Match: Aston Villa v Bournemouth
Date: Saturday 17th August 2019
Venue: Villa Park
King pen (2), H Wilson (12)
Heaton, Elmohamady, Engels, Mings, Taylor, Luiz, McGinn, Grealish, Trezeguet (Davis 87), El Ghazi (Jota 75), Wesley. Unused subs: Steer, Konsa, Targett, Lansbury, Hourihane.
Story in brief
A brilliant Douglas Luiz goal on his home debut wasn’t enough to prevent a second Premier League setback for Villa.
The Brazilian midfielder sent a superb right-foot shot into the top corner 20 minutes from the end to raise hopes of a point after Dean Smith’s men had gone two-down inside 12 minutes.
Less than 60 seconds had elapsed when Tom Heaton’s challenge on Callum Wilson resulted in a penalty converted by Josh King, and Harry Wilson added a second with a drive which deflected in off Tyrone Mings.
Yet Villa still created enough chances to have been at least on level terms at the interval.
John McGinn forced Aaron Ramsdale into a couple of excellent saves as well as hitting the side netting, while Wesley’s shot on the turn was tipped away by the Bournemouth keeper.
Trezeguet was also unlucky when his shot in first-half stoppage time was blocked on the line, while Jack Grealish, Neil Taylor and Trezeguet all went close in the second half before Luiz reduced the deficit.
Plenty of character and class
Douglas Luiz’s goal wasn’t just a stunning finish. It also emphasised that Villa have signed a player with character as well as class.
The Brazilian midfielder will no doubt still be tormenting himself over the error which led to Bournemouth’s second goal.
But he refused to let it throw him out of his stride, continually displaying strength to hold off opponents and lay the ball off to team-mates.
And what about that wonder goal?
It looked like more frustration when Jack Grealish’s corner was headed clear. But the ball returned to Grealish, who cut in from the left and laid off an inviting pass to Luiz, who quickly controlled the ball before sending it into the top corner from 25 yards.
It was just like watching Brazil…
Mighty McGinn - again
There were several excellent individual displays, with John McGinn underlining just why Villa were so keen to get him on a long-term contract.
Having scored our first Premier League goal of the season at Tottenham, the Scottish midfielder followed up with a perpetual motion performance in which he almost ran himself into the ground.
Apart from his energy and creativity, McGinn was unlucky not to score.
He was twice denied by excellent Aaron Ramsdale saves and sent a thundering angled volley into the side netting.
The VAR verdict
Villa Park’s first VAR verdict did nothing to endear the new system to the claret-and-blue faithful, even though it resulted in the correct decision.
When Brazilian striker Wesley went down under Aaron Ramsdale’s challenge, home supporters immediately appealed for a penalty, and referee Martin Atkinson was alerted to the fact that the incident was worthy of a VAR review.
Much to Villa’s angst, though, the panel deemed that the Bournemouth keeper’s challenge was not enough to warrant a spot kick.
We’re back at Villa Park next Friday when Everton are the visitors for our second home match back in the Premier League.
The game is the most played fixture in league football.
Friday will be the 203rd league meeting between the clubs.