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

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

Villa started slowly at Watford in their first game missing Grealish and with a number of new signings needing to be integrated, they were 3-0 down before a late comeback saw them almost grab a point when bringing it back to 3-2.

Once again, Villa looked unsteady early on, but could Newcastle take advantage?

El Ghazi shooting wide from outside the box in the fourth minute, before on five minutes Callum Wilson was set away one on one by Federico Fernandez’ long ball.  However, the NUFC number nine putting his eventual effort wide.

For the next 25 minutes or so Newcastle got up the pitch a bit and had a couple of half chances but didn’t force Martinez into a save, similar for Villa who also had a couple of sighters on goal but couldn’t work Freddie Woodman.

After the half hour mark the mood changed, Newcastle United withdrawing and looking to rely on the odd counter-attack, whilst the home side got more into their stride. Whether this was due to their efforts or negativity from Steve Bruce…who knows.

Aston Villa were getting into Newcastle’s box more and more, then just as it looked NUFC would get to half-time without any damage, the inevitable happened.

A long throw from Cash was won by Mings, his header on being met by a beautiful acrobatic volley from Danny Ings to give Freddie Woodman no chance and Villa a half-time lead. The whistle going after Ing’s striker in the third minute of added time.

Hayden had taken a knock before half-time and despite being sent on to see out the final few minutes, it was Sean Longstaff who emerged after the break as his replacement.

Pretty even again even without Steve Bruce allowing more than counter-attacks, I actually thought Newcastle looked better with Longstaff in the middle, moving the ball better than Hayden.

However, with Steve Bruce unwilling to let his team go on the offensive and press, despite being a goal down, it invited Villa to once again take control.

A long ball was headed back into the middle and Mings’ header was blocked some six yards out by Lascelles, his arm outstretched. Once it went to VAR we all knew the outcome, a clear penalty.

During the delay, Freddie Woodman tried to put off El Ghazi but when it came down to it, the Villa player smashed the ball home and gave the Newcastle keeper no chance.

Less than half an hour to go and now two goals down, far too late Steve Bruce allowed his team to attack a little bit more. Wilson putting a header wide from a decent position, ASM seeing an effort blocked, but too little and too late.

With 15 minutes to go, Steve Bruce will no doubt (wrongly!) claim this is where the game was decided.

A long ball saw Wilson get there in front of Martinez and play the ball, the Villa keeper taking him out for a clear penalty. However, VAR once again had a look, replays showing that the Newcastle striker was clearly offside, though not by much.

In the final analysis, Aston Villa weren’t great but are clearly going to get better. It was an opportunity for Newcastle United.

United were ok early on but with Villa at far from full strength, a more attacking intent could have seen ASM, Wilson, Almiron and Willock, potentially strike the kind of early blows that won the game from Watford last weekend.

Instead, in yet another game under Steve Bruce, the end result is a defeat and only a single effort on target from Newcastle – though not sure when that happened…

The pressure building already and Bruce seemingly clueless as to what to do.

Three visits to Villa Park with Newcastle and three 2-0 defeats for Steve Bruce.

Amongst many bizarre decisions that we see from him, Steve Bruce once again failed to bring on Dwight Gayle despite the striker having impressed in pre-season, scoring goals and drawing praise from the Head Coach. Bruce once more bringing on Joelinton, as he did against West Ham.

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)

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