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Season 2021-22
Aston Villa (a) Premier League


Saturday 21st August 2021, 3pm

 Villa Park

Conditions: Ominous

Programme: £3.50

Aston Villa



2 - 0





45+3 mins With half-time just seconds away, Jamaal Lascelles sliced a clearance out for a throw in front of the away contingent. Matty Cash took an age to dry the ball before delivering another long throw into the box.

This time Tyrone Mings managed to flick it on and Danny Ings hit an unstoppable bicycle kick into the far corner with Freddie Woodman motionless. TV replays showed that Fabian Schar ducked out of the way of Ings' shot, rather than take one in the face.

For those querying a Cash foul throw meanwhile, the tosser's feet do not have to be behind the line
. The rule is (and has been for decades), it is only a foul throw if the whole of one or both feet are on the pitch. In other words, both feet can be on the pitch if only the heels are touching the line. It looks wrong and will always get shouts from the crowd but them's the rules. 0-1

Half time:
Villans 1 Magpies 0

62 mins John McGinn whipped in a dangerous free-kick from the left that was nodded back across goal by Ezri Konsa to where Mings headed the ball towards the net.

That attempt looked to be successfully blocked and then cleared before Callum Wilson was bundled over in the box and fell on the ball but managed to clear. Out of the blue, an announcement for a VAR penalty check for a possible handball took everyone by surprise.

Initially Wilson fell on the ball and handled it which appeared to be the incident in question but then after Coote checked the monitor and gave the penalty, the block from Mings' header was shown on the big screen and the VAR decision was accompanied by text "handball by Lascelles."

The replay does show the ball hitting Lascelles' outstretched arm and these days, that is always going to be given on review despite no-one appealing at the time.

Any hopes that penalty-save specialist Woodman would block Anwar El-Ghazi's kick soon disappeared as he dived to his left, the ball going into the opposite corner of the Holte End goal.

75 mins Joe Willock played the ball forward for Wilson to run onto and touch the ball in the box before being flattened by Emiliano Martinez. Referee Coote immediately awarded the penalty and yellow carded the goalkeeper.

The penalty award meant it wasn't a red for the denying of a goalscoring opportunity, although such was the near-decapitation of United's number 9, that a straight red could easily have been given.

Once again a VAR review seemed to catch everyone present by surprise with an initial presumption that the check was for contact inside the box, which  seemed beyond doubt.

The length of time taken suggested it was going to be overturned and the decision of offside was announced. The still image of Wilson being marginally offside appeared briefly with lines drawn on it and after seeing it Wilson remonstrated with Coote to no avail.

The Sky highlights show Wilson beyond Mings but it was Konsa who was even closer to playing Wilson onside, lines being taken from armpits and toes to put the no.9 an inch offside.

Had the video been paused a frame either side, it may have seen different lines drawn and marginal decisions like these were supposed to go in the forward's favour this season. Apparently not for VAR official, Jarred Gillett.

Full time: Villans 2 Magpies 0

We Said

Steve Bruce:

"The big decisions went against us. With the offside decision, I didnít think we were looking at lines for armpits any more.

"Lascellesí foot is above his head so if your foot is above your head, youíve got to put your hands up. Iím disappointed with VAR because thatís two or three big decisions that have gone against us that have proved costly.

"We never saw any last week. I thought we were (meant to be) erring on the side of the attacker and (Wilson is) offside by, what, a big toe? So Iím really frustrated with that and the handball.

"Thereís no one in the ground thought that was handball.

ĒEvery week is important in the Premier League: I've been encouraged by what I've seen I really have. We gave as good as we got and I can't remember Freddie
(Woodman) making a save,

"We've lost for me on big key decisions and to a long throw-in which is disappointing but lots of encouraging things to work on.Ē

They Said

Dean Smith said:

We felt they would be a threat certainly with the pace they had. They put some balls behind us and we had to deal with that really well.

"We got away with one when Wilson went through early on. I thought there were two fouls in it, being honest, before that."

About Ings' goal: 

"He scored a 20-yarder into the top corner against us last season, we know the type of goals he can score! It's a super finish, and one that'll be in the list for the goal of the season, and it's only the second game. It didn't look like the deadlock was going to get broken, until that happened.

"It's why we brought Danny in. I know what Ollie
(Watkins) can do, he stretches defences, Danny is a different type of player. I thought he played as a lone striker today in a different way that Ollie does, but I'm excited to see them together. I believe, and that's why I brought Danny in, that they can really complement each other.

"The fans have waited a long time to be back, and the noise levels were up there. I thought it was an OK performance but a great result."


Toon @ Villa Park - PL era:

2021/22 lost 0-2
2020/21 lost 0-2
2019/20 lost 0-2
2016/17 drew 1-1 og(Elphick) (Ch)
2015/16 drew 0-0
2014/15 drew 0-0
2013/14 won 2-1 Ben Arfa, Gouffran
2012/13 won 2-1 Cisse, Cabaye
2011/12 drew 1-1 Best
2010/11 lost 0-1
2008/09 lost 0-1
2007/08 lost 1-4 Owen
2006/07 lost 0-2
2005/06 won 2-1 Ameobi, N'Zogbia
2004/05 lost 2-4 Kluivert, O'Brien
2003/04 drew 0-0
2002/03 won 1-0 Shearer
2001/02 drew 1-1 Shearer
2000/01 drew 1-1 Solano
2000/01 lost 1-0 (FAC)
1999/00 won 1-0 Ferguson
1998/99 lost 0-1
1997/98 won 1-0 Batty
1996/97 drew 2-2 Shearer, Clark
1995/96 drew 1-1 Ferdinand
1994/95 won 2-0 Lee, Cole
1993/94 won 2-0 Allen (pen), Cole

