Saturday, 24 August 2019

How can AFCB take the game to City?

It is one thing to stay in the game with Man City and quite another to try and win it. Bournemouth haven't come closer than almost getting a draw against City and the history of the past few meeting is perhaps best forgotten, if Bournemouth are to achieve a point or more against the best team in the league.
Can AFCB get this score after 90 minutes?
Finding a solution is a puzzle that all the other managers in the Premier League are going to have to try and solve as well when they come up against Pep Guadiola. Eddie will not want to see a result like West Ham had on the first day of the season, so he'll not play too open and we may see less balls played out from the back if Man City play their high pressing game.

Bournemouth have the speed of attack to cause City problems if they do play well on the counter, but City are well aware that is something they have to guard against. Where City dominate is in midfield and that is the area where I think AFCB have to try and get closer to City. If they can stem the flow of passes to the attackers then this will start to interrupt City's passing game. Somehow they have to ruffle players like de Bruyne, David Silva or whoever Guadiola puts in the middle.

Once City have manoeuvred players out of position they have the strikers to kill games off quickly. This game is all about positioning and keeping a good shape. High concentration and the alertness to strike when City believe they have you where they want you is the only game plan that I can see working. It may be the counter-attack is Bournemouth's best form of defence and if they do get set set-plays there is more of an aerial threat about the Cherries now with Billing, Aké, Simpson and Steve Cook all good targets to hit.

It's one thing looking at City's potential vulnerabilities and actually playing to AFCB's strengths on the pitch. But Bournemouth have been in the Premier League for five seasons at then end of this one, and it would be annoying if Man City are still the only team that they haven't taken at least a point off of. AFCB's players should see Sunday's game as an opportunity to try and achieve this.

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Friday, 23 August 2019

Should AFCB play a back five against Man City?

As one of the most difficult games of the season coming up, I guess Eddie Howe won't get much sleep this week. He will be pondering that question of what is best to do against Manchester City and how should he set up his team to be most effective.
Chris Mepham will look to get his second start of the season.
In recent meeting Eddie has gone fairly defensive, even in home games against the Champions with five at the back. But when he played that way with wing backs against Sheffield United, it didn't quite work. Even last season when Bournemouth tried to frustrate Man City, in what was a fairly negative approach, they couldn't keep them form scoring. A one-nil defeat was better than a beating perhaps, but a defeat is a defeat.

The one constant in these matches against Man City in the last couple of games has been Jack Simpson. We haven't seen Jack play or be involved in the first two games, but that hasn't stopped Eddie Howe from throwing him in for such an occasion before. If he sees Jack as one of the best out and out defenders it is strange he doesn't play him more often. Perhaps it's Simpson's threat from corners that Eddie likes to have for the City games in an attacking sense?
Then there is Chris Mepham who scored against Sheffield United and was rewarded with a spot on the bench for the game against Aston Villa. Eddie certainly picks teams for the game situation that he feels is best and if that means resting a man of the match form the game before, it is done. So Mepham might not be confident of making it back into the side for a while, if he doesn't get picked for the Man City game.

Either Jack Simpson or Chris Mepham will play though if Eddie goes five at the back. It will be a different game to the Sheffield United match when the crowd will understand that AFCB are likely to have less possession than City. A five-man back line will help nullify the width of the City attack and stop them getting down the sides so easily. Howe has to try and stop the runs of Sterling as best he can, and while it might be negative to block, even a point in this game would be a good return.

A bit too early to think top 10

I was a bit concerned that Adam Smith was telling the Bournemouth Echo that AFCB could finish top 10 at this precise moment in the season. We are only two games in and four points against two newly-promoted sides is not a complete reflection of what the league is going to look like this season. It's a bit too early to shout we're going to finish in the top half.
Adam Smith dreams of a big season for AFCB.
I admire the confidence and the need to set targets. Bournemouth have only finish in the top 10 once in their four Premier League seasons so it is a legitimate aim to have, but let's not get carried away just yet. The games against Man City and Leicester City will give us more of an idea of what AFCB are up against if they are to finish in the top half. If the Cherries can get anything from those games then we can start thinking a little more optimistically.

