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Aston Villa: Gerrard must unleash Boubacar Kamara against Bournemouth

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard is facing numerous selection dilemmas as his team return to Premier League action this afternoon.

The Midlands club travel to Bournemouth for a 3pm kick-off and the 42-year-old will be hoping to get off to a winning start against promoted opposition.

Villa enjoyed a bounce when he first replaced Dean Smith last November, winning four of his first six games in charge, but faltered as the 2021/22 season drew to its conclusion, with only two wins from their final 11.

This drop in form could explain why the Villa hierarchy were so keen to back him in the transfer market summer, with no fewer than four permanent signings made and another brought in on loan.

However, one of those moves which may have gone a bit under the radar is the free transfer of Boubacar Kamara.

Bringing in a player with no price tag can lift plenty of pressure from their shoulders, as they might not be burdened so heavily with the weight of expectation. It is for this reason that he must be unleashed in favour of Douglas Luiz, who continues his contract dispute with the club.

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Boubacar Kamara

Boubacar Kamara

Douglas Luiz

Douglas Luiz

Morgan Sanson

Morgan Sanson

Whilst the Brazilian was a mainstay for the Villans last season, with a slew of new talent at the club, he will surely know that his place is no longer as secure as it previously had been.

Despite featuring 34 times in the Premier League last term, he could now be replaced by the Frenchman, who appeared 48 times in all competitions for Marseille in 2021/22.

Kamara could provide an element of defensive steel in the Villa midfield which Luiz might be able to offer, which would therefore allow more freedom to the attackers to make a telling impact in the final third.

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Averaging 1.4 interceptions and two tackles per game in 2021/22, the £105k-per-week French enforcer would offer a stark improvement on Luiz’s match average of one interception and 1.7 tackles.

Once described as a “talented” player by football writer Andrew Gibney, perhaps now that the 22-year-old has his big move to the Premier League, he can truly start to realise his immense potential.

After securing his signature, Gerrard claimed that “Kamara’s going to give us style, he’s going to give us a passing range that I didn’t feel we had”.

The summer signing simply must start today to help Villa dictate the game from the off and dominate a Cherries team who, by their own manager’s admission, appear ill-equipped for top-flight football.