Aston Villa are catching up with the rest of the Premier League in terms of matches played, with tonight’s rescheduled match versus Newcastle.
This Newcastle side has been struggling recently, and Villa were looking for their first win in 2021 after all of the postponed games. Villa have only faced Chelsea, Manchester United, and then Manchester City before this in the new year, keep in mind.
The only change to Villa’s ‘typical’ lineup now with Ross Barkley back was John McGinn suspended for today’s match because of his accumulated five yellow cards. Marvelous Nakamba slid right in the lineup and played his role quite well. Also remember, Dean Smith watched from the stands because of his sending off Wednesday at Manchester City.
Steve Bruce missed seeing his replacement on his return to Villa Park, but that had no impact on how either side was going to come out.
Just after the 13’, Ollie Watkins got back on the scoresheet, just barely staying onside behind the ball when it was played. Matt Targett’s cross in was blocked straight up into the air by Newcastle’s Fabian Schär and Watkins got there before the keeper to head the goal home.
Villa really kicked on from there, with crosses in, corner kicks, free kicks starting to pile up, with a couple of half chances coming here and there for both sides but Villa seeing more of the pressure.
Ollie Watkins thought he had another goal in the 34’ after a nice run in from the wing, but he was correctly flagged offside after he put the ball past the keeper with his left foot.
Villa’s possession and pressure wound up coming to another goal, this time after a corner kick popped out to Bertrand Traore. The winger played it out to Jack Grealish to dance a little bit on the ball before he found Traore back through. Traore hit it perfectly first-time with his right foot, smashing the underside of the crossbar and in for Villa’s second.
2-0 Villa at the half, and it didn’t look like much was going to change in the end.
A bunch of chances as Villa continued to attack in the second half, but Ollie Watkins couldn’t find his second.
Douglas Luiz had a big chance to put the game immediately to bed in the 48’, following up an Ollie Watkins shot that was saved, but Luiz scuffed it wide.
Newcastle’s attacking woes become more and more clear after every game, Emi Martinez wasn’t ever seriously tested and Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa seemed comfortable with their back line when they were faced with some pressure.
Ross Barkley and the goal-scorer Bertrand Traore were subbed off in the 80’ for Trezeguet and Anwar El Ghazi. The two subs joined the attack in nicely and continued the search for the third goal.
Nothing else came from those attacks, with Trezeguet coming close but a nice save denied him a goal on his return.
Villa ride the two first half goals to a 2-0 win, and three points is all that really mattered in this game. They showed their class today and seem to be a level above Newcastle at the moment.
A trip to the Turf Moor up next on Wednesday for Aston Villa to take on Burnley, as we’re starting to get into the back half of the season playing teams for the second time. 0-0 the first time around in December, let’s hope our away form this season continues!
Up the Villa!