At the moment, the player should just be getting their heads down and working hard. The team is not going to keep picking up points unless they try and improve and are ready to face the big teams when they come up. AFCB are far from the finished article and they'll need to play much better than they have in their first two games to take points off Man City and Leicester City.

The main way they can seek to do that is in tightening up their defence. Two nil-nil draws would not be a bad end to the first month, even if the lure of three points in one of these games would put Bournemouth in a very strong position going into next month's fixtures.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Bournemouth's knife-edge defending

Eddie Howe was pleased with how the team held out against Aston Villa in the second half, even if Villa won the half 1-0. It wasn't that Bournemouth looked 100 per cent safe from conceding, but every player did their work in trying to prevent Villa from getting an equaliser with blocks and tackles to keep the score in Bournemouth's favour.
AFCB still need to keep improving on their defence to get that clean sheet.

It took a spectacular goal from Douglas to bring Aston Villa back into the game and from that point on there were some worried faces among AFCB fans. To concede again would have been devastating and Eddie Howe would have had a pick me up job to do two weeks in a row, so that is how big the win was at Aston Villa.

The defending was strained at times and Bournemouth did live on a knife-edge at times. But the solid performer again was Aaron Ramsdale who didn't put a foot wrong all game. When a young player comes into the team in such an important position, and does well it tends to inspire others and all the defenders are doing all they can to help him and the team out.

Personally, I wish Bournemouth didn't sit back on leads and hope to hold out in these kind of games rather than keep attacking. We dd see some sensible play though in the last few minutes with the Cherries keeping the ball near the opposition's corner flag and winning corners in the dying minutes. They came through that test and next weekend they will have to defend even better against the Champions.

Ramsdale is top class again

We have not seen Aaron Ramsdale seen many games in a Bournemouth shirt, but already he has shaken up the goalkeeping group. He looks totally at ease in Bournemouth's goal and ready for the Premier League.
Ramsdale has been spectacular as AFCB's number one.
The saves he made against Aston Villa were made with great positioning and strong hands. He anticipates particularly well and is always moving towards the ball when it is hit. At least we can stop talking about his age and start to comment on what he is doing on the pitch.

Bournemouth have struggled to find a keeper that was truly Premier League class, but I believe they have found one in Ramsdale and they may have another in Travers. It is great that Eddie Howe has put his faith in these two young keepers as they won't be on the kind of wages that Boruc and Begovic are on, and in a way it is a pity that Bournemouth haven't off loaded one of their more experienced keepers this summer. The Bournemouth goal looks in safe hands and Ramsdale is only going to get better once he has more games under his belt.
What I really like about Ramsdale is that he comes for crosses and likes to punch if he can't take a ball cleanly. He gets down quick and his kicking is very long. These are qualities that the Cherries haven't had in goal for a while and Ramsdale could well be the number one choice for many years to come. From what seemed a goalkeeping problem at the start of the summer has become a name that Eddie Howe can confidently put first on the team sheet. Ramsdale has been nothing short of top class so far. That is why he has taken both man of the match choices for me in the last two games.

In other news, Sam Surridge scored his first goal for Swansea on loan in a 3-1 win over QPR.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Daniels recovers quickly for Villa start

Bournemouth changed the line -up for the Villa game and it was no surprise to see Charlie Daniels back in favour, having recovered from his long-term injury. Daniels has been rushed back, but he needed to be pushed back quickly with the injury to Lloyd Kelly.
Daniels makes his comeback.

While Diego Rico played in the first match against Sheffield United, he couldn't hold back a fully-fit Charlie Daniels. The team is of course familiar with Daniels being at left-back and it gives the team more of a regular feel to it with Daniels and Fraser able to play their usual patterns of play.

I imagine Daniels will be closely monitored this week to make sure he has not over done things, and is able to continue playing, having gone through 90 minutes last Saturday. The team has had a lot of injuries and with Daniels and Steve Cook only recently regaining fitness, it may take a few games for Bournemouth to really put in some strong defensive performances.
That was what pleased Eddie Howe so much about the Aston Villa game. The defenders managed to get through the 90 minutes without picking up any strains and almost keeping a clean sheet. The aim now must be to keep those four players on the field and yet with the might of Man City coming up next it might encourage Eddie Howe to add another central defender to the mix.

