Aston Villa 2-0 Newcastle United (23/1/21): match report and analysis

Whilst Rafa Benitez grabbed the headlines during the day, another dreadful Newcastle United performance made the headlines at night, as they lost 2-0 away to Aston Villa.

Speaking of managers, one Twitter user humorously pointed out that without Dean Smith in the dugout for Aston Villa, there was no Premier League manager present at Villa Park on Saturday.

Steve Bruce intended to stick to doing things his way, as he made 4 changes to the side that lost 3-0 to Arsenal on Monday, and try to get the Magpies their first Premier League win of the calendar year.

The home side took the lead in the 13th minute of the game, with Matt Targett’s cross into the box being unforunately flicked by Fabian Schar. This allowed Ollie Watkins to head the ball past Karl Darlow, who did nothing to stop Watkins’ goal: a rare mistake from Newcastle’s man between the sticks.

With the lead in their favour, Villa began to turn up the heat and push for even more goals against a timid and disorganised Newcastle side. Ross Barkley almost struck immediately after Villa’s opener, with his attempt going just wide of the goal.

Newcastle’s best attempt of the half came just after the half hour mark, when Andy Carroll almost got the ball in a scramble between himself, Callum Wilson, and Tyrone Mings. But it was Villa’s goalkeeper Emi Martinez who got ahold of the ball and end the Newcastle threat.

Aston Villa then punished the Magpies for their poor attempts at goal, as they doubled their lead just before half-time. Betrand Traore’s weak foot volley was fired into the roof of the net, with Darlow once again helpless to stop the shot.

Tonight’s defeat marks the 10th loss for United in the Premier League this season, and their 10th straight game without a win in all competitions. Many expected the winter period to be difficult, but few could have envisioned it going this poorly.

It’s begun to feel repetitive for both neutrals and supporters of the club to resent the play about to unfold every time Steve Bruce’s side walks on to the pitch, and now no one really surprised when Newcastle fails to record even a draw.

Let us all home Rafa Benitez’s flight from Dalian is making its way to an airport near St James’ Park after tonight’s game…

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