Eddie Howe

Bournemouth strikes early, holds off Villa charge

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Aston Villa returned Villa Park to the Premier League, but a pair of early mistakes allowed Bournemouth three points it didn’t quite earn in a 2-1 match on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Goalkeeper Tom Heaton conceded a penalty in the first minute, converted by Joshua King, and Harry Wilson scored a deflected shot in the 12th minute.

Douglas Luiz scored a beautiful goal in the second half, but that’s all the Villans could muster in the loss.


Three things we learned

  1. Heaton hears a who: The Aston Villa backstop is going to save them more points than he loses them, but his first minute penalty is one he’ll hope to forget.
  2. Eddie Howe‘s men start well again: The Cherries have four points through two matches, and overcome their hiccup against Sheffield United.
  3. Even in defeat, Villa are for real: You won’t make the types of mistakes the hosts made early and find three points often, but Villa controlled play for most of the match and took nearly double the shots of the visitors in a near-flip of their performance on Opening Day at Spurs.

I mean, look at Luiz’s goal:


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Heaton chopped down Callum Wilson just 45 seconds into the match, and Joshua King converted the penalty to give the Cherries a fine start.

It was 2-0 a dozen minutes later when Harry Wilson hit a screamer that deflected to leave Heaton out to lunch.

Villa pounded the pavement to get back into the match, but Eddie Howe was pleased to have only allowed a single goal — Luiz’s beauty (below) — and held on for the win against a very good Villa. From the BBC:

“We looked good on the counter, we had a threat today and could have had more but the third didn’t come. I think the most impressive aspect was how we saw the game out after conceding late last week. It’s a big win to come here and perform the way we did.”

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 1

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We here at ProSoccerTalk are trying to put a new spin on our weekly Premier League power rankings this season, and we’ve got a few weeks to figure out the best way to track the most powerful teams in the world’s top league.

[ MORE: USSF promotes Stewart, hires USWNT GM ]


20. Watford — Many were tipping Watford for bigger things after a very decent 2018-19, and those opinions were rewarded by conceding three goals at home to a club that scored 16 away goals last season. Shoulder shrug emoji?
Last season’s final power ranking: 11
Opening Day: Lost 3-0 v. Brighton and Hove Albion
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Everton

19. Southampton — Maybe Burnley’s Erik Pieters and Ashley Barnes traded bodies with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino, but Saints need to be better than a 3-0 opening day loss to Burnley.
Last season’s final power ranking: 15
Opening Day: Lost 3-0 at Burnley
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Liverpool

18. West Ham United — Not many teams can make Issa Diop look like an episode of “my very first time as a professional.” Ain’t too many teams like Man City.
Last season’s final power ranking: 10
Opening Day: Lost 5-0 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton and Hove Albion

17. Norwich City — Let’s be real: The 4-1 loss to Liverpool could’ve been 6-4. The Canaries created plenty of chances.
Last season’s final power ranking: N/A (Championship)
Opening Day: Lost 4-1 at Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Newcastle United

16. Newcastle United — Arsenal did the St. James’ Park faithful a solid by keeping Lacazette, Pepe, and David Luiz on the bench.
Last season’s final power ranking: 13
Opening Day: Lost 1-0 v. Arsenal
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Norwich City

15. Bournemouth — Eddie Howe‘s teams are usually a bit more savvy against the lower lights of the league.
Last season’s final power ranking: 14
Opening Day: Drew 1-1 v. Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Aston Villa

14. Crystal Palace — Could’ve use Wilfried Zaha in the Starting XI, and how Roy Hodgson settles the Ivorian will go a long way towards its season fate.
Last season’s final power ranking: 12
Opening Day: Drew 0-0 v. Everton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Sheffield United

(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

13. Sheffield United — 33-year-old Billy “Mr. Sheffield United” Sharp getting his first Premier League goal to draw the Blades’ first PL match in years was my favorite moment of the weekend.
Last season’s final power ranking: N/A (Championship)
Opening Day: Drew 1-1 at Bournemouth
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Crystal Palace

12. Chelsea — Frank Lampard is right in that the Blues were better than a 4-0, but he’s also wrong in ignoring Jose Mourinho’s overall point; The young lineup to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Opening Day was as naive as the players in it, even if Mason Mount was a nice surprise.
Last season’s final power ranking: 4
Opening Day: Lost 4-0 at Man Utd
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Leicester

11. Everton — A second-successive season opening red card at Palace. The 0-0 result is respectable, but not great if you want to be a Top Six side.
Last season’s final power ranking: 5
Opening Day: Drew 0-0 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

10. Leicester City — Controlled play but really should’ve been able to get it over the line against a Wolves team who was in Armenia a few days earlier.
Last season’s final power ranking: 8
Opening Day: Drew 0-0 v. Wolves
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Chelsea

9. Wolves — To get a point at Leicester despite playing Thursday in Armenia is solid.
Last season’s final power ranking: 6
Opening Day: Drew 0-0 at Leicester City
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Monday v. Man Utd

