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Season 2023-24
Aston Villa (h) Premier League


Saturday 12th August 2023, 5.30pm
Live on Sky Sports

St. James' Park

Conditions: Unrelenting

�3.50 (unchanged from 2022/23 season)


Aston Villa


5 - 1





6 mins Bruno Guimaraes had a shot from outside the box that Emiliano Martinez pushed away to Anthony Gordon. The winger played a one-two with Joelinton that bisected Leon Bailey before crossing for Sandro Tonali to arrive ahead of Lucas Digne and crash home a right-footed volley on the edge of the six yard area into the Leazes goal. Bellissimo! 1-0

11 mins A smart ball from Douglas Luiz with the outside of his foot found Digne in space down the Villa left. His cross took a slight deflection off the back of Kieran Trippier and was then headed on by Ollie Watkins into the path of Moussa Diaby who made no mistake with a controlled volley. 1-1

16 mins Trippier lined up a free-kick in a central area but knocked it to Tonali standing to his right. His diagonal found Sven Botman on the left hand side of the box and he volleyed it to Alexander Isak, who finished firmly into the centre of the goal from just in front of the penalty spot. A VAR check took an age and seemed likely to find Botman offside but he was comfortably on. 2-1

Half time: Newcastle 2 Aston Villa 1

58 mins Joelinton found space to advance towards the halfway line before finding Gordon outside him on the left. He cut inside before threading a pass to the onrushing Isak. Ezri Konsa seemed to be in control but then inexplicably let the home forward pinch the ball off his toes deep in the box. 

The rest was pure genius from Alexander Isak who had the composure to dink the ball over Martinez, covering defender Pau Torres on the goal line and into the far corner of the Gallowgate goal amid great applause. Initial suspicions that a deflection had aided the finish were soon disproved by replays: the Beardsley-esque chip was simply a sublime finish. 3-1

77 mins An intricate and excellent passing sequence involving Botman, Joelinton, Tonali and Bruno ended with Tonali regaining possession and sending a first time pass to Harvey Barnes on the left corner of the Villa box. 

The debutant looked up, took a touch and perfectly delivered the ball infield to Callum Wilson who had sidestepped Pau Torres to make space and finish coolly into the top corner. Again, a VAR review looked set to show Barnes or Wilson were offside but both were fine and the goal stood. 4-1

90+1 mins Trippier's pass from the right back area infield to Tonali was instantly played on to the advancing Jacob Murphy, whose first shimmy took Torres out of the picture. Powering away from the flat-footed Diego Carlos, Murphy's defence-splitting ball played in Harvey Barnes who ran clear and side-footing through Martinez who got a touch but couldn't stop the ball bulging the net. 5-1

Full time: Newcastle 5 Aston Villa 1

We Said


Eddie Howe said:

"We scored five - we could have scored more. 

"Everything clicked for us. It was a tight game decided by our ruthlessness in front of goal. Villa were also in the game, so we're very pleased. 

"We had to be at our best. We knew we had a difficult start so you look at this game as a massive moment in our season.

"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 bench mark.

(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.

"We've got to embrace the challenge and then of course Liverpool, but we will focus on City first.

"I went with Alex
(ander Isak) today. Alex and Callum (Wilson) are two really top players and we saw Alex do well and then Callum come on and do well.

"That's what we are going to need throughout a hard season - Wilson is a top player and he looked razor-sharp when he came on.

"The squad dynamic is more important than ever with the added time. We had a strong bench today and hopefully we can carry that through the season." 

On Tonali and his dream debut:

"We pursued him for a long, long time and paid a big fee for him because I fell in love watching him play a game last year. He is an outstanding talent, he can do a little bit of everything.

"Very similar to our other midfielders, he�s got a combination of a lot of attributes that will suit the Premier League. 

"This is one game, I don�t want to go over the top and put more pressure on him but it�s a very good start and I�m just pleased he looked confident in the shirt and the fans have certainly taken to him, which is great to see.

"It was a tough decision between him  and Sean (Longstaff) but in the end it was based on fitness really. Sean had missed a lot of pre-season with a niggly injury and Sandro completed all of pre-season. So basing it on that and how well Sandro had done in pre-season, that�s why I made the decision.

" I thought he was magnificent for us. The goal helped, it builds confidence. It certainly looked at home in the midfield. I thought his style was really effective for us today. He�s an incredible technician, very good technically off both feet. Great to see him score and in the box in that moment.�

On his remaining recruitment aspirations:

"We�re hoping for one more, no guarantee, but we will fight to the end to strengthen. We are getting there. Every transfer window we have got stronger. 

"We�ve lost Allan Saint-Maximin, who was a massive player for us, we�re going to miss his unpredictability."

They Said


Unai Emery said:

Newcastle are strong at home. They started winning and we were in the match when we scored the goal and we had good chances to draw with Ollie Watkins. 

"The second half we started trying to change and gain more control of the game than in the first half. When they scored the third goal the match finished. Newcastle deserved to win over 90 minutes. We had some good moments but it wasn't enough today. 