The good point is that Daniels has had a full game under his belt before having to face Man City.

Do Bournemouth need to keep hold of Ibe?

Eddie Howe was questioned about Jordan Ibe in his pre-match press conference for the Villa match and was adamant that Jordan Ibe was an integral part of Bournemouth's plans for this season. But the noise from Celtic has been growing with the Daily Star reporting that the Scottish club have baulked at a £20 price-tag but could be close to securing the winger on loan.
Is Jordan Ibe a player AFCB can do without?
Bournemouth probably do have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to wide players. However, Junior Stanislas, David Brooks and Arnaut Danjuma remain out and Harry Wilson has only played one match in the Premier League for AFCB. Ibe is a player that Eddie Howe knows can be put on as an impact sub, and he wants all the armoury he can for the Premier League season ahead.

Yet, the start that Harry Wilson has made would suggest that he will be the starter on the right wing for the foreseeable future, and Jordan Ibe has not managed to hold down a first team starting spot during his time at the club. While I expect AFCB will do all they can to hold on to Ibe, he could be one of the first to be let out on loan in January. Ibe has said that he does not want to go up north when rumours of Leicester City and Celtic interest emerged over the summer. Whether his view is changing now that he knows he is not first choice to start at AFCB may decide the outcome of this latest request from Celtic.

I don't see AFCB being much weaker without Ibe, as long as they don't pick up more injuries. But it will be a risk if AFCB let him go before one of the other wingers returns to full fitness and that might not be until mid-September.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Perfect penalty Josh King start to Bournemouth's win at Villa

When your team turns up at a newly-promoted team in front of a big crowd and the first home game of the season for the opposition, it's going to be a nervous affair. But Bournemouth didn't accept that they should go into their shell and weather the storm. They decided to attack and take the game to Aston Villa and they duly got their rewards in the first minute.
Josh King opened his goal account with a very early penalty at Villa Park.
When Bournemouth came to the Premier League in 2015, they were known for the quick starts and the energy that their strikers would bring to the game in the first period. We knew that opportunities to score would come early on and it was just a case of whether AFCB would take them or not. That kind of game plan might not have gone out of favour, but it hadn't been characteristic in AFCB's performances of late until the match with Aston Villa.

The speed and accuracy of the Bournemouth play in the first minute at Villa Park saw Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson create something out of nothing. Callum's reputation is probably a big help to the team as Tom Heaton didn't want to give the striker any room and his miscalculation was a real present for AFCB. A penalty in the opening minutes is something that you rarely see, and it was pleasing that Josh King felt confident to put it away in the second minute.

That platform completely turned around the afternoon for AFCB from being a problem game to a match that they had the advantage in, and the opportunity to know that if they defended well they would get something from the game. When everything starts to go your way, there is a love of football that injects itself into the players' play. They believe that things are going to continue going their way and they try to do the unexpected, like Harry Wilson's long range effort that doubled the lead on 12 minutes. The adrenalin must have been pumping in all AFCB's players and the fans at that moment.


The game was not won in the first quarter of an hour, but the bricks were in place for a memorable victory if Bournemouth could hold out. Hold out they did and the encouragement of early goals can't be ignored as a factor that always helps AFCB hit their rhythm and inspires confidence. Eddie Howe will have felt very different after the result against Aston Villa from what he felt in the first week. Keeping that feel good factor is now what it's all about as ACB head into what will be one of their most challenging games of the season.

AFCB have a midfielder unafraid to shoot

There was every need to throw Harry Wilson into the starting line-up against Aston Villa. Bournemouth had been short of creativity against Sheffield United and the team needed a positive injection of flare in the attacking positions. Harry Wilson delivered against Villa with the kind of goal that made him look every bit as good as David Brooks.
Harry Wilson has started fantastically well for AFCB.
For many seasons Bournemouth have lacked fire power from central midfield. Although Wilson played on the right wing, he wasn't slow to run into the central position when the space arose and unlike many of Bournemouth's players he was willing to take a risk, to strike the ball from distance. It is that kind of confidence and ambition that AFCB will need to break some defences. The ball flew in and Tom Heaton couldn't get near it.

