Make no mistake, this was an uncomfortable afternoon. Whilst many supporters would have travelled with a renewed sense of optimism after routing Brentford (4-0) and the appointment of Unai Emery, they were soon brought back to earth.
Despite the eventual scoreline, the first half presented a couple of chances, with Buendia denied by a last-ditch Burns tackle the most noteworthy. It was far from a classic though, with Villa’s focus mostly relying on frustrating our hosts.
The loss of Martinez following a head injury remains a concern, particularly given the Argentine international continued in a dazed state for over 10 minutes after sustaining the injury before substitution. There can be no overlooking the fact that we looked weaker in his absence too at St James’.
Then came the reminder of the lack of recent development in Villa’s playing style and the need for a total re-think in coaching ethos. We were as predictable in our approach as the ultimate outcome.Embed from Getty Images
Wilson added the first from the spot after Young was adjudged to have handled in the area. He almost had a quick second, after comfortably rounding Olsen before his finish from a narrow angle was ruled out for being offside.
The former Bournemouth striker got his second goal early in the second half, heading in a cross as Villa looked to be rocking. Wilson almost completed a speedy hat-trick, but Olsen’s save instead fell to Joelinton who made it three. The fourth came from Almiron and Olsen could do little about it, with the in-form striker bending an effort into the net for his sixth goal in as many games.
With the disallowed Wilson goal and Murphy striking the woodwork late on, this could have been quite embarrassing, if it wasn’t already.
Alarmingly, Newcastle appeared rarely at risk, and whilst the scoreline was emphatic, they never needed to enter top gear to earn it. They were patient and clinical. By contrast, Villa were toothless and lacked any sense of cohesion.Embed from Getty Images
For Villa and caretaker Aaron Danks., the microscope once more falls upon a group of players and individuals who are consistent only at under-performance. This is an expensively assembled project that appears well short of its aspirations to compete at the top end of the Premier League.
Villa had no shots on target, forced no corners and managed just 40% possession across over 90 minutes of football. Aside from a brief spell early in the first half, it appeared our game plan largely centred upon disrupting and time-wasting rather than playing football to win the game. Key figures, once again, were simply second best.
Given our poor early season form and the weekends other results, Villa’s league position can only be considered precarious. Unai Emery, who will take up his post in the next few days, must now be eying difficult games against Manchester United and Brighton as important opportunities for points before a lengthy World Cup break.Embed from Getty Images