BOURNEMOUTH 0 ASTON VILLA 1:
Rudy Gestede needed just 13 minutes of his Aston Villa debut to score and took just seconds to endear himself to his new supporters.
The summer signing from Blackburn Rovers took this opening-day encounter by the scruff of the neck with an impressive debut, suggesting he can be the player to replace Christian Benteke.
The Benin international is a throwback to the traditional English target man but it was his will to win which was most obvious on a carnival day on the south coast.
After entering the pitch on the hour, Gestede immediately ran to the travelling contingent and gestured for them to spur on the team. On 72 minutes it worked as Gestede rose beautifully to head home Ashley Westwood’s corner.
“It’s very hard to defend against him,” said Villa boss Tim Sherwood. “It is going to be a nightmare for a lot of defenders and it’s going to be up to us to create those chances.
“It is not only his jump. It is his accuracy as well. He throws his whole body at it and defenders invariably want to get out of the way.
“He is like a moving car. You don’t mind standing in front of a parked one but you want to move out the way when it is coming at 30mph.”
Defeat was cruel on Bournemouth, but Eddie Howe’s side can draw strength from their performance, particularly Callum Wilson’s pace up front and the trickery of new signing Max Gradel.
“There were plenty of positives but on immediate reflection obviously we are gutted,” said captain Tommy Elphick. “I felt we had more chances and more possession, certainly first half but it is a huge lesson to be learned.”
Boruc 6; Francis 6, Elphick 7, Cook 6, Daniels 6; Ritchie 7, Gosling 7 (O’Kane 84), Surman 7, Pugh 7 (Gradel 69, 6); King 6 (Kermorgant 53, 6), Wilson 7.
Guzan 6; Bacuna 6, Richards 7, Clark 6, Amavi 7; Veretout 5 (Sanchez 71, 6), Gueye 7, Westwood 7, Ayew 6 (Gestede 59, 8), Sinclair 6 (Richardson 78); Agbonlahor 6.
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