Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa were all over the place as they crashed to an opening day defeat to Bournemouth.
Aston Villa and Bournemouth headed into their opening game of the 2022/23 Premier League season in two different routes. The former were coming off the back of an excellent transfer window and a successful pre-season campaign, while the latter had little joy on both fronts.
Come crunch time, however, it was Bournemouth who made it count as they secured an important three points on opening day. The Vitality Stadium was buzzing as the Cherries returned to the Premier League, and their players channelled in the support to put in an exceptional shift.
Jefferson Lerma caught Aston Villa cold in the second minute, handing the home side an early lead. Steven Gerrard’s side, to their credit, tried to hit back immediately and went close courtesy of Danny Ings and Jacob Ramsey.
Bournemouth remained dangerous on the counter and could have extended their lead further had their players been more clinical. They were not to be denied as Kieffer Moore put the result beyond doubt with a thunderous header that gave Emiliano Martinez no chance in the 80th minute.
After 28 games, Steven Gerrard's win % record at Aston Villa is the same as Gary Neville's at Valencia.
Won – 10
Drawn – 5
Lost – 13
Win % – 35% pic.twitter.com/3KNPUT37IE
— bet365 (@bet365) August 6, 2022
Despite the gulf in quality, Aston Villa looked off the pace and lacked fight, especially as the game wore on. They will be expected to vastly improve on their 14th-placed finish last season. Having been backed in the summer handsomely, the onus is on Gerrard to deliver. Unless their form picks up soon, the Villians will be in for a difficult campaign. The Hard Tackle looks at how the Aston Villa players fared on the night.
Emiliano Martinez: 5/10
The Argentine cannot be blamed for either of Bournemouth’s goals as he was left high and dry by the players ahead of him. He made an excellent save early on to deny Dominic Solanke, keeping his side in the game. Martinez was also commanding enough to claim several crosses and did what he could to calm down the Aston Villa rearguard.
Matty Cash: 5/10
The 24-year-old was one of Aston Villa’s better players and looked up for the game. Cash got forward whenever he could and looked to be playing at a higher intensity than his teammates. Unfortunately, there is only so much difference you can make from right-back if the other players don’t turn up.
Ezri Konsa: 4/10
Dominic Solanke and Kieffer Moore both got the better of Konsa, who looked shaky and far from assured. He often came out second best in duels and did not instil confidence in the backline. The 24-year-old will need to step up his game in the clashes to come.
Diego Carlos: 4/10
The Brazilian defender looked determined and was physically competent on his Premier League debut. He struggled with the ball and was less than assured in his decision-making. He could, however, be excused given the nature of the Premier League and the need to get used to it. It was in many ways, a debut to forget.
?? Diego Carlos vs Bournemouth:
• 90 minutes
• 0 tackles
• 0 interceptions
• 0 blocks
• 0 ground duels won
• 0 aerial duels won
• 7 long balls completed
FT? 2-0 loss.
Tyrone Mings watching ? pic.twitter.com/u6XZNekXIM
— Matchday365 (@Matchday365) August 6, 2022
Lucas Digne: 4/10
The Frenchman lacked the cutting edge and barely did anything of note to make a difference. With former club Everton up next, Digne has to pull up his socks and show his worth. Unless he can improve massively, the left-back spot will be an issue for Aston Villa this season.
Boubacar Kamara: 5/10
The Frenchman impressed on his league debut and was a lively presence in the middle of the park for the visitors. Kamara also went the closest to finding the back of the net for Aston Villa, watching his 25-yard effort go just wide. Notwithstanding the result, it was a promising debut for a player who could have a huge role to play this season.
John McGinn: 5/10
The new Aston Villa skipper could not have asked for a worse start to the campaign. The Scottish international was his usual energetic self and showed intent to get stuck in whenever possible. Whether it was the nerves or the weight of the armband, McGinn also made several mistakes when in possession on the night. While his efforts can not be questioned, the application was lacking throughout the game.
Jacob Ramsey: 3/10
The 21-year-old was disappointing on Saturday and barely got involved. Ramsey forced a good save from Mark Travers in the first half but did little of note otherwise. Ramsey picked up a yellow card for his troubles and was promptly hauled off for Emiliano Buendia at half-time.
Leon Bailey: 4/10
The Jamaican international looked off the pace and found little joy against a tight Bournemouth defence. He looked a shadow of his pre-season self and struggled to show any inspiration going forward. Disappointing would be an understatement.
Philippe Coutinho: 3/10
The Brazilian might as well have turned out in his Barcelona jersey as he was found wanting all game. In a game where his vision and creativity were needed, Coutinho was nothing short of a passenger and offered precious little. Truly an abject performance by the 30-year-old.
Coutinho has been dreadful. This is a guy who is supposed to be world class being made to look conference by Bournemouth
— Ant (@AJ3point0) August 6, 2022
Danny Ings: 5/10
The Englishman looked the most likely player to score for Villa on the night and went close twice. He got the nod over last season’s top scorer Ollie Watkins but failed to make it count. Ings also earned himself a yellow card for his troubles.
Emiliano Buendia: 5/10
The Argentine came on for Ramsey at half-time and was an instant upgrade on the 21-year-old. While Buendia tried to get the ball rolling, Bournemouth stayed resolute and didn’t yield an inch for him to exploit.
Ollie Watkins: 4/10
Aston Villa’s top scorer from last season, the Englishman replaced Ings in the 66th minute as Gerrard sought to turn things around. Watkins failed to register a single effort on goal and struggled to break down a resolute Bournemouth backline.
Cameron Archer: 4/10
The youngster replaced Coutinho and matched the Brazilian’s output on the night. He barely got a kick to make an impact.
Douglas Luiz: 4/10
The Brazilian was energetic after coming on but failed to make a positive impact. Luiz grew frustrated as the game wore on and earned himself a yellow card for his troubles.