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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 match

4 weeks ago
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Saturday afternoon ended Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0.

Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.

This time it is John Martin who has the job…

POSITIVES

Callum Wilson

Actually two positives here with the Newcastle United striker.

Was Newcastle’s best player and biggest (only) threat by some way, he put an early one on one chance (which he made for himself) just wide but followed up his goal against West Ham with another lively performance.

Fed largely on scraps, he still caused problems, not least when running on to a ball over the top from Joe Willock. Clattered by Martinez in the Villa box it looked a certain penalty, until VAR flagged up a very marginal offside on Wilson.

There was a massive positive here though because so dangerous and reckless was Martinez’ high challenge, you really feared that it could be a serious injury for Callum Wilson. Thankfully Wilson getting up and finishing the match but how Martinez got only red and not yellow is a mystery.

Joe Willock

In truth he didn’t do loads, showed the odd bit of skill and some decent movement, played the ball over the top for Wilson to run onto in that controversial offside / penalty / yellow card incident.

However, Willock is clearly an asset to our team and will feel the benefit of getting a match under his belt.

Such a shame that the stupidity of Mike Ashley in endlessly delaying things in the hope of a loan deal that was never going to happen, meant that Joe Willock had absolutely no pre-season with NUFC. Also, very little time on the pitch in Arsenal’s pre-season friendlies.

Now playing catch-up when should have been fully integrated and raring to go for West Ham and Aston Villa.

Still, just imagine how even more negative you would feel about this season if Mike Ashley hadn’t eventually accepted that Newcastle had to buy the midfielder?

Freddie Woodman

Difficult coming up with many positives from Saturday but I thought the keeper did ok once again.

I have seen some comments claiming Woodman should have came for certain crosses but I think that is harsh.

I don’t think either of the goals on Saturday could / should have been prevented by Freddie Woodman, unless of course he’d saved the penalty, as he did against West Ham.

The big problems in terms of defending have very quite clearly come from those in front of Woodman, at least so far.

NEGATIVES

Substitutions

Steve Bruce and substitutions, answers on a postcard please.

Against West Ham, Newcastle went 4-2 down on 66 minutes and yet Bruce’s response was only to bring on Fraser in the 70th minute, before then waiting and bringing on Sean Longstaff and Joelinton with six and five minutes remaining respectively. Dwight Gayle left on the bench unused.

On Sunday, Newcastle go 2-0 down on 62 minutes and yet Bruce’s response is…Joelinton comes on in the 77th minute, then finally Fraser joins the action in the 89th minute. Once again, Dwight Gayle left unused on the bench (an enforced sub at half-time when Sean Longstaff replaced Isaac Hayden).

Simply bizarre, Gayle looked sharp pre-season and scored a couple of goals, Steve Bruce highly praising him etc etc. Yet once again Bruce totally sidelines him and bizarrely refuses to put him on the pitch even when Newcastle are desperate for a goal or two. The entire substitute scenario has been crazy in these opening two games, surely you have to go on the offensive when going two goals down in both matches, whilst also it makes sense to do earlier subs anyway, to help try and ensure players don’t overdo it early and get injured.

Game management

I have outlined above the shambles surrounding substitutions that do and don’t happen, though this is simply one significant part of Steve Bruce’s inability to manage during matches.

Just like the West Ham match, what was Bruce’s cunning plan during the game(s), especially when it came to going two goals down?

I simply haven’t a clue as to what he was trying to do and what he expected to happen, with the changes he did (and didn’t) make against Aston Villa.

Plan B

Is there one?

The first half against West Ham was very decent with Allan Saint-Maximin turning on the tricks and end product, assisting Callum Wilson’s goal.

Against Aston Villa though, from early on ASM found himself doubled up on and with this attacking route largely stifled for the 90 minutes, what was the Plan B in providing a goal threat?

I still can’t identify one a couple of days after the game.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 21 August 3pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Aston Villa:

Ings 45+3, El Ghazi 62 pen

(In brackets the first half stats)

Possession was Aston Villa 47% (60%) Newcastle 53% (40%)

Total shots were Aston Villa 10 (5)  Newcastle 9 (3)

Shots on target were Aston Villa 2 (1) Newcastle 1 (0)

Corners were Aston Villa 3 (2) Newcastle 4 (1)

Referee: David Coote

Newcastle United:

Woodman, Fernandez (Joelinton 77), Lascelles, Schar, Murphy, Hayden (Sean Longstaff 46), Almiron, Willock (Fraser 89), Ritchie, Wilson, Saint-Maximin

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Clark, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Gayle

Crowd: 41,964 (2,950 Newcastle United)

(Former top referee now rules on this second controversial Aston Villa v Newcastle incident – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce totally embarrassing yet again, blames everybody but himself for Villa defeat – Read HERE)

(Match Report: Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 – Steve Bruce negativity sees NUFC fail and only have 1 shot on target – Read HERE)

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

(Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 – Steve Bruce negativity sees NUFC fail and only have 1 shot on target – Read HERE)

(Aston Villa boss says it didn’t take a ‘brilliant performance’ to beat Newcastle United – Read HERE)

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