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Pundit asks if Newcastle United are a ‘One trick pony’ after defeat at Aston Villa

3 weeks ago
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Yet again, Allan Saint-Maximin was the only Newcastle player at Villa Park who looked capable of taking the game to Aston Villa.

Villa controlling the match and minimal threat to their own goal, as they racked up a number of chances that could have made the scoreline embarrassing.

Apart from the odd set-piece, Allan Saint-Maximin was the only worry for the home side and they had done their homework, doubling up on him whenever they could.

The French winger produced Newcastle’s best moment, getting free of his markers just after half-time and seeing Tom Heaton produce an excellent save to keep out his curling 25 yarder.

Reflecting on the game, former player now pundit Jason Cundy asked if Newcastle United are in danger of being a ‘one trick pony’ this season, with ASM the only threat/tactic.

There is a fear that Newcastle’s only tactic is becoming, give the ball to Allan Saint-Maximin and then hope he does the rest.

It is making things very predictable and as I said above, the opposition will be more than aware of what to expect now and shape their tactics to deal with it.

Before the match it was highlighted how Jack Grealish and Allan Saint-Maximin are two of the best dribblers in the Premier League this season.

However, the big difference last night is that Villa got the ball regularly to Grealish midway inside Newcastle’s half and he could run at the NUFC backline, whilst ASM generally picks the ball up near our box and usually has the length of the pitch to run.

There were some worrying signs as well that the former Nice player was becoming a bit disheartened at the lack of service and support he was getting as the game went on.

One thing that Jason Cundy has got wrong is that Newcastle didn’t stay with a 5-4-1 all game, although by the end it was difficult to tell exactly what the formation was. Steve Bruce did though try one other tactic and that was hopeful long balls aimed in the direction of Andy Carroll but I don’t fancy our chances if the head coach thinks that is a viable way to play in coming games. Once again it is down to the overall team play and service, if Saint-Maximin plays further up the pitch and is given good possession he could cause havoc, likewise with Carroll he can be unplayable if quality crosses are put into the box. However, neither of those things happened last night and Steve Bruce has to find a better way of getting a threat up front, not just relying on set-pieces and defenders scoring the goals.

Jason Cundy speaking on Talksport after Aston Villa beat Newcastle:

“Away from home, in games like this, you are better off trying.

“Newcastle basically set up with a 5-4-1 all game.

“You have got to come out and have a go.

“Newcastle are relying on counter-attacks and the pace of Allan Saint-Maximin.

“We saw what he did against West Ham a couple of weeks ago and I think they are kind of relying on that.

“That is not a lot to rely on.

“Will it (Newcastle) become a bit of a one trick pony and I saw there that Aston Villa thoroughly deserved the victory.

“I don’t think they thought it was going to be as easy as it turned out to be and Newcastle really got what they deserved.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0  – Monday 25 November 8pm

Goals:
Aston Villa:

Hourihane 32, El Ghazi 36

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Villa 62% (68%), Newcastle 38% (32%)

Total shots were Villa 17 (5), Newcastle 11 (5)

Shots on target were Villa 8 (3), Newcastle 5 (2)

Corners were Villa 11 (4), Newcastle 6 (5)

Crowd: 41,821 (3,000 Newcastle)

Referee: Lee Mason

Newcastle team v Aston Villa:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Fernandez, Dummett (Carroll 63), Clark, Willems, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Almiron (Atsu 79), Joelinton (Gayle 72)

Unused Subs

Darlow, Krafth, Matty Longstaff, Schar

(Steve Bruce verdict on Villa, his front three and says “You are always going to miss your best players” – Read HERE)

(Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Dean Smith spells it out to Steve Bruce “We controlled the ball really well and dominated possession” – Read HERE)

(Chris Sutton on Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 – ‘Steve Bruce could have thrown cabbages at his own players’ – Read HERE)

(Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Monday’s defeat – Read HERE)

(Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 – Watch official match highlights and goals HERE)

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