Having survived a flurry of Bournemouth chances in the final stages of the first half, the visitors, rejuvenated by the interval, broke the deadlock when substitute Gestede rose highest to connect with Ashley Westwood’s corner on 72 minutes.
Playing in the top-flight for the first time in the club’s 116-year history, Bournemouth’s failure to turn their first half dominance into goals led to a painful lesson in the harsh realities of the Premier League, with Dan Gosling, Callum Wilson and Marc Pugh spurning great opportunities to break the deadlock.
The introduction of new signing Max Gradel briefly reignited the Cherries late on, though, as they pushed for an equaliser, but Villa held on for a third consecutive opening day victory, and manager Tim Sherwood’s first, in the Premier League.
Several summer signings were on show, with Bournemouth’s Joshua King, newly-appointed Villa captain Micah Richards, Jordan Amavi, Jordan Veretout, Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Ayew all making their debuts for their respective clubs.
Despite being the smallest ground in the Premier League, the Vitality was rocking ahead of Bournemouth’s first top-flight game in English football.
And the atmosphere inspired Eddie Howe’s side to a bright first-half display, as last season’s Championship winners created had the better of the first-half chances against a team looking to recover from the loss of their star players from last season – Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph.
Marc Pugh had the hosts’ first sight of goal when he headed over before Gosling missed a gilt-edged chance to the scoring 10 minutes before the interval.
After some confusion in the Villa area, Micah Richards failed to take the opportunity to clear his lines. The ball then dropped in front of Gosling who, leaning back, steered his effort a yard wide of the Villa goal from 12 yards.
And soon the Cherries wasted another chance as Wilson raced clear of Ciaran Clark and shot straight at Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Guzan was called into action on the stroke of half-time as again as Pugh’s volley was desperately parried away from goal by the Villa stopper.
But Sherwood’s half-time team-talk had the desired effect as Villa produced a far more dynamic second half display.
Gueye was close to scoring on his debut when he met Gabriel Agbonlahor’s pull-back with a shot that drew a good save from Artur Boruc.
With Villa showing more intent, Sherwood sent on Gestede in place of the Ayew – who struggled to make an impact – and the 26-year-old was quick to threaten the Bournemouth goal as he sent a volley just wide.
And Sherwood’s switch paid dividends in the 72nd minute when Gestede rose highest to power his header past Boruc.
Gradel’s introduction by Howe almost paid off for Bournemouth as the Ivory Coast winger – who signed from Saint-Etienne last week – teed up Wilson, who saw a header towards goal cleared by Clark.
But they couldn’t find a way through as Villa crashed Bournemouth’s party to claim a valuable opening-day victory.
Soccer Saturday verdict – Phil Thompson
Bournemouth tried to pass it from the back and build it from the middle, but they didn’t deliver enough from the flanks. They were getting there but there wasn’t enough quality coming into the box. They did well enough but I think Eddie Howe would be disappointed they didn’t create more. There wasn’t enough cutting edge but what it will have told them is when you get those chances at this level, you have to take that chance and they had the chances in the first half and Villa got very comfortable in the game.
Sherwood was seeing they got on top in the game and they took Ayew off. He sensed the game was there for them. He got it absolutely spot on and it was a typical Gestede goal with his head. Jordan Amavi on the left hand side is a great player. Blistering pace, knocking it into space and he could do his job defensively. Gueye in midfield played very well. A lot of players were tiring but he didn’t.
Bournemouth: Boruc (7), Francis (6), Elphick (7), Cook (7), Daniels (6), Ritchie (8), Gosling (7), Surman (7), Pugh (6), King (6), Wilson (7).
Used subs: O’Kane (6), Gradel (6), Kermorgant (5).
Aston Villa: Guzan (7), Bacuna (6), Richards (7), Clark (8), Amavi (8), Veretout (6), Gueye (7), Westwood (6), Sinclair (7), Ayew (6), Agbonlahor (6).
Used subs: Gestede (8), Sanchez (5), Richardson (6).
Man of the Match: Rudy Gestede.