How Aston Villa prepare ahead of AFC Bournemouth trip
STEVEN Gerrard is set to begin his first full season in charge of Aston Villa with a trip to Vitality Stadium on Saturday (3pm).
The Liverpool legend and former Rangers boss took charge of Villa Park in November 2021, replacing Dean Smith.
He guided the Villans to a 14th place finish in the Premier League, having picked up just nine points in the last 11 games of the campaign.
But Villa have moved quickly in the summer transfer window to try and boost their chances of moving up the table this season.
Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard
As well as adding new faces to the squad, the Midlands club have secured the services of substitute goalkeeper Robin Olsen and star midfielder Philippe Coutinho on permanent deals.
The pair were on loan at Villa last season, but Coutinho has now completed a £17million move from Barcelona.
He is not the most expensive signing of the summer, however, with centre-back Diego Carlos arriving for £26million from Sevilla.
Highly rated midfielder Boubacar Kamara has also been snapped up on a free transfer from Marseille, while left-back Ludwig Augustinsson has arrived on loan from Sevilla.
In terms of exits, Matt Targett has made a permanent move to Newcastle United, Trezeguet has signed for Trabzonspor and youngster Carney Chukwuemeka moved to Chelsea this week in a deal that could reach £20million.
Former Cherries defender Tyrone Mings faces a battle for his starting spot and has also lost the captain’s armband.
Last week Scottish international John McGinn was named Villa’s new skipper, with goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez as vice-captain and Ashley Young named as the club’s captain.
Discussing the decision to remove Mings from the role, Gerrard said: “Naturally I had to have a discussion with Tyrone Mings and explain my reasons for making this decision.
“More importantly, I believe that not having the responsibility of the captaincy will allow Tyrone to focus more on his own game, which can only benefit him and the team.”
With new signing Carlos set to start at centre-back, Mings is now set to compete with Ezri Konsa, Kortney Hause and Calum Chambers for the other starting spot.
Villa have gone unbeaten throughout their pre-season schedule.
Gerrard’s men cruised to a 4-0 victory at Walsall, before traveling to Australia to face Premier League rivals Leeds United and Manchester United.
A Danny Ings penalty earned a 1-0 win over Leeds, before Leon Bailey and Chambers struck in a 2-2 draw with Man Utd.
Between those two matches, Cameron Archer scored the only goal in a win over Australian side Brisbane Roar.
Villa completed their pre-season program with a 2-1 win at Rennes last weekend, Bailey picking up his third of pre-season, before Carlos picked up a late winner.
HOW THEY MIGHT APPEAR
While Villa have plenty of options, media outlet BirminghamLive have given their planned line-up for the trip to Cherries this weekend.
Villa XI: Martinez, Cash, Chambers, Carlos, Digne, McGinn, Kamara, J Ramsey, Bailey, Coutinho, Watkins.