Reaction: Villa take all 3 points at Bournemouth. #avfc #afcb

­The season curtain raiser on the South coast could have been an
absolute banana skin for Villa.  Worse
yet, it could have truly been a nightmare of epic proportions.  Imagine if we had gone to Bournemouth,
a vibrant, newly promoted team…led by Paul Lambert?  I doubt many would have given us a
chance.  As it stands, significant change
has swept through both the management of the club and playing staff.  It showed.

Villa did the business, rode a predictable wave from the home
side, but took the chance when it came.

This is often the difference in the Premier League.  Conversion of chances.  It’s a much repeated notion, but it’s
completely true.

Yes, Bournemouth had their
chances.  They were unfortunate to succumb
to either a lack of composure, some resilient defending or the in-form Brad
Guzan.  Whilst the home side were tidy,
they appeared to lack a cutting edge and looked stretched when Villa moved the
ball in the second half.  Howe was
perhaps sentimental in his team selection yesterday, if I was a Cherries fan, I
would hope to see him mix it up a little in coming weeks.  If not, Bournemouth
may be a little predictable.

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The key moment for Villa came with the introduction of £6m Rudy
Gestede, captured from Blackburn Rovers.
The softly spoken man mountain, fought through a crowd to nail home a
debut winning header.  It’s the stuff
many of us dreamt of when we were growing up.
It rarely, if ever, happens to Villa.
It sparked crazy scenes in the away end and may just have created a new
Holte End hero…

Whilst Gestede will gain rightful plaudits for his precious goal,
there were many who impressed on the day.

Jordan Amavi looks a truly accomplished player.  A joy to watch and have at the club.  For someone so young, his game is mature.  A truly “modern” fullback, his instinct is to
get forward.  There is risk to this, but
it poses a threat to the opposition as well as forcing our backline higher up
the pitch.  Its new for Villa.

Whilst comparisons to players are dangerous to make, you can see
he has grown up watching the modern greats play in that position.  The Cafu’s, Danny Alves’, Bales, Ashley Coles
& Roberto Carlos’ of this world were/are as much known for terrifying the
opposition fullback as for defending.
Whilst it would be bonkers to suggest Amavi is in that type of class, I
am seeing influences upon his game that impress and excite me.  If this is the norm from the Frenchman, we
have some player on our hands.

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Micah Richards debuted well on a number of fronts.  He grew into the match, cut a commanding
figure and is instantly likeable at centre half.  He played well, making numerous
interceptions, reading the game and being assured with what he did.  For a player who was and will be in the
spotlight on his return to the Premier League, if he keeps developing his match
sharpness, he will hopefully become a central figure as we look to kick on as a

Gueye also caught the eye and appears a very gifted player.  Pre-season games illustrated a fine signing
had been netted, but the true test comes in competitive matches.  He looked completely assured and at ease on
the showing at Bournmout.  On this form,
he looks a steal, quietly and efficiently going about his business.  Delph, who?

It would be premature to start professing that Sherwood has
solved our problems and we are a cured football team.  However, the win does mark another milestone
in his attempts to not only change our results, but our mentality.  We need to be winning, naturally wherever
possible.  We caused ourselves no end of
problems last season by losing to the teams around us.  

This cannot be the norm, but is was something we’d become
accustomed to doing.  With complete
respect to Bournemouth, Villa must benchmark
ourselves higher than expecting to lose to them because they’re a tricky opening
away fixture.

This is, afterall, almost how the outlook had become in recent
years.  Villa would rollover at the mere
suggestion of pressure in a difficult fixture.

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Yesterday is small step in our rebuilding.  We soaked up the inevitable pressure, started
to play some football and did a professional job.  It wasn’t always pretty, but we made it count
in the areas of the pitch that mattered.
Also, with the changes in personnel this summer, it enabled Sherwood to
have options that represented something different on the bench.  This is refreshing.  Ultimately, it also won us the game.

It’s great to have three points on the board, it immediately lifts
spirits and takes us into the next few fixtures with some confidence.  The feel, so roller coaster in pre-season,
has been settled by an important win.  It
might not seem so big to outsiders, but it’s a line in the sand for many who
follow our proud, but wayward football club.
It’s a platform, proof we can create a good goal but also defend with
grit when we need to.  This will stand us
in good stead for more challenging moments that will likely befall us across
the season.

Up next, the small matter of Manchester United, in the first
ever Premier League fixture to be held on a Friday night…no pressure lads…but
what is this sudden sense of optimism I feel?