Bournemouth-Aston Villa Preview

The Associated Press

Aston Villa's return to the Premier League is not off to a positive start. The same can be said for Bournemouth.

Both sides look for that to change Saturday when they meet at Villa Park.

Playing their first Premier League match since the 2015-16 campaign, Villa fell 3-1 at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend. Things got off to a stellar start for the Villans, with John McGinn's opening goal in the ninth minute. The visitors maintained that 1-0 advantage until Spurs leveled in the 73rd, and a Harry Kane brace followed, beginning in the 86th minute, to end Villa's dream of opening victory.

Now, Villa gets to play in front of its home supporters for the first time back in the top-flight. They went a solid 12-8-4 at Villa Park last season in the Championship and won six of their final eight at the grounds. However, the task is obviously greater in the Premier League.

"It'll be a challenge for us," manager Dean Smith told Villa's official website. "No game in this league is easy. We have to go and perform."

Villa and Bournemouth have not played since the former's most recent time in the Premier League. The squads split the two meetings during 2015-16, with each winning on the other's pitch.

"(Bournemouth) are a well-coached team, and (manager Eddie Howe) rightly gets a lot of plaudits for what he's done there," Smith added.

What Howe's Cherries will try to do this weekend is successfully move on from a frustrating 1-1 home draw against another top-flight newcomer in Sheffield United. Bournemouth went ahead in the 62nd minute on Chris Mepham's goal, and it looked as if they were headed to a season-opening triumph. However, Billy Sharp stunned the Vitality Stadium faithful when he equalised on 88 minutes.

The Cherries hope the lost points won't be something that will haunt them down the road in the Premier League, yet understand the value of simply getting something for the effort.

"Two points are massive, and I think every point you respect so much at this level, and that's why we have to respect the point we got," a frustrated Howe told Bournemouth's official website. "It's not the ideal start for us. We had hoped to perform better and to win. But, you have to take what you are given and take your lessons and learn from them quickly."

Bournemouth went 5-1-13 on the road last season, a mark that proved to be a disappointment considering three of those victories came from their first five matches away from home.

Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings was credited with an assist last weekend. He spent the previous four seasons with Bournemouth.

What to Read Next