An opening day win for Aston Villa away from home and a clean sheet to boot is exactly the way Tim Sherwood would have wanted to start the new season.
In the sweltering heat on the south coast the Villa backline had to withstand some fleetingly worrying Bournemouth moments but ground out a solid result with a thoroughly well taken set piece from £6m debutant Rudy Gestede in the 72nd minute.
Here is how Aston Villa's players rated for me on opening day.
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Brad Guzan - 7.5
Still question marks over his distribution but showcased his shot stopping skills, notably denying Pugh on the stroke of half time. A solid performance and undoubtly Villa's number 1.
Leandro Bacuna - 7
Looked to give Villa width down the right and get forward, looked relatively assured but will need to prove himself more if he is to make the right back position his own.
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Micah Richards - 7
Used his physicalness to get him out of a few tricky spots, at points looked very assured and others looked abit out of his depth. However, a clean sheet is a great start and he will look to build on this performance.
Ciaran Clark - 7.5
As will this man. Dependable performance from the centre half who looks like he could turn in a big season. Lots of clearances and looked comfortable.
Jordan Amavi - 9
My man of the match. Up and down the wing all day long and isnt afraid to out his foot in. Is going to cause untold problems for right backs this year with his pace and looks defensively assured before looking understandably tired at the end. No doubt though a great player with a big future.
Ashley Westwood - 7.5
Shielded the defence well and put in a dependable performance whilst ticking play over when Villa had the ball. Great driven delivery for the goal.
Jordan Vertout - 6.5
Our first chance to see the highly rated frenchman and played okay. Before being replaced he showed some nice touches and passes, needs to get up to speed before we see his best but a solid start.
Idrissa Gueye - 8.5
A big positive for Villa. Breaking up play well throughout and not afraid to push forward. Bags of energy and running, "Gana" is going to be another key man this season.
Scott Sinclair - 6.5
Like Villa's other three starting forwards looked isolated in the first half. Showed positive running when given an opportunity and was willing to get back but was largely obsolete before being subbed.
Jordan Ayew - 6
Was a debut to forget unfortunately for the Ghanian. Showed a few good touches but was completely isolated before being replacing, hopefully a lot more to come.
Gabby Agbonlahor - 7
Completely isolated in the first half with just four touches in the first 30 minutes but livened up in the second half and showed a game long willingness to run. As is too often was lacking the end product to his play but was a handful.
Rudy Gestede - 8
The match winner proved Sherwood's words with his winner, towering above everyone to power in the winner. Held the ball up fantastically well and his impact was very noticeable. If given the right service could bag a lot of goals this year.
Carlos Sanchez - 6.5
Added some much needed steel to Villa's midfield and put himself about, hard to make much of an impression in less than 20 minutes.
Keiran Richardson - 6
Came on to cover the flagging Jordan Amavi and looked professional, again no time to make an impression though
What were your opinions on the players? Let us know in the comments section below.
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