8. Aston Villa — Showed discipline under siege.
Last season’s final power ranking: N/A (Championship)
Opening Day: Lost 3-1 at Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

7. Arsenal — The problems Arsenal had winning the ball versus Joelinton, a promising player and big signing, makes you wonder what will happen against Roberto Firmino and Harry Kane.
Last season’s final power ranking: 7
Opening Day: Won 1-0 at Newcastle
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Burnley

6. Burnley — We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: We have too often bet against Sean Dyche, who like his Clarets is tactically smart and physically terrifying.
Last season’s final power ranking: 16
Opening Day: Won 3-0 v. Southampton
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Arsenal

5. Brighton and Hove Albion — Raise your hand if you saw the Seagulls going on the road and professionally out-maneuvering Watford at nearly every turn. Put your hand down. Dishonesty isn’t cool.
Last season’s final power ranking: 17
Opening Day: Won 3-0 at Watford
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham

4. Liverpool — Mohamed Salah was wonderful and Fabinho a treat, but you’d be naive to gloss over another shaky defensive performance after a summer of rough ones.
Last season’s final power ranking: 2
Opening Day: Won 4-1 v. Norwich City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Newcastle United

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

3. Tottenham Hotspur — Thoroughly dominated Aston Villa and, most important, found its way through the packed in back.
Last season’s final power ranking: 3
Opening Day: Won 3-1 v. Aston Villa
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Man City

2. Manchester United — Spare a thought for David De Gea, whose first half allowed for the Red Devils’ standout final half hour.
Last season’s final power ranking: 9
Opening Day: Won 4-0 v. Chelsea
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Monday at Wolves

  1. Manchester City — Raheem Sterling is unfair, and City hasn’t even really worked Joao Cancelo into the mix. And Bernardo Silva was injured.
    Last season’s final power ranking: 1
    Opening Day: Won 5-0 at West Ham
    Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Spurs

Sheffield United snatch late draw at Bournemouth

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Sheffield United struck in the 88th minute to secure a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on Saturday.

The newly-promoted side snatched a point thanks to local lad and club captain Billy Sharp, as he jumped off the bench and scrambled home an equalizer.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Chris Mepham‘s clinical finish had given the Cherries the lead, but Sharp did what he does best as he pounce in the box to send the travelling Blades fans wild.


Three things we learned

1. Fraser, Wilson carrying the Cherries without Brooks. And Bournemouth just looked a little lackluster in attack without their Welsh wizard who is out injured.

2. Blades unfazed by the big time. Very impressive on the ball and deserved their equalizer which was a lovely moment for local lad and captain Sharp.

[ MORE: Sharp, Wilder react to draw ]

3. Bournemouth’s defensive unit looked stronger, then let in another late goal as it was the same old story for Eddie Howe. They looked less dangerous in attack and still conceded, which will be a worry.

Man of the Match: Dean Henderson – Made one stunning save in the second half from Billing and held United’s defense together as Bournemouth piled on the pressure.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Sheffield United started well as goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale denied David McGoldrick who broke free. Ryan Fraser was causing problems out wide for Bournemouth as the Cherries settled into the game.

The Blades looked comfortable enough and were rattling into challenges as Wilder’s side held their own. Adam Smith was booked in the first half but VAR was used to rule out a red card as the game turned into a scrappy affair.

David McGoldrick was played in over the top but arrowed his effort just wide of the far post as the Blades grew in stature.

At the other end Bournemouth’s Phillip Billing forced Dean Henderson into a wonderful save as the Man United loanee denied the Danish midfielder at full stretch.

Moments later Bournemouth took the lead as Ryan Fraser whipped in a free kick to the back post and several players tried to hook the ball goalwards with Henderson denying Callum Wilson, then Mepham arrived to smash home.

Just as it looked like Bournemouth were going to win, Sharp pounced and celebrated wildly with the away fans on the South Coast.

Sheffield United celebrated being back in the big-time in dramatic fashion.

Fifty fearful predictions for 2019-20 Premier League season

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We’re about to start 250-plus days of frenetic, teeth-grinding, pulsating days of Premier League football, so what do you say we have a little fun with what could happen over the next nine months.

[ MORE: Transfer records for all 20 PL clubs ]


1. Virgil Van Dijk will win the 2019 Ballon d’Or.

2. Arsenal will be better than most expect en route to winning a trophy this year.

3. Man City and Spurs will make the deepest runs in the UEFA Champions League (unless drawn against each other early in the knockouts).

4. Harry Kane will be near the top of the Premier League goal charts in August, bucking his early season trend.

5. He won’t win the Golden Boot, though, as Mohamed Salah earns that honor.

6. Christian Pulisic will register double-digit assists for Chelsea, but finish just shy of double-digit goals.

(Photo by David Geieregger/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

7. It will be the other way around for Newcastle record signing Joelinton.

8. Aston Villa’s Dean Smith will finish second in PL Manager of the Year voting, and only because not enough voters will select someone outside the Top Four.

