The wait is finally over for Cherries fans as they will see their side play their first ever top-flight match against Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon.
The re-named Vitality Stadium (Dean Court to you and I) will be rocking as Bournemouth seek to continue the attractive style of football which saw them claim the Championship title last season, and Eddie Howe will have earmarked this one as a winnable game.
Sylvain Distin could make his Cherries bow at the heart of the back four, with £8m addition Tyrone Mings set to start at left-back. Further up the field, Max Gradel – who arrived for a second spell at Bournemouth this week having scored 17 Ligue 1 goals for St Etienne last season – and Lee Tomlin are pushing for debuts of their own.
Chelsea loanee Christian Atsu and French striker Yann Kermogant are doubts for the hosts, who will definitely be missing influential central midfielder Harry Arter due to groin and hip trouble.
The visitors arrive on the south coast depleted by the summer departures of Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph. The pressure will be on new signings Jordan Ayew, Rudy Gestede and Idrissa Gueye to fill the void left by arguably Villa’s two best players last season.
Injury-wise, Villa are likely to be without Jack Grealish (hamstring), Jores Okore (knee) and Gary Gardner (ankle), whilst Gabriel Agbonlahor and Carles Gil are doubts. Newly-appointed club captain Micah Richards will make his debut for Tim Sherwood’s side.
Last Meeting: Aston Villa 2-1 Bournemouth (FA Cup), January 25, 2015
Key men: Bournemouth – Matt Ritchie; Aston Villa – Jordan Ayew
Shoot says: Bournemouth 2-1 Aston Villa