Provided movement and pace when Villa could play it longer and get him in behind, but lacked any real end product to make a decisive contribution.
Danny Ings, 4 – Looked lively early on as he tested Bournemouth’s backline and goalkeeper, but his impact faded soon after and he struggled to have any real influence on our attacking play as he suffered from the lack of creativity.
Philippe Coutinho, 4 – Much like his performances in pre-season, he struggled to influence our play as our creative hub in the final third. Needs to find a way to get into games better and keep us ticking over while importantly showing the quality needed to unlock defences.
Emiliano Buendia, 5 – Provided a spark and more intent but couldn’t find a way through for us.
Ollie Watkins, 5 – Couldn’t change too much up front as we simply didn’t create enough.
Douglas Luiz, N/A
Cameron Archer, N/A