9. Ederson will win the Premier League’s Golden Glove.

10. Norwich City will be the first team to sack its manager.

11. Alexandre Lacazette will have more total goals+assists than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

12. So will Nicolas Pepe.

13. But Aubameyang will finish tied with Harry Kane for second-most goals in the Premier League.

14. Raheem Sterling will win Premier League Players’ Player of the Year.

15. Dele Alli will start less than half of Spurs league matches.

16. A team will be relegated despite reaching the 40 point mark.

17. Watford will lead the league in yellow and red cards.

18. Either Burnley’s Sean Dyche or Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe will take a new coaching job before the end of the season.

19. Ruben Loftus-Cheek will return from injury in the winter and become a key piece of some team’s season, whether at Chelsea or on a half-season loan.

20. Arsenal will lead the league in expected goals per game.

21. Everton will be in the Top Four come Nov. 2’s visit from Tottenham.

22. Liverpool will lose the UEFA Super Cup to Chelsea in penalty kicks, and penalty kicks v. Liverpool will become just about the most useless, annoying buzz topic in English football.

23. Man City won’t lose until Dec. 14 at Arsenal.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

24. At least one $30 million-plus summer transfer will be sold or loaned in January.

25. Once healthy, Kieran Tierney will have a better first 22 games at Arsenal than fellow Scottish import fullback Andy Robertson had at Liverpool.

26. Sheffield United will be top half of the table at the first international break.

27. Marcus Rashford will score 10 goals and 10 assists for Manchester United, but it will be regarded as not enough due to unrealistic expectations.

28. Burnley will not sit above 10th at any point after Week 1.

29. Brighton’s Alireza Jahanbakhsh will rise from his terribly disappointing debut season in England to score at least one otherworldly goal.

30. Mike Ashley will start a new or renewed takeover rumor right before the January transfer window.

31. Marko Arnautovic‘s brother will link his brother with a return to the Premier League in January.

32. VAR will decide a critical, hairline goal in a Man City-Liverpool match.

33. Liverpool will go unbeaten at home.

34. Everton will win a Merseyside Derby.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

35. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will have as many assists as Trent Alexander-Arnold.

36. Josh Sims‘ loan stint with the New York Red Bulls will make him an in-demand transfer target for a PL team in January.

37. Speaking of Southampton, Saints will be in the conversation for a Europa League place before the festive season (Ultimately, the season flames out).

38. At least one non-Top Six team will win a domestic cup.

39. Watford and Crystal Palace see the biggest drop in point total from last season to this.

40. Southampton and Everton make the biggest leap in point total from last season to this.

41. Alexis Sanchez will end up starting matches for Manchester United.

42. Olivier Giroud will match his Premier League best for goals in a season (16, twice).

43. Everton will qualify for Europe.

(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

44. Andy Carroll will score against former clubs West Ham and Liverpool.

45. Ismaila Sarr will score 10 goals as Watford’s record transfer.

46. It will be a breakout season in England for Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, who will look more like the force he was in the Bundesliga.

47. Gabriel Jesus will return to double-digit goals for Man City.

48. West Ham’s Felipe Anderson will post the most assists of any player not on Liverpool or Man City.

49. Jonas Lossl will start 10 or more matches for Everton.

50. Man City will threepeat, and the title will be decided before the final week of the season.

Transfer rumor roundup: Man City, Leicester look to Ake

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With Harry Maguire en route to Old Trafford, the long-anticipated knock-on effect will be felt through the Premier League.

[ MORE: Sane injured ]

Leicester City is being linked with a trio of players, including one from manager Brendan Rodgers‘ old club Celtic.

Burnley’s James Tarkowski, Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake, and Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer are being noted as targets to replace Maguire.

Both of the PL center backs have been outstanding on their respective sides, with Tarkowski attached to a rumored $49 million price tag following another strong season in which he hoofed 6.7 clearances per match and scored three Premier League goals.

While Burnley may be preparing for life without the 26-year-old Tarkowski, it’s difficult to believe Bournemouth would sanction the sale of Ake.

The 24-year-old Dutchman has played in all 76 matches for Eddie Howe over the course of the last two seasons, starting 75 and scoring six goals while completing a sterling 85 percent of his passes.

Ajer, however, has a low $18 million price tag attached by reports, which may be due to his league more than his quality as Arsenal has taken a while to stump up Celtic’s asking price for Kieran Tierney.

Back to Ake, a report says $49 million is the fee as well. But Man City is also being linked with the player, and he absolutely fits the bill of what Pep Guardiola seeks in a defender.

It would be a suave bit of business for Guardiola, as Chelsea has a reported $49 million buyback clause on Ake it cannot activate while under transfer ban.

Ajax is going to look very different next season following its outstanding run to the Champions League semifinals.

The Dutch side has already sold Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) and Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), and now could move on from Donny van de Beek and David Neres.

Van de Beek could be “hours away” from a $60 million move to Real Madrid, according to Marca, while Neres has earned a reported $54 million bid from Manchester United.

Van de Beek had a goal and an assist in Ajax’s season-opening draw at Vitesse on Saturday, while Neres played just eight minutes. American fullback Sergino Dest was an unused sub.