If that is a sign of what is to come from Harry Wilson, then Bournemouth have a very special player on loan. The quality of his shooting is quite exceptional and while he didn't manage to add more goals to his account on the day, he did get into the positions where he could hurt the opposition and with time he will get better at taking such chances I believe.

My only concern is that Harry will prove that he is ready now to play for his parent team and that when he goes back to Liverpool he will be doing those special things against AFCB. What is good to see though is that Chris Mepham is very happy to see his Welsh colleague at the club and no doubt David Brooks will also enjoy having Harry Wilson around. Those are bonds that are already there, and AFCB will gain from those friendships developing.

I am excited to see what else Harry Wilson is going to do this season. He is not here just to fill in, he looks like a star player and one that Bournemouth will find extremely useful this season with his shooting power.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Points on the board for AFCB

With two games gone and four points out of six, the Cherries have safely got a few points on the board. Averaging two points a game is what they managed at the start of last season up to 10 games and it is going to take a big effort to continue on that kind of form with the series of games Bournemouth have ahead of them.
A reasonable start for the Cherries but harder games are to come.
The important thing was that AFCB did get some points from the considered lesser teams that have just been promoted. Not to get anything or just a couple of draws would have been a real disappointment. Aston Villa and Sheffield United are not teams that will frighten many in the Premier League, but the points still have to be won, and some teams won't do as well against these two teams. The pressure to get early points on the board is always a nervy issue for fans, but now that we are underway and AFCB have their first win, the teams gets to grow into the new season a little with a big clash at home to Man City next weekend.

It will take a few games for the league to sort itself out, but AFCB can at least put themselves in the top half before the winter games with a few more encouraging performances. A lot of the game is psychological and just looking at the table can add pressure or give teams a good felling about themselves depending on their position.

Bournemouth have only every got off to one good start in this league and it's by no means certain that the points will continue to flow at the rate of two a game, but at least we know that there are other teams that have had more difficult starts. It will be the next phase of building on the start that AFCB look to do now and while that may not mean picking up points against the likes of Man City, there are several other games that are winnable and if they go AFCB's way it could be another season when AFCB are looking up rather than down.

Billing has to calm down

We have a rival contender for Jefferson Lerma's yellow card haul from last season. Philip Billing may seem a pleasant giant, but we saw another side to him against Aston Villa. The central midfielder went for Aston Villa with little regard for what he left behind in the challenges and with another referee he could well have seen red. 
Philip Billing can be relieved that he wasn't sent off against Aston Villa.
It was just as well that Eddie Howe took Billing off at half time. It will be a hard lesson for the young Danish international to learn, but he'll soon pick up that he can't afford to be over hyped because of a few tackles that have been flying about. Once things get under your skin, it is easy to get carried away and intent on taking retribution, but AFCB can't afford that on the football pitch.

It is easy in hindsight for Billing to know that he over stepped the mark, but at the time he was caught up in the moment and lost his head. It's the will to do well and to impress that probably drove Billing into doing everything he could to win those midfield battles. Youth didn't win out on this occasion and it was Andrew Surman who was the beneficiary of the events. Now it is Eddie Howe's decision on who he picks to start against Man City in the next game in centre midfield.
We will see if Howe can trust Billing or if the youngster has still not earned Eddie's full trust yet. The game against Man City will be very different and the frustration might not come from the challenges but more the inability to get hold of the ball. Bournemouth will need to be organised and to have heads that don't go rushing in and leave spaces in behind. Whoever Howe goes for, I'm sure that Billing will have a word or two spoken in his ear this week about his performance at Villa Park and I hope he takes it on board quickly.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

