Bournemouth win on top-flight return as Lerma and Moore sink Aston Villa

Perhaps Scott Parker’s frank forewarning was a feat of kidology. Bournemouth’s manager did not sugarcoat his words in the buildup to their first Premier League game in two years, saying his squad was under-resourced and weaker than the one promoted from the Championship. The reality is Bournemouth totally outsmarted an Aston Villa team fresh from a summer facelift. The hosts flew out of the blocks, Jefferson Lerma leathering in on three minutes after feasting on some poor Villa defending, and they doubled their advantage with 10 minutes to play when Kieffer Moore headed in unchallenged. Bournemouth deserved victory on their return to this level but for Steven Gerrard, who acknowledged his side need to walk the walk after a positive pre-season, this alarming display will have provided a rude awakening.

For Villa it was an afternoon reminiscent of their opening-day defeat to Watford last season, when a promoted team wiped the floor with them and they trailed 3-0 inside 67 minutes. As stoppage time ticked away Gerrard stood forlorn on the edge of his technical area, hands in pockets. Bournemouth took the lead from an early corner, Lerma hammering home after Lloyd Kelly nodded Marcus Tavernier’s floated ball back across the box. If that made uncomfortable viewing for Gerrard on the touchline then Moore’s header, which stemmed from a Bournemouth free-kick, was an equally painful watch. Kelly was allowed to swing in a high cross from the byline and both Boubacar Kamara, who along with Diego Carlos wilted on debut, and Matty Cash seemed reluctant to challenge, to the delight of Moore who picked his spot.

“It was extremely disappointing,” Gerrard said. “I don’t think we can have any complaints. We only have ourselves to blame. We’ve worked on set plays all week – we spoke about the profile in the opposition team and we said that it was very important not to give set plays away. But it’s important we don’t just focus on the two set-play goals we conceded because across the board we didn’t have enough quality. We never crossed the ball well enough, we never showed enough invention. We couldn’t find the answers in the final third. That’s on me, that’s on us.”

The towering Moore showed some cute touches throughout and Ben Pearson was a ubiquitous presence in midfield, where Villa seemed to lose almost every battle. Pearson, who had to make do with a runout for the development squad last weekend, earned an ovation after cleanly raking the ball from John McGinn, the new Villa captain, seconds before Lerma clawed the ball from the ineffective Philippe Coutinho, who was withdrawn late on. “It was crisis defending at times when we needed it,” Parker said. “Coming here needs to be uncomfortable [for teams].”

Gerrard ditched his suit blazer at the break, presumably after delivering a few home truths, at which point Emi Buendía entered in place of Jacob Ramsey, who was booked just before half-time for tugging at Pearson. For Villa it was a moment that typified a frustrating first half and moments earlier Coutinho tripped Tavernier, who was superb on debut after arriving from Middlesbrough this week. Midway through the second half Tavernier sent an inviting outside-of-the-boot pass towards the front post in search of Moore to no avail but the Wales striker would later provide some welcome breathing space. Moore’s first goal at this level capped a decade-long journey from the Conference South to the Premier League.

Bournemouth made the odd panicked clearance but Villa failed to strain their makeshift defence. Parker is thin on numbers – he has three orthodox centre-backs – but you would never have guessed it. Mark Travers was untroubled in goal and Lerma, one of four survivors from the team relegated two years ago, was accomplished on the right of a three-man defence. The Bournemouth captain, Kelly, shone on the other side of Chris Mepham, who seized responsibility. Kamara sent a shot swerving wide from 25 yards and Coutinho a strike into the hoardings but this was another abject start.