Aston Villa at Bournemouth: A tricky opener for Sherwood but one where three points are on offer

I have to tell you, I've enjoyed the break and happy there was no tournament involving England this summer and even though I know the ultimate result of this season before we kick off, I'm really looking forward to today and to some extent the rest of the transfer window.

There is something about the hope that it can be our season, even though we know it's not going to be. But one of the things that surprises me most about this season is the view on Aston Villa by so many of the pundits and bookmakers. Bournemouth are the clear favourites today with the bookmakers and all the pundits I'm reading before kick off have us down as finishing between twelfth and fifteenth; are things really that bad?

Don't get me wrong, losing Delph, Cleverley and Benteke would hit most teams, but with those players we finished 17th last season, so they were hardly as influential as we thought and the manager has brought in players, much like Lambert brought in Benteke; with promise.

And all these players will have a point to prove and they are his players. It's feasible that come September, we're starting an Aston Villa XI that are all new players this season. For the record, I think we will win today and I think we'll finish above 12th.

Team news and updates

I think it's fair to say that Gil and Crespo won't be making an appearance today and based on comments from the manager earlier in the summer, we should expect these two to start, so again it's fair to say that this isn't going to be his preferred starting eleven, but I do believe it's one that can beat Bournemouth.

Click here to get 14/5 on Aston Villa to beat Bournemouth today or do as I did and have a treble on Everton, Chelsea and Aston Villa and get 9/1.

I don't mean any disrespect to Bournemouth but how have the bookmakers made them even money favourites when so many have predicted that they'll go down and us to finish in a much higher position? Things don't add up to me. Don't get me wrong, they'll be upsets today and I'd not be putting any money on the early kick off, but I think there is a point to prove here for Tim Sherwood and this is a massively important match for him.

And as I wrote yesterday(I hope I wrote this), it's all about how we go into this game mentally. As long as we go into this game and every other game this season with the absolute desire that we must win and at all costs, then I believe we can.

We'll have the full team news just before kick off and it's going to be a great match to watch. Any predictions?

Video of the day

The team

Players today are Guzan, Bacuna, Richards, Clark, Amavi, Veretout, Gueye, Westwood, Ayew, Gabby and Sinclair. On the bench we have Bunn, Baker, Cole, Hutton, Sanchez, Gestede and Richardson.