"The injuries we are having this week is really sad for us with Emiliano Buendia and now today Tyrone Mings. We are going to react, but we need some days for reflection. The result is bad but losing Tyrone was worse. It doesn�t look good: It�s very sad for him and for us.

"We were aware last year what our power was and how we were stronger in our structure and the mentality we created. We finished last year by getting our objective and I do not doubt now we will do the same in our structure and mentality.

"To lose 5-1 is bigger than normal, of course. But Newcastle are feeling strong at home and deserved to win. They were consistent for 90 minutes and we weren�t.

"It was good news to watch Moussa (Diaby) playing and feeling good. His adaptation in the position we are trying to get with him was good and he scored and played well. 

"We played well in some moments but there a lot of things to do in 90 minutes and we have to avoid the mistakes.�


This was best start to a season by any Newcastle side since they netted four goals without reply at home to West Ham in August 2002. In terms of the margin of victory in United's opening home game, this was the largest since we leathered Aston Villa 6-0 in August 2010.

The Villans are now winless in their last 16 visits to SJP, with ten home victories and six draws
taking place since David O'Leary's side won 3-0 on Tyneside in April 2005.

Callum Wilson
netted in United's opening Premier League game for a fourth successive

2020/21 West Ham United (a) won 2-0 started, scored after 56 minutes
2021/22 West Ham United (h) lost 2-4 started, scored after 5 minutes
2022/23 Nottingham Forest (h) won 2-0 started, scored after 78 minutes
2023/24 Aston Villa (h) won 5-1 on as sub, scored after 9 minutes

Wilson now
has 39 goals in that competition to his name for the club, which leaves him unchanged in the all-time PL scorer table (sixth), but puts him just two behind Les Ferdinand and four shy of both Shola Ameobi and Andy Cole.

Today saw him come off the bench once again
in 2023
to net in double quick time: 

Apr 2023 Manchester United (h) (scored in 8 minutes)
Apr 2023 Spurs (h) (scored in 65 seconds)
Apr 2023 Southampton (h) (scored in 8 minutes)
Aug 2023 Aston Villa (h) (scored in 9 minutes)

Alexander Isak has now scored 12 times for the Magpies, all of th
in the PL. His brace took him past a whole host of players who had 11 PL goals to their name: Dwight Gayle, Keith Gillespie, Yoan Gouffran, Salomon Rondon, Jonjo Shelvey, Moussa Sissoko, Steve Watson and Gini Wijnaldum.

Competitive debuts for Sandro Tonali and Harvey Barnes increased the number of players to represent the club in the Premier League to 259.

Both netted on their debuts, becoming the 164th and 165th players to score for us in the PL and the thirteenth and fourteenth to do so on their debut.

six minute
strike is the fastest of that fourteen, overtaking Joe Willock's debut effort at the same end of SJP after 16 minutes of the meeting with Southampton in February 2021.

The fourth Italian-born player to feature for Newcastle in the Premier League, Tonali became the third to register a goal - matching the totals of both Alessandro Pistone and Davide Santon in the process. The fourth - Antonio Barecca - barely touched the ball never mind having a shot....

Barnes meanwhile is only the third of that 14 to make a scoring PL bow from the bench, after Alex Mathie at home to Sheffield Wednesday in 1993 and Papiss Cisse at home to Aston Villa in 2012.

Tonali and Barnes are
the second pair of Magpies to score on their debut in the PL, emulating Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick at West Ham in September 2020.

One has to go back to Mick Quinn and John Gallacher against Leeds United
(Division Two)
in August 1989 to find the last instance of this feat on home territory in a league game.

Newcastle are now unbeaten in their most recent five PL outings, including four last season. 

Unused sub Tino Livramento took squad number 21.

Villans @ SJP - PL era:

2023/24 Won 5-1 Isak 2, Tonali, Wilson, Barnes
Won 4-0 Wilson 2, Joelinton, Almiron
2021/22 Won 1-0 Trippier
2020/21 Drew 1-1 Lascelles
2019/20 Drew 1-1 Gayle
2016/17 Won 2-0 Gouffran, og(Lansbury) (CH)
2015/16 Drew 1-1 Coloccini
2014/15 Won 1-0 Cisse
2013/14 Won 1-0 Remy
2012/13 Drew 1-1 Ben Arfa
2011/12 Won 2-1 Ba, Cisse
2010/11 Won 6-0 Barton, Nolan 2, Carroll 3
2008/09 Won 2-0 Martins
2007/08 Drew 0-0
2006/07 Won 3-1 Milner, Dyer, Sibierski
2005/06 Drew 1-1 Shearer (pen)
2004/05 Lost 0-3
2003/04 Drew 1-1 Robert
2002/03 Drew 1-1 Solano
2001/02 Won 3-0 Bellamy 2, Shearer
2000/01 Won 3-1 Glass, Cort, OG
2000/01 Drew 1-1 Solano (FAC)
1999/00 Lost 0-1
1998/99 Won 2-1 Shearer, Ketsbaia
1997/98 Won 1-0 Beresford
1996/97 Won 4-3 Ferdinand 2, Shearer, Howey
1995/96 Won 1-0 Ferdinand
1994/95 Won 3-1 Beardsley 2, Venison
1993/94 Won 5-1 Beardsley 2, Sellars, Bracewell, Cole