First PL away results:
(final finishing position in brackets)

1993/94 Coventry City lost 1-2 (3rd)
1994/95 Leicester City won 3-1 (6th)
1995/96 Bolton Wanderers won 3-1 (2nd)
1996/97 Everton lost 0-2 (2nd)
1997/98 West Ham won 1-0 (13th)
1998/99 Chelsea drew 1-1 (13th)
1999/00 Spurs lost 1-3 (11th)
2000/01 Manchester United lost 0-2 (11th)
2001/02 Chelsea drew 1-1 (4th)
2002/03 Manchester City lost 0-1 (3rd)
2003/04 Leeds United drew 2-2 (5th)
2004/05 smoggies drew 2-2 (14th)
2005/06 Arsenal lost 0-2 (7th)
2006/07 Aston Villa lost 0-2 (13th)
2007/08 Bolton Wanderers won 3-1 (12th)
2008/09 Manchester United drew 1-1 (18th)
2010/11 Manchester United lost 0-3 (12th)
2011/12 mackems won 1-0 (5th)
2012/13 Chelsea lost 0-2 (16th)
2013/14 Manchester City lost 0-4 (10th)
2014/15 Aston Villa drew 0-0 (15th)
2015/16 Swansea City lost 0-2 (18th)
2017/18 Huddersfield Town lost 0-2 (10th)
2018/19 Cardiff City drew 0-0 (13th)
2019/20 Norwich City lost 1-3 (13th)
2020/21 West Ham won 2-0 (12th)
2021/22 Aston Villa lost 0-2 (?)

Joe Willock's failure to score meant that he missed out on extending his Magpies scoring record to an eighth successive PL game and instead jointly shares the record of netting in seven with Alan Shearer back in 1996.

The lack of a goal for the Arsenal old boy meant that he failed to emulate Peter Beardsley's feat of scoring for Newcastle in four successive PL away games in 1993. Nobody has matched that since, although Andy Carroll did manage five away games in a row in the Championship during 2010.

This was Newcastle's first PL loss on the road since a dreadful 0-3 howking at Brighton in March, ending a run of four unbeaten away fixtures.



The Magpies remain pointless after two games of the season, after a defeat at Villa Park that was disappointing and infuriating in equal measure.

The over-riding feeling at full time though was frustration that Steve Bruce's side failed to make their dominance pay off in the opening 30 minutes and that off-field decisions once again fatally undermined United's afternoon.

The absence of Jonjo Shelvey due to injury saw Joe Willock make his first appearance since signing permanently. A personnel change in the back five meanwhile at least saw slightly less players out of position as Jamaal Lascelles and Fabian Schar replaced Emil Krafth and Ciaran Clark.

No Newcastle player has scored at Villa Park since Yoan Gouffran nearly eight years ago, but Callum Wilson almost broke that sequence when breaking free but firing just wide of the target after five minutes.

There was the suspicion that Wilson had fouled Tyrone Mings in making the chance and had he scored, it's more than possible that VAR would have ruled it out, given the spate of decisions that are afflicting us.

As was the case last week at home to West Ham, technology took centre stage once again to our great detriment - rumours of a lighter touch this season in making decisions obviously don't apply when we are involved.

There was nothing controversial about Villa's opener in first half added time though; an elongated throw into the box from Matty Cash that Mings helped on for Danny Ings to crash home with an acrobatic bicycle kick.

Forced into an interval change when Isaac Hayden was unable to continue and made way for Sean Longstaff, an unexpected VAR check for a handball in the United box just after the hour sent referee David Coote pitchside to review the footage - never a good sign for the defending side.

He inevitably ruled that Lascelles was guilty of an apparently accidental action that had prompted no appeals from Villa players or fans. Here we go again.

Anwar El Ghazi sent Freddie Woodman the wrong way from the spot for what would be Villa's second and final effort on target, leaving United 0-2 down and Villa en route to their first win of the season.

With no movement from the subs bench Newcastle showed little inclination to make a contest of it until Wilson burst into the Villa box on 75 minutes and was promptly taken out by the onrushing home custodian Emiliano Martinez.

What seemed to be an obvious penalty would be belatedly ruled out by good old VAR, who deemed that the Newcastle forward was marginally offside - Wilson remonstrating with the referee as big screen re-runs of the incident showed the narrowness of the call.

The game ended with Joelinton and Ryan Fraser on the field but the visitors unable to add to their single shot on target.

While rightly lamenting the decisions that went against us, our continual lack of creativity was again deeply concerning - as was the tailing off of the performance in the closing quarter. And as for the attempts at playing out from the goalkeeper via short passes in the area, high risk doesn't cover it.

The hidden penalty of further dubious VAR decisions is that it obscured how dull and scruffy Newcastle were throughout- and gave Bruce something to lament upon other than the limitations of his own squad and planning (for him to say that his goalkeeper never had a shot to save undermines the utter mediocrity of the Villa side who won this game).

Putting aside a midweek cup game when both sides may wish to lose, Saturday's visit of Southampton already has an air of desperation hanging over it - complete with the opportunity for an old boy to rub salt in the wound, this time Adam Armstrong.

Bruce may have spoken about armpits and big toes here, but his side once again proved adept only in shooting themselves in the foot. We have routinely been slow starters in recent seasons, but this remains concerning - not least due to the increasing likelihood that our recruitment is over.


Page last updated 21 June, 2022