BOURNEMOUTH – VILLA PREVIEW
Well, here we are again, at the dawn of a new season. Will this be the year that the current regimes ambitions are realised? The answer to this question will be determined throughout a winter World Cup disrupted season. First up, Villa must negotiate newly promoted Bournemouth at The Vitality Stadium.
After an unbeaten pre-season, Villa come into the new campaign in high spirits. Wins over Walsall, Leeds, Brisbane Roar and Stade Rennais were punctuated only by a draw against Man Utd. Indeed, the United game saw Villa claw back a two goal deficit, snatching an injury time equaliser.
A winning mentality and a gritty resolve are certainly traits that Gerrard demands but also will consistently required if the club are to improve upon an under-achieving 14th position last term.
Villa didn’t dwell in the transfer market either. Coutinho was promptly signed on a permanent deal, Robin Olsen too, with decisive moves for coveted French international midfielder Boubacar Kamara and Seville star Diego Carlos adding further pieces to the jigsaw.
If Villa’s player business has been measured, it stands in contrast to Bournemouth, who have had a decidedly quiet summer. Cherries boss Scott Parker has become increasingly vocal at the lack of transfer activity in recent weeks, indicating that reinforcements are “desperately needed” if his side are to have any realistic outlook other than a relegation battle.
That’s not to say that there haven’t been one or two eyebrow raisers at Villa Park either. The loss of highly-rated youngster Carney Chukwuemeka to Chelsea remains a surprise move, particularly given the youth internationals lack of senior experience and given Purslow managed to extract a £20m fee from the London club.
There was also the recent decision by Gerrard to stamp his mark on the teams captaincy, unceremoniously removing Mings and installing Scottish international John McGinn in his place. It’s a big call, with the significance played down in some quarters, in what stands to be important seasons for either player as Villa look to ascend in the Premier League.
All this boils down to is wanting to get the season started in winning fashion. A victory would set the tone for what we all hope to be an exciting and improved 2022/23 campaign.
VILLA TEAM NEWS
Cash – Konsa – Carlos – Digne
McGinn (C) – Kamara – Ramsey – Bailey
Ings – Coutinho
On the subtitutes bench:
Olsen, Chambers, Mings, Augustinnson, Young, Buendia, Watkins, Archer, Young, Luiz.
**Note that following a Premier League rule change, 5 [FIVE] substitutes are now permitted. Clubs have 3 opportunities to make changes, with up to 9 players permitted to be named on the bench.**