AFCB hold off Villa for first away win 1-2

Match Report
Aston Villa 1 v 2 AFCB
17 August 2019
Attendance: 40,996
AFCB spoil Aston Villa's big day.
The Cherries were given a dream start in this game with Tom Heaton leaving his foot out on Callum Wilson in the first minute and Josh King made no mistake from the spot. New signing Harry Wilson then put Bournemouth firmly in control with a long-range pearler from 30 yards that deflected in off Tyrone Mings and the post. Philip Billing was meanwhile losing his head with some rash challenges and Eddie Howe had to take him off at half-time. Aston Villa fought back in the second half and a stunning goal from Douglas made for a grandstand finish. Bournemouth needed the safe hands of Ramsdale to keep Villa from snatching a point and the Cherries did enough to hold on for their first three points of the season.

Bournemouth made two changes to the starting line-up with Charlie Daniels replacing Diego Rico and Harry Wilson coming on for Chris Mepham as the Cherries switched back to a 4-4-1-1 formation. Jack Stacey also made it onto the sub's bench for the first time in a Premier League match.

Match description
Bournemouth attacked straight away as King passed out wide. Fraser slipped in Callum Wilson down the left side of the box and Heaton caught him. Bournemouth were awarded a penalty. Josh King took it, 0-1 to Bournemouth. King hit his shot hard and low to the left sending Heaton the wrong way.

The ball is the sent into Bournemouth's box but El Mohamady headed wide. Harry Wilson tried a long shot from distance but it went well over.

Lerma's fouled Trézéguet in a good position for Villa to put pressure in the box. McGinn hit a drive and it just skimmed over the bar, Ramsdale got a touch on it.

Bournemouth were getting Fraser in space and running and h win a corner before going all the way back to Ramsdale. Callum Wilson kept giving cheap fouls away. Daniels puts a cross in but it's blocked.

Harry Wilson is going for a long-range effort - what a hit. Deflected off Mings  and in off the left post 2-0, 12 minutes gone!

Fraser goes flying but wins a free kick in his own half. Mings goes for a long ball over the top but Ramsdale is alert to it.

Another free kick to Villa, Steve Cook takes Grealish down right on the D. El Ghazi hits the free kick high over the bar. Wesley and Cook come together and Bournemouth get the free kick. Ramsdale then swarms on a ball at his near post.

King put in a cross and Douglas hit it just over his own bar for a corner. A long ball from Mings and it cannons off Daniels right into McGinn's path and Ramsdale makes a great save on 22 minutes.

Ramsdale punches away. Another ball comes back in and Wesley gets a shot away off Cook and Ramsdale saves for a corner. Grealish floats a ball to the far post and Daniels just keeps El Ghazi out.

Daniels puts a cross in and Harry Wilson is free and just puts it over, he was unmarked! Ake does well to put a header out for a throw.

Bournemouth are holding out well for the clean sheet. They are getting organised and Harry Wilson is clipped as the Cherries start another breakaway.

It's end to end, with Billing almost getting Wilson in. Villa enjoy some possession, but Lerma gets a foot in. Ramsdale fists the ball away from the corner. Wesley goes down in the box but there is no penalty awarded. Billing and Wesley are having a few words.

Billing has been booked now for a foul on McGinn. Grealish goes down from a Billing challenge. Could have been a second yellow there.

Trézéguet is caught offside on the left. Billing hits a shot miles over. Harry Wilson ran into Douglas and came off worse. King makes a good run up the left and finds Billing who fouls. Billing is luck to still be on the pitch.

A speculative shot from McGinn hits the side netting. Lerma catches up with McGinn and Fraser gets trodden on by El Mohamady. Bournemouth get the free kick. wide on the left, but Villa clear it.

A shot from King centrally is blasted over the goal. Wilson to Harry Wilson and Heaton makes a save with his feet. Three minutes of additional minutes. Billing has made another foul on McGinn. He has to be on his final warning.

Lerma has been pushed by El Ghazzi.Villa are in down the left and Wesley crosses for Trézéguet  and Aké clears off the line. Steve Cook makes a clearance and it's another corner to Villa. Half-Time 0-2.

Second half
Philip Billing has been subbed at half-time - thank goodness. He would have left Bournemouth with 10 men the way he was going. Andrew Surman is on in midfield.

