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Harsh lessons and bizarre debuts – what we learned from Aston Villa’s defeat to Bournemouth


Errors get punished and Aston Villa’s defeat at home to Bournemouth was another case of Welcome to the Premier League – and boy have they got to learn quick.

It was the worst-possible start on a day which was a real carnival atmosphere as Premier League football returned to Villa Park for the first time in 1,197 days.

The crowd performed wonders before kick-off, it was spine-tingling stuff as the claret and blue fan base packed into the famous old stadium and gave as good as they got. It was deafening at times and the atmosphere was electrifying.

But it was a disastrous 12-minute spell which ultimately cost Dean Smith’s men as Joshua King and then Harry Wilson punished Villa before a brilliant Douglas Luiz goal attempted to drag Villa back into it. Here’s what Our Man at Villa learned from a tough, tough defeat.

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VILLA MUST CUT OUT ERRORS

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The Premier League is relentless. Bournemouth came flying out of the blocks and, you could say, the incredible atmosphere got the better of Dean Smith’s players with Tom Heaton unexpectedly sprinting out to send Callum Wilson crashing to the floor after just 46 seconds. Twelve minutes later it was 2-0 and that, pretty much, was that. Villa must cut out errors and box clever and play the percentages. You got punished at this level where, in the Championship, Villa could have gotten away with a few. Not here though as Bournemouth proved. Premier League teams are also much smarter with the Cherries slowing the game down at times to take the sting out of Villa’s rampant tails. It was last week all over again, errors punished and Villa were made to pay. Villa must learn quickly.

MCGINN IS PREMIER LEAGUE

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John McGinn was, at times, Villa’s one-man band and tried desperately to get his team going. He’d often take quick free-kicks just to get on with things. Had two audacious efforts saved and smash against the side netting but it just wasn’t to be. The charged-up Scot was outstanding in the first half and was clearly upset at going 2-0 down. Second half he tried to rally again but it just wouldn’t come. If there was anyone doubting his Premier League credentials, they better think again. He’s Villa’s main man all right and the 24-year-old is absolutely crucial this season. So unlucky to be on the losing team.

VILLA PARK DEAFENING

The atmosphere at Villa Park was truly incredible. It made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, such was the loud, passionate and desperate tones as the Villa faithful did all they could to help the players. It was such a shame they were two goals down after just 10 minutes because, had the game gone on longer at 0-0, the chances would have came and the crowd would got the better of Bournemouth, I’m sure of it. Villa Park will continue to sell out each week and it’ll continue to make LOTS of noise. It’s just no ideal conceding two after 10 minutes. The penalty after less than a minute knocked the stuffing out of Villa in truth, it immediately put them on the back foot. It’s Everton under the lights on Friday and the sell-out Villa faithful will be ready to go again. Home form, as everyone knows, is crucial this season if Villa are to steer clear of relegation.

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NO FAVOURS

Newly-promoted Villa are just a small fish in a big pond in the big league and referee Martin Atkinson gave Smith’s side absolutely nothing. Atkinson seemed to favour the Cherries and refused to buckle amidst the heat of the Villa Park crowd.

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He wrongly didn’t give Philip Billing a second booking for a foul on Jack Grealish after he completely missed it. Last season, Villa were the big dogs in the Championship and won fouls for fun but, in the Premier League, they’re going to have to roll up their sleeves and get on with it. The be all and end all, though, is Villa must do better.

DOUGLAS A MAVERICK

It was one of the most bizarre Villa Park debuts in recent memory: a player who looked lost and really up against it, made a howler of an error which ultimately cost Villa before slowly growing into the game and thumping in a screamer from all of 30 yards.

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There’s enough to suggest he can become a real gem and you can see why Pep Guardiola raved about him but today would have been a massive learning curve for him. His manager afterwards said he wanted the Brazilian to move the ball quicker after being found almost like a rabbit in the headlights as he struggled with the fast and furious pace of the opening stages, Joshua King and Callum Wilson pouncing on him when they dropped deep. But what a goal he scored. He circled his arms aloft and pumped up the crowd but, in the end, it was all too little too late. It was a real maverick performance from the slight 21-year-old.



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