NUFC - season-opening PL results:

1993/94 Spurs (h) lost 0-1
1994/95 Leicester City (a) won 3-1
1995/96 Coventry City (h) won 3-0
1996/97 Everton (a) lost 0-2
1997/98 Sheffield Wednesday (h) won 2-1
1998/99 Charlton Athletic (h) drew 0-0
1999/00 Aston Villa (h) lost 0-1
2000/01 Manchester United (a) lost 0-2
2001/02 Chelsea (a) drew 1-1
2002/03 West Ham (h) won 4-0
2003/04 Leeds United (a) drew 2-2
2004/05 smoggies (a) drew 2-2
2005/06 Arsenal (a) lost 0-2
2006/07 Wigan Athletic (h) won 2-1
2007/08 Bolton Wanderers (a) won 3-1
2008/09 Manchester United (a) drew 1-1
2010/11 Manchester United (a) lost 0-3
2011/12 Arsenal (h) drew 0-0
2012/13 Spurs (h) won 2-1
2013/14 Manchester City (a) lost 0-4
2014/15 Manchester City (h) lost 0-2
2015/16 Southampton (h) drew 2-2
2017/18 Spurs (h) lost 0-2
2018/19 Spurs (h) lost 1-2
2019/20 Arsenal (h) lost 0-1
2020/21 West Ham (a) won 2-0
2021/22 West Ham (h) lost 2-4
2022/23 Nottingham Forest (h) won 2-0
Aston Villa (h) won 5-1



What Summer?

Like they'd never been away, Newcastle carried on where they'd left off last season, pressing and attacking relentlessly before re-arming themselves from the bench to keep the hammer down and dispatch opponents widely tipped to be a coming force in this league.

On the day that St. James' Park debuted a digital entry system, Unai Emery and his Villans had their cards well and truly marked courtesy of a devastating display of finishing from the Magpies. 

Debutants Sandro Tonali and Harvey Barnes began and ended the scoring, bookending Alexander Isak's brace and one from substitute Callum Wilson on a day when Anthony Gordon gave his most convincing performance yet and a certain recently-departed Frenchman never came to mind. 

It took just six minutes for Tonali to announce his arrival in England, popping up box to volley home Gordon's left wing centre after Bruno Guimaraes had his original shot blocked.

Given the way in which messrs Botman and Guimaraes were eased into the Premier League here, it had seemed reasonable to assume that the Italian international would begin on the bench but the fitness of Sean Longstaff meant that the former AC Milan was in the from the start.

To say that he hit the ground running is something of an understatement: Tonali looked born to be in that midfield and was still working and moving when withdrawn beyond the 90 minute mark. He also came close to an immediate second goal after scoring, instinctively racing forward to receive Gordon's pass and firing a shot of such power that it went through Emiliano Martinez and just wide.

Although Moussa Diaby soon made it 1-1 with his own debut strike, Isak then pounced to finish Botman's knock down following a Tonali pass - the goal surviving a VAR check for offside.

Isak then dispossessed Ezri Konsa in his own box and supplied a peach of a finish to beat Martinez before the hour - although many present thought that the visiting goalkeeper should have seen red rather than yellow before half time after coming out of his box and upending Miggy Almiron.

On a day when changes to matchday procedures were seen for the first time, the first period ran for an additional 12 minutes with the scoreboard clock still visible after the 45 minute mark. Both sides also coped with solo occupancy of the technical area by rotating the manager and the coach, the fourth official intervening at one point when Jason Tindall looked to have forgotten.

Rather than compensation for time-wasting though, that additional period was caused by visiting defender Tyrone Mings leaving on a stretcher with an ACL injury - a second setback for Unai Emery after Emiliano Buendia sustained a similar tear in training last week. 

The absence of the Argentinean was significant, given the influence he had in Villa's 3-0 win over us in April, not to mention the two goals he scored against Newcastle in last month's friendly meeting. Mings meanwhile hadn't had the greatest of games when misfortune befell him, but his replacement Torres looked totally lost and that indecision seemed to spread amongst his colleagues. 

3-1 ahead, there was time for Isak to be denied his first treble in our colours by Martinez before making way for Wilson; who in typical style took less than 10 minutes to find the net, stylishly slamming home a centre from Barnes that also survived a VAR check. Some back up that.

Further home goals looked likely against a demoralised Villa side whose support had largely left before Barnes took Jacob Murphy's pass in time added on and strode forward to net for his new employer.

That rounded off a near-perfect afternoon for Eddie Howe, results elsewhere leaving his side top of the table following the completion of the opening fixture round. As inconsequential as losing the Carabao Cup Final last season, it nonetheless indicates our direction of travel. The last time we fleetingly occupied that position was in August 2007, in what was Mike Ashley's first game.  


Page last updated 28 August, 2023