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Player ratings as Magpies sink into trouble


Aston Villa came back to victory on Saturday night, taking a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United at Villa Park.

The hosts opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Fabian Schar failed to intercept Matt Targett’s cross from the left flank, and Ollie Watkins returned home with just the keeper to beat. Watkins had the ball in the net for the second time midway through the first half, but his strike was ruled out for an offside offense.

The Villans got their second just before half-time, when Jack Grealish pulled the ball out for hurrying Bertrand Traoré, and the winger caressed a magnificent shot rising off the crossbar.

Villa continued to dominate the proceedings, creating a handful of chances in the second half, but they failed to find a way past Karl Darlow. Dean Smith’s men sealed the three points with a solid performance and plunged Newcastle even deeper into trouble, as Steve Bruce’s side took another step towards the relegation zone.

Let’s take a look at the player ratings of a one-sided affair.

Matt Targett, Javi Manquillo
Straight into the tackle | Gareth Copley / Getty Images

Emi Martinez (GK) – 7/10 – Could have recorded a podcast during the match and no one would have even noticed his absence. I’ll give him a seven – it’s not his fault. Newcastle is so bad.

Matty Cash (RB) – 8/10 – Offered a lot more offense than defense, supporting Traore and helping Villa make the transition on the pitch. So at ease in this sharing.

Ezri Konsa (CB) – 7/10 – Didn’t have too many furry moments throughout the game, playing the ball well and doing his defensive job calmly and efficiently.

Tyrone Mings (CB) – 8/10 – Had to deal with the human windmill that is Andy Carroll, but denied the attacker the chance to dominate his backline. Commander like never before.

Matt Targett (LB) – 8/10 – Whipped to an evil cross that Schar couldn’t handle for the opener. A solid presence in the back and ready to ride Grealish time and time again. The perfect sheet.

Ollie Watkins and Ross Barkley
Barkley was excellent against Newcastle | Pool / Getty Images

Douglas Luiz (CM) – 7/10 – Provided some great little punches and touches in the final third, and mopped up defensively when needed. Controlled the middle of the park and proved why Pep Guardiola desperately wanted to keep him at Manchester City. Sleek but grainy.

Wonderful Nakamba (CM) – 8/10 – A destroyer in the middle with bags of energy. Stopped Newcastle from progressing and kept their passes simple, allowing the most talented ball players to dominate the game.

Ross Barkley (CM) – 7/10 – Thrown a decent header from a free kick. Pause between the lines to support Watkins and Grealish going forward.

Ollie Watkins, Karl Darlow
Broken dead end | Pool / Getty Images

Bertrand Traoré (RW) – 8/10 – The least involved of the three forwards, but entered the scoresheet with a nice finish that kissed the crossbar on entering.

Ollie Watkins (ST) – 9/10 – Produces a brave header to open the scoring, throwing himself into the shooting line to push the ball past Darlow. A poacher’s finish. Terrorized Newcastle with his movement and energy. Complete performance.

Jack Grealish (LW) – 8/10 – Freed Targett on the left flank to provide Watkins’ early header. Nice cut to help Traoré for the second. A captain’s display.

Anwar El Ghazi (LW) – 6/10

Trezeguet (RW) – 6/10

Jacob Ramsey (ST) – N / A

Schar had a shock | CLIVE BRUNSKILL / Getty Images

Karl Darlow (GK) – 5/10 – Left exposed for Watkins’ header, but didn’t cover himself in glory with his stop attempt. A very, very busy man.

Isaac Hayden (CB) – 5/10 – I fell into the center-back role on defense, but always looked more comfortable further down the pitch. Fight a losing battle.

Fabian Schar (CB) – 4/10 – Horrible defense for Watkins’ opening. I tried to intercept the cross, but I just lifted it up so that the attacker nodded. Terrible.

Jamaal Lascelles (CB) – 5/10 – He is no longer the strong defender he once was. Surrounded by mediocrity, and he has infiltrated his game too.

Jonjo Shelvey, Bertrand Traoré
Shelvey on the ball | Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Javier Manquillo (RWB) – 4/10 – May also not have been in the field. Not present to stop Grealish or Targett on the line, and Zilch offered to go ahead either.

Jonjo Shelvey (CM) – 5/10 – Put a bad tackle on Grealish. I ran a bit and pretended to shut down the Villa midfielder.

Miguel Almiron (CM) – 5/10 – Showed a classy moment passing a ball to Fraser in the second half, but couldn’t offer much else in the stiff, defensive system he plays in. A shame.

Jeff Hendrick (CM) – 4/10 – I had a bit of a fight with Grealish, which was one of the first times he was noticed on the pitch. Shadows chased and many was a shadow.

Jamal Lewis (LWB) – 5/10 – Played at the top of the field and delivered a few crosses from that left flank. Remained terribly exposed on counterattacks, however. Not adapting to the demands of the Premier League.

A difficult evening | MIKE EGERTON / Getty Images

Andy Carroll (ST) – 5/10 – Won the odd header deep in the penalty area and caused a moment of nervousness for Villa’s defense on time. Immersed in a horror challenge on Nakamba in the second period.

Callum Wilson (ST) – 5/10 – Incredibly isolated again, trying to occupy dangerous areas, but received little service. A boring evening for the attacker.

Allan Saint-Maximin (LW) – 6/10

Ryan Fraser (RW) – 6/10

Dwight Gayle (ST) – 5/10