Bournemouth 2-0 Aston Villa: goals from Jefferson Lerma and Kieffer Moore give the Cherries an excellent start to life back in the Premier League, as Steven Gerrard’s Villa struggle to create chances
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It’s been a fairytale summer for Kieffer Moore, who completed a remarkable personal journey to fire Bournemouth to a dream start back in the Premier League.
Ten years ago this week, he was beginning an arduous campaign with Truro City down in English football’s sixth tier, while earning his keep as a part-time lifeguard at a local pool.
Jefferson Lerma scored the first goal of the game in Bournemouth’s clash with Aston Villa
So it’s fair to say his start to life in the best league in the world began swimmingly, his late header confirming a pleasing three points for Scott Parker’s Cherries.
It came nearly 80 minutes after Jefferson Lerma had opened the scoring, as Bournemouth put in a superbly balanced performance to swat aside Steven Gerrard’s big-spending Aston Villa.
It is not uncommon to see a newly-promoted side start the season well but Bournemouth’s fast-and-furious approach from the off seemed to stun Villa.
Keiffer Moore sealed the win with a goal after 80 minutes to take the score to 2-0
Just one minute and 52 seconds were on the clock when Jefferson Lerma fired the Cherries into an early lead, pouncing on a loose ball after Villa failed to defend a corner.
The Vitality Stadium is by far the smallest in the division but, as many big clubs will recall from their last stint in the Premier League, it is a raucous little ground and tricky to visit.
Bournemouth continued to play fast, zapping football and Dominic Solanke might have extended their lead if not for a smart stop from Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez.
Aston Villa’s forwards struggled to trouble Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium
Solanke is a different animal than we last saw in the top flight. He managed just four goals in their relegation campaign but struck 30 last season, and has developed a predators’ instinct.
As for Villa, this was a typical season-opener performance in the first half. They were lethargic in possession and struggled to get Philippe Coutinho into the match.
The Brazilian took a hefty pay-cut – albeit hardly scraping the barrel at £120,000 a week – to reunite with former pal Steven Gerrard on a permanent deal and will be crucial this season.
One wondered if his creative talents were wasted on the left wing in the first half and Gerrard changed this at half-time with an aggressive substitution.
Emi Buendia came on, allowing Coutinho to get on the ball more in central areas, but neither of their South American creators could impact the game.
That was testament to Bournemouth’s steely defensive play. Parker’s side looked well drilled and goalscorer Lerma, a midfielder by trade, excelled in a back three.
Bournemouth’s excellent defence largely kept Villa out of the game
When you assess Bournemouth, it’s easy to see why Parker publicly lambasted the board for a lack of signings this summer.
They made just three additions – two of which were free transfers. The only one which cost any money, £10million Marcus Tavernier, looked excellent.
Tavernier, signed from Middlesbrough, played just off the strike duo of Moore and Solanke and drove the Cherries forward on counter-attacks with searing runs.
It looked like this match was heading towards an inevitable equaliser as Bournemouth’s defence got deeper and deeper to see out the win, but in a rare foray forward they doubled their lead.
Lloyd Kelly, another member of the stellar back three, put in a floating cross to pick out Moore.
Time seemed to stand still as the 6ft 5in unit hung in the air and simply caressed the ball with his head into the far corner past Martinez.