The International Break is over, Grealish and Heaton were back, and Villa Park was jumping on a Monday Night under the lights for the clash against Steve Bruce’s Newcastle.
The lineup was changed with the inclusion of Conor Hourihane and Anwar El Ghazi for Marvelous Nakamba and Trezeguet respectively. Also of note is the change of Ezri Konsa for the injured Bjorn Engles. But as the Villa have been on a three game skid, a result against Newcastle, and the former manager, will be much needed.
The game had been open for the first 10 minutes, with the game running from box to box which had culminated in a chance for El Ghazi as Matt Targett put a fantastic ball across the face of goal but the Dutch winger couldn’t get to the chance.
As the game progressed Villa dominated possession early and flashed a fair bit of crosses in from Matt Targett and Fredric Guilbert which led into a penalty shout for Villa as El Ghazi was brought down in the box, however, the refs did not see it the same way and the game continued on.
Douglas Luiz then flashed next as he tried on of his trademark finesse shots from outside the box. The ball looked beautiful but the Newcastle keeper was equal to the ball and made a fantastic touch save to push it over the crossbar.
Soon after Grealish was pushed down going for a lofted ball over the top by Deandre Yedlin. He was awarded a Free Kick just outside of the Newcastle Penalty area. Grealish, McGinn, El Ghazi, and Hourihane all stood over the opportunity but at the end the Irish Midfielder was allowed to step up. Hourihane calmly stepped up and delivered a beauty of a ball which did beat the Newcastle keeper and ended up in the back of the net.
1-0 to the Villa
After the goal though the Claret and Blue were not done, immediately they were back in possession. Super Jack went on a dazzling run from about half-way and as soon as the Villa Captain was on the edge of the opponents box he was quickly brought down. Again Hourihane stepped up to take the dead ball and placed a pitch perfect ball behind the Newcastle defense which El Ghazi took advantage of.
2-0 to the Villa
Newcastle looked its most dangerous of the half soon after however as they were able to hold some possession and earn a Corner. As Shelvey stepped up to deliver he was able to find a Newcastle man who put in a good downward header at goal but Heaton met the ball well and saved the attempt on goal. A second Corner proved better for the home side as the clearance allowed Grealish to break for the counter. El Ghazi appeared in on goal after a great through ball from the Captain and although the shot from the Dutch winger was true he was called offside and the goal didnt stand.
As the halftime whistle blew the scoreline was Villa 2-0 Newcastle
The Second Half started all Newcastle as they attempted to catch Villa sleeping from the kickoff forcing Tom Heaton into two saves with the latter coming off a good curling ball in which moved from left to right, Heaton stretched out and barely got a hand to it and pushed the attempt wide.
The Villa attempted to respond with a good looking break which involved Grealish, Wesley, Targett, McGinn, and Hourihane which resulted in a decent chance and a corner. During the Corner, Ezri Konsa found himself unmarked and shot a bullet of a header right at the goalkeeper. The second corner off of the save came to initially nothing but Hourihane was fouled in the action on the wing. The Irish midfielder got another opportunity to show his dead ball prowess and again put in a great ball but an individual defensive effort halted the Irishman from having another contribution in the game.
A nervy moment happened in the 60th minute as Allan Saint-Maximin, the best Newcastle player on the day, dribble neatly and placed a cross in to the Villa box which Ezri Konsa nearly cleared into his own goal. Thankfully the ball just went wide for a corner.
Then on the other side of the pitch, Grealish was running the game and had played a couple of neat chances within the box including a clever one-two with McGinn where the Captain took a shot which curled just wide.
In the 66th there was a bit of a break as the Newcastle number 9, Joelinton was down with a bloody mouth and after a long break the striker came back on. Just before this, Andy Carroll was introduced as well as Bruce decided to changed the Newcastle shape.
During the 5 minutes after Wesley did well to hold the ball up for a couple of chances including another for Grealish and Joelinton was subbed off for former baggie Dwight Gayle.
The third from Villa looked assured as Wesley got on to a low cross in the 6 yard box in the 76th but the Brazilian Center Forward wasn’t able to finish effectively and put it right at the Newcastle shot stopper.
Newcastle looked dangerous again in the 79th as Saint-Maximin drifted from side to side and put in a dangerous ball across goal and thankfully no one was able to get on to it.
Unfortunately after this Wesley was awarded a Yellow card in the 80th minute as a the Brazilian wasn’t able to pull back on an headed challenge on Andy Carroll. The resulting Free Kick however came to nothing
In the 83rd minute, Villa was gifted a corner on a poor ball back from the Newcastle defense this was played short and the Villa boys played possession until Grealish was fouled yet again. In the dead ball, Hourihane put in another tantalizing ball but the Newcastle keeper wasnt beat.
In the 90th minute Dean Smith made his first sub as he brought on Lansbury for Hourihane
There were three minutes of extra time were child’s play for the Villa as they took chance after chance and although they were unable to get the third they played beautiful football
The final scored ended Villa 2-0 Newcastle as we take all three points at Villa Park and will hope to repeat this effort against Manchester United at Old Trafford.