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Opinion

Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 – A pretty rubbish match all in all…Here’s why

3 weeks ago
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Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 21 August 3pm

After seeing the team sheets, with Villa missing a few key players and with a weak bench, and us having the double boost of having Willock available and Shelvey unavailable, you’d forgive me for feeling good about this one.

A positive start, that early on led to a one on one that Wilson really should have finished. Willock in particular looked electric in the first few minutes, adding a real dynamism we were missing in the last match.

A relatively bad tempered game in the first half, coming to a bit of a boil when Murphy admittedly dived to try to win a penalty – not something we like to see, whether it’s us or the opponents doing it. On the other hand, it was a nice bit of karma to see Cash injure himself trying to step on Wilson – bit of dirty tactics from both sides…

Defensively we looked a lot more organised and solid than last match too, something that was needed as Villa were on the front foot for a fair portion of the half (albeit with relatively few chances). Scrappy and mistake ridden on both sides in my opinion.

A pretty unfair yellow for Wilson in the closing stages for a 50/50 tussle with Mings (that of course he wasn’t booked for) and a bit of an injury scare for Hayden following the bitty half. Just moments before the end of the half, an absolute screamer of a bicycle kick from Ings letting Villa head into the half time break 1-0 up. Another long throw, another lack of ideas to deal with it after the first one was scrambled away earlier in the game.

In the second half, Hayden being subbed off for Longstaff was a bit of a worrier, hopefully not a long term injury this time.

As to the game itself, we were left struggling to impose ourselves on the game in the early stages of the second period, with Villa maintaining control. After more moments of pressure, another VAR call and another penalty – Lascelles’ loose arm causing another problem, Elghazi made it 2-0.

Willock and ASM continued to be outlets, plugging away but without real results. More plugging away had its results, Wilson winning a penalty after being cleaned out by a move usually seen in the WWE from Martinez – only for it to be ruled out by VAR. Not sure if there was a sub-clause in the new rules saying that the thicker lines don’t count if you’re a striker for a team from the North East, but an absolutely disgusting bit of officiating once again to kick us while we’re down a bit more.

Of course Martinez wasn’t sent off either, just to add to the insult. Could hardly bring myself to continue watching after that absolute farce of a decision to be honest but I soldiered on. Not really worth it to be honest.

Overall, I don’t think we were a good team to watch today, none of the attacking impetus I saw against West Ham and still shaky defensively.

Add in the howler refereeing decisions and a pretty rubbish match all in all – here are my main points:

VAR continues to ruin the game…or specifically, our games

Remember before the season started and it was announced the rules would be changed to stop the absurd, toenail sized offside call, as they were “not in the spirit of the game?”

Seems like quite some time ago…Wilson having a penalty scratched off for a toenail sized offside call that was not in the spirit of the game.

That really was the moment that should have been the game changer, say what you like about the header for the Villa penalty being too close to Lascelles, but his arm was way up and the officials found a way to keep us from clawing our way back into an albeit slim chance of getting something from the game.

That call, which again 100% should have stood, should have had Martinez sent off, a Wilson penalty converted and a 2-1 against 10 men for the final 15 minutes of the match.

Now, we did not play well enough to win in my opinion, but that should have been how things stood.

Instead we rolled back the rules to the “level means offside” version just for us and Martinez’ rugby tackle (even that’s kind) is given a yellow only. David Coote and the refereeing team today, red cards for the lot of you.

Different defence, same old issues

For the majority of the game, we looked a lot more assured with Schar and Lascelles playing instead of Clark and Krafth. Apart from long throw ins that is…

The first one revealed a weakness, the second saw nothing had changed and led to a goal.

Cue some more flapping hands in the box after a corner and we concede a penalty. Hopefully it was just rust for the two of them, but you would have thought they should have done better, given that these are our objectively three best starting CBs? Much improvement needed.

Fine margins win (and lose) games

Obviously the state of the officiating (very bad) aside, we could have been 1-0 up in the first few minutes after Wilson was put clean through, and how different the game might have been then.

Moral of the story, take your chances when you have them, or live to regret it.

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)

(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)

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