Harry Wilson takes a knock but is up again. Ramsdale has to save with Wesley trying to get it after a header down from Trézéguet. It's a VAR check. Ramsdale got there first, no penalty.

Lerma put in a good ball to King, but the number seven couldn't get a shot away. El Mohamady puts a cross in and Bournemouth clear. McGinn takes a free kick quickly from the centre circle and Grealish takes aim but curls it just wide of the right post.

Bournemouth are just not alive when they give free kicks away. Adam Smith has taken a knock. Grealish is slipping past players and its loose to Taylor and off Steve Cook it's blocked. That was close.

Coming up to the hour now. Aké fouls McGinn and gets booked on 59 minutes. Kings goes down the line but Engles has taken him down in the box. It looked a rash sliding challenge.

Grealish is starting to control the game in midfield. El Mohamady puts in a swinging cross from the right and Grealish heads it over diving in. The two Wilson's combine and Callum sends a ball right across the six yard box.

Some great play by Bournemouth with Harry Wilson and Adam Smith but the cross was picked easily by Heaton. Grealish to Trézéguet and Ramsdale makes the save low to his left and Wesley's header is also gathered.

Bournemouth have 20 minutes to hold out. Aké with a towering header clear's Bournemouth's lines but the ball is back out to Grealish and Douglas hits a stunning goal into the top left corner 1-2.

Bournemouth dropped points last week, from a winning position, is it going to happen again? Bournemouth have a corner with 18 minutes to go. 

McGinn in to Wesley and the shot is saved and Wesley was offside. El Ghazzi comes off and is replaced by Jota on 75 minutes. Solanke replaces Harry Wilson on 76 minutes.

Jota in to Taylor but he can't get a clean header thanks to Smith. McGinn goes on a run but screws his shot well wide.

King puts a chip over the top for Solanke but Engles somehow recovers. Fraser is through but the keeper saves with his feet. Both teams are out on their feet.

Cllum Wilson has a free kick.  Fraser has hoofed it over the top. Bournemouth steal the ball Wilson up against the keeper, back to Solanke and King has the chance but can't get his shot away. Bournemouth could have put the game to bed then.

Trézéguet is subbed with three minutes left for Davis. A shot from Jota is received by Ramsdale. Ramsdale again collects the ball from a McGinn header.

Five minutes of added time. Wilson across to Fraser and it's side netting only. Fraser wins another corner. Great turn but King but his pass to Fraser is too strong. King has a free kick in the corner. Lerma gives a free kick away.

The ball comes into the box but Engles can't get a good header it's wide and time's up 1-2.

Bournemouth learned from last week on how to cling on to a win. The fast start and quickly hit second gaol gave the Cherries the platform they needed. Aston Villa had more of the possession and were unlucky not to get something from the game. The Cherries were strong and kept Villa to long range efforts for much of the game with Ramsdale playing out of his skin. So a great first away win for AFCB at the first attempt.

AFCB Subs: Boruc, Rico, Stacey, Mepham, Surman 46, Ibe, Solanke

AFCB Ratings: Ramsdale 9, Smith 6, Cook 6, Aké 7, Daniels 6, H Wilson 8, Lerma 7, Billing 4, Fraser 7, King 6, C Wilson 6

Referee Martin Atkinson: 1/10 I hate to say it, but he should have sent Philip Billing off and let plenty of fouls go unpunished. 

Cherry Chimes MoM: Aaron Ramsdale

Aston Villa
1 Heaton, 27 El Mohamady, 22 Engels, 40 Mings, 3 Taylor, 7 McGinn, 6 Douglas, 
10 Grealish, 17 Trézéguet (Davis 87), 9 Wesley, 21 El Ghazi (Jota 75)

Villa Subs: 12 Steer, 14 Hourihane, 8 Lansbury, 15 Konsa, 18 Targett, 23 Jota, 39 Davis

Premier Talk - Man City fall foul of handball on VAR decision

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Bournemouth can't afford backward step at Villa

Bournemouth must step up their game against Aston Villa. To lose to Aston Villa at this stage would automatically put the pressure on the Cherries with one point from six against two of the promoted teams from last season. Bournemouth have to battle and use the quality they have in forward positions to give Villa a real taste of what it is going to be like back in the Premier League.
Bournemouth have to cope with the intimidating atmosphere at Villa Park.
While expectations will fill the home crowd it can often work in reverse when things don't start well. Bournemouth can use the frustration of the crowd if Villa can be kept off the ball in the first 20 minutes and they do more defending than attacking. There is no point in warming into the new season and hoping that points will come along, successful teams go at teams and cause problems, which is what I want to see AFCB go and do this weekend.

