Aston Villa opened their Premier League campaign this evening away at Newcastle, with Moussa Diaby making his league debut. Tyrone Mings’ injury was the major talking point.

Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy


Aston Villa opened their Premier League campaign this evening, away at St. James’ Park to face Eddie Howe’s Champions League outfit, Newcastle.

It was a quick start from Newcastle at the home side took the early incentive. Aston Villa’s backline found themselves struggling to build from the back and losing possession rather easily. It was Emery’s side’s aversion to keeping possession that lead to them conceding first, as Anthony Gordon was able to float a ball across the box for new signing Sandro Tonali to volley past Emiliano Martinez on his Premier League debut.

It was a day for the debutants on Tyneside, however, and Moussa Diaby was the player to equalise for Aston Villa. Lucas Digne chipped a soft ball into the box that Ollie Watkins was able to nod towards the back post – where Diaby was waiting to pass a controlled volley on his weaker right foot past Nick Pope by the 11th minute.

A few minutes later and Newcastle found themselves ahead again. A lofted free kick was played towards the back post before the ball was squared across the box by Botman, for Isak to rocket past a rooted Martinez. A sloppy display from both sides in the opening 20 minutes – with the Villans coming away the worse for wear.

In the 25th minute, Aston Villa were forced into making a change as Tyrone Mings slipped during a tussle with Isak. Mings was down for quite some time, before needing to be stretchered off the pitch with his leg held in a brace. It looked like a potentially awful injury and Mings was visibly upset as he left the pitch. Pau Torres replaced him.

Aston Villa looked the more dangerous of the sides following the injury and went close through Diaby whose shot struck the side netting.

There were ten minutes of added time at the end of the half. Emiliano Martinez was booked for a foul on Miguel Almiron in the 54th minute, as the goalkeeper rushed out of his box and pushed the forward over.


The second half saw Leon Bailey, who had been struggling with the pace of the game throughout the first half, replaced by Youri Tielemans.

In the 58th minute, Ezri Konsa gifted Isak a golden opportunity by failing to clear the ball and allowing Isak to sneak behind him and lob Emiliano Martinez to make it three for the home side. Aston Villa were beginning to look rattled at St. James’ Park.

John McGinn was replaced by centreback Diego Carlos in the 63rd minute, as Aston Villa opted to adjust their formation. Matty Cash was presented with an excellent opportunity in the 65th minute, but fired his shot well over the bar rather than toward the open part of Pope’s net.

Newcastle started, if they hadn’t already, to run away with the game in the 77th minute. Further sloppy defending allowed Harvey Barnes to play a ball across the box for Callum Wilson to poke past Martinez.

There could have been further embarrassment for Emery’s side just minutes later if it was not for Ollie Watkins. The Villa forward was able to scoop Joelinton’s header off the line, after the Brazilian rose above Martinez and headed towards goal.

Villa’s final two changes came in the form of Jaden Philogene-Bidace and Philippe Coutinho replacing Moussa Diaby and Matty Cash.

In the 91st minute, Newcastle completed their rout as Villa’s bogeyman Harvey Barnes raced beyond the defensive line and curled an effort past Martinez.

A poor display from Unai Emery’s side on their return to the Premier League football this evening – which could be put down to being shellshocked by the Tyrone Mings injury. Regardless – the early periods of the game set the tone and Aston Villa’s display was sloppy for the full 90 minutes. Back to the drawing board ahead of Everton next week.


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