Newcastle humble Villa in a weekend to forget for Unai Emery

I have been trying to think about how I write about what we witnessed on Saturday evening in the opening Premier League game of the season at St James Park. All of a sudden, I am sitting here watching Monday night football and it has finally hit me what really hurt during that 5-1 embarrassing defeat.

The defeat wasn’t great and the collapse in the second half wasn’t pretty but credit where it’s due, Newcastle deserved it and quite possibly more.

But what really hurt was the injury to Tyrone Mings. The injury of our former captain will affect Villa far more than the defeat, we have 37 games to come after all.

Mings has been a crucial part of this Aston Villa side since he initially joined us on loan in January 2019. The club today announced our biggest fears, our star defender has a significant knee injury and scans have revealed he will require surgery ahead of a lengthy rehabilitation process.

This came just days after Villa revealed that Emi Buendia will miss most, if not all of the Premier League campaign with an ACL injury.

I can only wish both lads the very best in their recoveries and not they I need to say, but know that the Villa faithful will be with them all through their recoveries.

Newcastle United 5-1 Aston Villa

Let’s be honest, not even the most positive of Geordie or the most negative Aston Villa fan would have predicted the result we witnessed at St James Park.

As good as the home side was, the visitors were equally as poor, more so in the second half once we lost Mings.

The home side took the lead through debutant Sandro Tonali who arrived late into the box to get on the end of an Anthony Gordon cross.

Fellow debutant, Moussa Diaby pulled the visitor’s level when Ollie Watkins flicked on a Lucas Digne cross with a half-volley.

Moussa Diaby with a goal on his debut.

Newcastle were back ahead just five minutes later which started to look like a repeat of the Summer Series 3-3 draw. Sven Botman, from a free kick, crossed the ball into the box and Alexander Isak was on hand to restore the home side’s lead.

Villa then lost Mings through injury but still came close through Watkins whose effort went wide of the post while Douglas Luiz had a claim for a penalty but the officials were having none of it.

The home side then made it 3-1 just moments after half-time when Isak forced Ezri Konsa into a mistake and produced a delightful flick over Emi Martinez.

Martinez was on hand moments later to deny Isak his hat-trick while Matty Cash who struggled all day squandered a great chance and any chance of Villa getting themselves back into the game.

Substitutes Calum Wilson and Harvey Barnes were introduced late on and we all knew what was coming, firstly the two combined for Wilson to make it four.

Barnes also got in on the goalscoring exploits to make it five to make it a record opening-day win for the Geordies.

What the managers said

Unai Emery

“Newcastle are strong at home and they started winning and when we were in the match and we score the goal and we had good chances with Ollie.

“In the second half, we tried to change and tried to control the match but when they scored the third goal the match was finished. But Newcastle deserved in 90 minutes to win and then we had some momentums that were good but it wasn’t enough today.

“This week is very sad for us. With Emilio Buendia, today with Tyrone Mings. We lost today but there was something that was more than we wanted but the worst today was the injury with Tyrone.

“We have to take some days in reflection and then prepare for the game against Everton.”

Eddie Howe

“We want the supporters to dream.

We have to focus on Manchester City away – it’s the hardest fixture in the Premier League so that is a sobering thought for us.

“We’re looking at can we win the game fully in the knowledge they are the best team, they have been the benchmark.

“[Counter-pressing] is a big part of our game. If you are going to press teams high and be aggressive those moments are key.

“If you aren’t good in those aspects in the first couple of seconds of transition then you are going to have problems.

“It is always a game of cat and mouse with and without the ball. There was some nervy moments for us. Our style was a key aspect of the win.”

Up Next

Aston Villa will be hoping they can bounce back as they take on Everton in their first game at Villa Park this season.

Newcastle will head to the champions, Manchester City.

Verdict

I have already touched upon the big blow of the day with Mings’ injury, coming just days after the Buendia blow.

I felt in the first half it was a cat-and-mouse match with Newcastle taking their chances but in the second half, after the Konsa mistake, heads dropped which is worrying. This is the first time we have seen this since Emery has been manager.

I fully expect Villa to bounce back next week against Everton and Emery will have one of his biggest challenges since becoming manager in finding a solution to the absence of Tyrone.

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