Both teams have a few players out but there can't be excuses about the players that are available to play. Bournemouth didn't get the balance right in their first game and I'm hoping to see more positive play in the opposition's half, and we know that away games suit Bournemouth's breakaways when the passing is executed well.

There may be a few changes from last week, but I am not expecting more than one or two players coming in. Perhaps Charlie Daniels was not quite ready last week, but I don't believe Howe can leave him out for much longer. The left wing is the other position where he could bring in Harry Wilson if he leaves Ryan Fraser on the right.

Possible AFCB line up
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Rico, Mepham, Simpson, Surman, Ibe, Solanke
AFCB TV match preview

Create inspiring artwork for Amazon @PrimeVideoSport and the #PremierLeague clubs on @Talenthouse 

Friday, 16 August 2019

Bournemouth will do well to spoil Villa's first big home game

Aston Villa may have come up to the Premier League through the play-offs, giving them less time to prepare than Norwich City or Sheffield United, but they haven't held back in their summer spending. Only Man Utd spent more than Aston Villa's £144.5m summer spend and while such spending didn't do much good for Fulham, the opening game showed that Villa will try and take the scalps of every Premier League team they line up against.
Villa have been big spenders this summer.
It's probably funny to Bournemouth fans that Aston Villa's biggest transfer business was for Tyrone Mings at £26.5m. The ex-Bournemouth centre-back has been exceptional when he puts on a Villa shirt and it annoys me a bit that Mings didn't get the games he should have at Dean Court during his stay. But that's football. Injuries and bad luck played their part and Mings has found a good new home.

Wesley Moraes is a Brazilian forward that signed from Club Brugge so I'd expect that Arnaut Danjum has the inside knowledge on him should Eddie Howe need information on this part of Villa's £22m strike force. Defender Matt Targett, 23, was signed from near-neighbours Southampton for £17m having been at Saints for 15 years. Douglas Luiz, 21, was signed from Man City although he had been playing at Girona FC on loan. He didn't play against Tottenham, but Villa stumped up £15m for him. Add in the experience signing of Tom Heaton and Villa aim to do a bit more than just survive this season.
Dean Smith is the man with the most pressure on him. Now that he has made it to the Premier League he has to find out how to win games at this level. Aston Villa would be thrilled to get their first three points against Bournemouth, so the Cherries have to be at their very best as I expect Villa to come at them like a whirlwind. Jack Grelish and John McGinn already impressed against Spurs and this will be a real test for Bournemouth's defence.

Dean Smith and Aston Villa's Press Conference

T-shirt competition
Yes, it's back while I still have a few shirts to give away. Send in your score prediction for Aston Villa v AFCB to @CherryChimes (make sure you follow me) on Twitter and see if you can win the prize. It's free to enter and if more than one person has the correct score I will pick one from the hat.

Rival Lines: Villa - back where they belong?

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Aston Villa v AFCB
Blogger Interview: A Villa Fan
Twitter: @Avillafan

This weekend we kick off AFCB's first away game and it is against Aston Villa. I managed to grab a word with Stuart Young who works on the A Villa Fan website to see how he thinks Aston Villa will go this season and who we should be looking out for.

CC: What has Dean Smith given Aston Villa that previous managers were unable to do to get them to win matches?

AVF: He has given them belief. Jack Grealish highlighted this last week when he stated that Smith makes him feel like the best player in the world.

On top of that he has United a relatively split dressing room, and even club. The fans and players are one for the first time in a very long time. There is a real buzz around the place.

