Neil Warnock referred to this season as a meandering mystery tour, but two simple goals proved the difference as Bournemouth dampened Cardiff City’s return to the Premier League top table. Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson, who also missed a first-half penalty, swept home to register their first opening-day win since promotion in 2015 but for Cardiff this was a cruel reminder of the task at hand. Warnock said he and his squad were still pinching themselves at being in this position and, while they certainly did themselves no disservice, a little naivety and lack of sting in attack, as the Cardiff manager had feared, ultimately came back to bite them.
They may be reunited in the same division, but these teams are at different stages of their Premier League odysseys. This is Bournemouth’s fourth consecutive top-flight season and the last time Cardiff won this fixture, in 2002, Eddie Howe and his assistant manager, Jason Tindall, were at the heart of the Bournemouth defence. This summer, Warnock was blown out of the water in pursuit of his No 1 target, Jefferson Lerma, the Colombia midfielder who joined Bournemouth for a club-record £25m, with Cardiff spending little more than that on six new faces. Harry Arter, a deadline-day arrival from Bournemouth was ineligible to play against his parent club and Warnock, reluctant to rock the boat after promotion, handed only the bustling Bobby Reid his debut from the off.