Aston Villa produced another worrying performance away from home, losing to relegation threatened Newcastle.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled to the Northern reaches of St. James’ Park this evening for a tie against the newly rich Newcastle United, hoping to pick up three points following the 3-3 draw against Leeds midweek.
The early game was halted after Fabian Schar picked up a head injury that required treatment – but Aston Villa seemed to come out of the break in play the livelier of the two sides.
The game turned scrappy after a period of Aston Villa dominance, and Newcastle looked to be the team on top. For a period around the half hour mark, it seemed like Newcastle were penning Aston Villa into their own half.
In the 32nd minute, it looked as if Calum Chambers had given away a penalty on his full debut after a clumsy challenge on Willock – but after a VAR check it was revealed that the challenge came just on the edge of the penalty area and a free-kick was awarded. Kieran Tripper stepped up to take the free-kick and fired a bullet shot into the back of the net past Emi Martinez, after a deflection off the knee of Buendia.
Newcastle looked more organised, better in the press and it wasn’t until the dying embers of the half that Aston Villa looked like they could get back into the game. A late shot from John McGinn from outside of the box deflected wide for a corner, which eventually came to nothing.
Aston Villa went in behind at the break.
Newcastle, just after the break, were forced into their second enforced change of the evening. The first, just before the end of the half, saw Dummett replace Manquillo, while Trippier was replaced by Krafth after just a few minutes in the second.
Aston Villa looked better in the second half, but Newcastle still weren’t letting the game lay. In the 60th minute, Gerrard’s side equalised – or so they thought. A shot from Coutinho deflected to the back post where Ollie Watkins was able to head into the net. However, after a VAR review, the goal was disallowed and Watkins was judged to be offside, just, and Newcastle were let off the hook.
In the 72nd minute, Aston Villa made two changes – replacing Emiliano Buendia with Leon Bailey for his return from injury, and Danny Ings coming on for Ollie Watkins.
Aston Villa were still enjoying a better half than their first, but looked no closer to picking up any points than before Watkins’ ruled out goal. In the 84th minute, John McGinn was replaced by Carney Chukwuemeka.
There were seven minutes of added time at the end of the 90.
It was a performance lacking any substance, any true commitment from Aston Villa – and things need to pick up before Watford next week.