Something that impresses me personally is that he doesn’t insult the fans intelligence. For example, the defeat to Spurs, he highlighted where we did well and where it went wrong. Previous managers would have just taken the 3-1 defeat as a positive.

CC: Although Villa lost the first game against Spurs, did you see plenty of positives about the performance for the season ahead?

AVF: Yes. As I have already stated, there is a plan by the hierarchy at Aston Villa and the fans are on board.

The constant comparisons are embarrassing from a journalism point of view. As Christian Purslow stated on Sky Sports News on Monday night - there was a plan out together that has been executed. Now we can only hope the plan is enough to see us progress in the right way.

CC: John McGinn scored a great goal against Spurs. Is that the kind of goal he would do regularly in the Championship, holding off the last defender and picking his spot?

AVF: John McGinn reminds me of Gareth Barry a little. They both use their body very well to keep the ball. He is of course a lot more active on the field. McGinn will surprise a few away from B6 season in the Premiership.

CC: Which player would you say is your best signing of the summer and why?

AVF: Engels looks very impressive and Trezeguet could add that little bit of magic once he settles in. But I think Tom Heaton might prove to be a great bit of business.

Not only does he have the experience but he is apparently a very good character to have around the dressing room. Something Smith seems to be very keen on.

CC: How special will next Saturday be when Aston Villa plays its first home match back in the Premier League?

AVF: I think that the game is most likely going to be a sell out, tells you everything you need to know. We believe we are back where we belong. Now we have to prove it.

CC: Can you see all three promoted sides surviving in the Premier League this season?

AVF: No. I think Norwich will regret not spending more money than they did. Sheffield United will be an interesting one as they won’t lie down and die. They have the never say die attitude but discipline may prove their downfall. Time will tell.

I am confident that we will stay up but we must get some points on the board ASAP.

CC: Is Jack Grealish a much better player than last time Villa were in the Premier League - how has his game developed?

AVF: Jack has grown up. He has matured. We have always known he has the talent but he needed to get his head in the right place which I believe he has now.

On top of that, he has added some muscle and he is closer to the complete product. But he must prove himself at the top level and no-one knows that more than Jack.

CC: What have you made of Tom Heaton in goal - was the keeper position something fans were worried about this season?

Many fans believed Jed Steer should have been given the chance of playing in the Premiership following his heroics last season.

Saying that, we did need that we experienced head in goal. The saves he has pulled off against RB Leipzig and Tottenham in recent weeks are showing just what a signing he could be for Villa.

CC: What position do you believe Aston Villa will end the season in?

AVF: We must aim as high as possible but I think we will finish around 12-14th.

CC: How do you think Aston Villa will line up against Bournemouth?

AVF: I think you will see a slightly more attacking side that the one you would have seen against Tottenham.

I believe Targett will come in for Taylor and Guilbert might replace Elmo. The only thing keeping Elmo in the side would be to help Trezeguet.

We may also see Luiz or Marvelous come in for Hourihane which will allow the wing backs to get forward while offering them cover.

Predicted XI: Heaton; Elmo, Engels, Mings, Target; Luiz, McGinn, Grealish; Jota, Trezeguet; Wesley.

CC: What is your score prediction?

AVF: I am going to go for a 2-0 home win. As I have already said, I believe we need to get points on the board especially at home.

CC: Great information from Stuart. While there are some Villa fans who expect their team to walk into the top six, Stuart can see that nothing is won easily in the Premier League. I fancy this will be a close match and perhaps there will be one or two mistakes on either side. I don't believe that defence is the strength of either team so I'm going for a 2-2 scoreline.

You should also see in the next couple of days some answers to the questions Stuart set me on the A Villa Fan website about AFC Bournemouth.

T-shirt competition
Yes, it's back while I still have a few shirts to give away. Send in your score prediction for Aston Villa v AFCB to @CherryChimes (make sure you follow me) on Twitter and see if you can win the prize. It's free to enter and if more than one person has the correct score I will pick one from the hat.

In other news, Jordan Ibe has been linked with a loan move away to Celtic, according to The Scottish Sun.