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Newcastle United consign Aston Villa to first Premier League home loss in almost a year with 3-1 win

AP |
Jan 31, 2024 12:21 PM IST

Two goals in four first-half minutes from Fabian Schar put the Magpies in control before Alex Moreno’s own-goal after the break.

Newcastle consigned Aston Villa to a first home loss in the Premier League for almost a year with a stunning 3-1 win on Tuesday.

Newcastle had lost six of its previous seven league games to slip away from the top four but victory lifted the team to seventh place(Action Images via Reuters)

Two goals in four first-half minutes from Fabian Schar put the Magpies in control before Alex Moreno’s own-goal after the break.

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Ollie Watkins grabbed a consolation for the hosts, who lost in the league at Villa Park for the first time since last February.

Villa remains in fourth place but has played more games than first-place Liverpool and third-place Manchester City, and will be caught by Tottenham if the London club beats Brentford on Wednesday.

Newcastle had lost six of its previous seven league games to slip away from the top four but victory lifted the team to seventh place, although still 11 points behind Villa.

Newcastle thrashed Villa 5-1 in their opening game of the season but the direction of travel for the two sides has been different since then.

Only Sheffield United had previously taken a point from Villa Park this season as Unai Emery’s side mount a surprise Champions League charge, while the Magpies had won just once away.

Yet it was the visitors who dominated from the start and conjured the first serious chance after 20 minutes. Jacob Murphy’s sumptuous ball found Anthony Gordon with Ezri Konsa for company and he managed to wriggle clear, but Emi Martinez raced out to save.

The Magpies were slicker, with Villa uncharacteristically timid, and Clement Lenglet needed to block Sean Longstaff’s effort after Martinez spilled Murphy’s strike.

Soon after, Gordon broke clear only to see his drive deflected over as Newcastle began to find the gaps, which it then exploited with two quick-fire goals.

Douglas Luiz and Konsa got themselves into a mess trying to defend Kieran Trippier’s resulting corner and Schar nipped in to find the net for a 32nd-minute lead.

Four minutes later, only Matty Cash's last-ditch clearance denied Gordon a second but Villa was then undone by a corner again.

It was only half-cleared to Gordon and his volley clipped Lenglet to come off the underside of the bar, Schar following up to fire in his second from close range. The defender had not scored in the league since August 2022.

The Magpies lost Alexander Isak to injury just before the break and John McGinn nodded over a rare Villa chance in stoppage time.

Villa fell further behind six minutes into the second half when Miguel Almiron, who had replaced Isak, robbed Cash on the halfway line for Gordon to then send him scampering down the right.

The Paraguayan’s delivery found Murphy at the far post and, when the winger tried to turn it in, Moreno ultimately bundled the ball into his own net.

Newcastle should have been cruising but Villa came back fighting and Watkins slipped in Moussa Diaby to round Martin Dubravka, only for Schar to mop up.

Dubravka also needed to turn Cash’s shot away before Watkins pulled one back with 19 minutes left when he turned in substitute Leon Bailey’s cross for his 50th Premier League goal.

Two minutes later, Watkins was denied by a tight VAR call after slotting in with Newcastle rocking but Villa’s momentum was halted.

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