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Opinion

It’s lovely playing the pantomime Villans

4 weeks ago
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Newcastle United’s latest visit to Villa Park, delivered a delightfully crafted and much needed Premier League win on the road.

I was becoming a bit fed up of hearing that we had only won one game on our travels in the Premier League this season.

As this lone away win had came against a Sheffield United side that have been propping up the division for most of the season, our 8-0 thrashing of the Blades had been rendered almost insignificant.

The high-flying Villans we were told, would be hungry for revenge after their 5-1 pummeling by a rampant Magpies side at St James’ Park on the opening day of the season.

It very rarely works that way of course, unless that is you have an inspirational and very brave manager, like for example Kevin Keegan.

After a catastrophic 4-0 reverse against Manchester United in the Charity Shield at Wembley in 1996, King Kev famously went with the same eleven players two months later at Gallowgate and we dismantled the Red Devils 5-0.

I really fancied our chances before the Villa game, if we got straight at them from the start.

Their home form has been excellent, but I know from experience that it doesn’t take an awful lot to silence the fans in the Holte End, when things aren’t going the home side’s way.

This proved to be the case and by half-time we were coasting it at 2-0.

Fabian Schar is another player who has totally been transformed by Eddie Howe and I could tell by the way he wheeled away after his two close range strikes, just how much it means to him to be able to pull on the famous black and white stripes.

Anthony Gordon has been a beacon of light in a tough season so far and looked the much better pick than Moussa Diaby, who was once heavily linked with a move to Newcastle.

It was a solid team performance and a special mention to Sven Botman is required.

I always have said that Barry Venison was the most enthusiastic and best ‘Celebrator in Chiff’ the Toon has ever had.

Well Barry, there is a new kid on the block now and he’s called Big Sven.

This bloke just loves to be among the throng basking in the limelight, holding teammates aloft and interacting with the fans.

As the Beatles once told us…
“Here comes the Sun
The smiles returning to their faces,
Here comes the Sun
It seems like years since it’s been here”

That’s how it felt to me looking on anyway and I feel a warm glow once again.

This latest victory, albeit against a team who I believe to be punching well above their weight this season, will be pivotal for the season’s run in.

The boys on the pitch and on the terraces are getting their mojo and swagger back in tandem.

There is now nothing stopping us from going out with all guns blazing once that sick room at Darsley Park starts to gradually empty.

It’s Luton Town up next on Saturday and they are also arriving in form and on the back of another fine result.

Stats via BBC Sport:

Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 3 – Tuesday 30 January 2024 8.15pm:

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Schar 32,36 Moreno OG 52

Villa:

Watkins 71

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Villa 61% (53%) Newcastle 39% (47%)

Total shots were Villa 12 (3) Newcastle 14 (9)

Shots on target were Villa 6 (1) Newcastle 5 (4)

Corners were Villa 8 (3) Newcastle 7 (4)

Referee: John Brooks

Newcastle team v Aston Villa:

Dubravka, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Guimaraes, Miley (Livramento 75), Murphy, Isak (Almiron 43), Gordon (Krafth 90+9)

Unused subs:

Karius, Dummett, Ritchie, Hall, White, Hernes

(Unai Emery reacts to getting schooled second time this season by Eddie Howe – Aston Villa well beaten – Read HERE)

(Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 3 – Match ratings and comments on all the Newcastle United players – Read HERE)

(Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 3 – Instant Newcastle United fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)

(Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 3 – An Eddie Howe masterclass as United superb – Read HERE)

Newcastle United confirmed matches to early March 2024:

Saturday 3 February 2024 – Newcastle v Luton (3pm)

Saturday 10 February 2024 – Forest v Newcastle (5.30pm) Sky Sports

Saturday 17 February 2024 – Newcastle v Bournemouth (3pm)

Saturday 24 February 2024 – Arsenal v Newcastle (8pm) TNT Sports

(Sometime in midweek of Wednesday 28 February 2024 – Blackburn v Newcastle)

Saturday 2 March 2024 – Newcastle v Wolves (3pm)

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