Aston Villa 2-0 Newcastle United analysis: Five key takeaways as Danny Ings wonder-strike and VAR interference frustrates Magpies

It was a tale of a missed chance, a great goal and more VAR woe as Newcastle United lost 2-0 at Aston Villa.

Here are five big takeaways from the defeat at Villa Park…

Willock watch

Steve Bruce denied that it was a ‘risk’ to start Joe Willock despite the midfielder playing just 48-minutes in pre-season.

Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle United is challenged by Douglas Luiz of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on August 21, 2021 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

After seeing an early chance to score in his eighth successive Premier League match cleared, Willock’s impact was limited.

He looked slightly short of match fitness which is to be expected.

As Villa looked to expose Jacob Murphy down the right, Willock – whether by instruction or otherwise – found himself in a more central position or further up the pitch opposed to helping his struggling teammate.

A blistering start was always unlikely and he should only improve.

Isaac Hayden of Newcastle United receives medical treatment during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on August 21, 2021 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

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Wilson chance

How different the game could have been had Callum Wilson tucked this away inside five minutes. Newcastle’s number 9 showed good strength to turn Tyrone Mings and go clean through.

One on one, you’d back Wilson to find the net but his curled effort from the edge of the box sailed wide of the right post – a golden chance gone begging.

Anwar El Ghazi of Aston Villa scores their side's second goal from the penalty spot past Freddie Woodman of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on August 21, 2021 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Newcastle had made a positive start to the match but couldn’t take advantage, allowing Villa to get a foothold.

Ings’ wonder-strike

Sometimes you just have to give credit to exceptional goals and Ings’ strike on the stroke of half-time was exactly that.

But it is still possible to be critical and disappointed from a Newcastle perspective given how it came about.

Emi Buendia of Aston Villa scores their side's first goal from an overhead kick during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on August 21, 2021 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Ings’ technique to acrobatically volley the ball with such power into the right side of the goal was exquisite. But a failure to deal with Matthew Cash’s long throw into the box and the fact no Newcastle player was within two yards of Villa’s danger man stood on the penalty spot leaves a lot to be desired.

A great goal. But an avoidable one.

More VAR agony

Like it or not, both VAR decisions were correct. Jamaal Lascelles handled the ball even though no one seemed to notice at the time.

The fact play got pulled back and a penalty awarded is just the frustrating nature of this VAR dictated game.

Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United gives instructions during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on August 21, 2021 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

As for the other decision; all the talk of VAR only interfering for clear errors has fallen on deaf ears where Newcastle are concerned.

Wilson was totally wiped out by Emiliano Martinez and a penalty was given immediately. Newcastle had a chance to get back into the game with 15-minutes remaining. Or not.

VAR overturned the penalty with Wilson fractionally offside. Bizarrely, a correct decision felt like an injustice for Newcastle due to VAR meddling.

Saint-Maximin frustration

Allan Saint-Maximin rightly received plaudits for his opening day assist. On Saturday, he cut a frustrated figure as little seemed to go his way.

He was visibly annoyed by Newcastle’s lack of conviction in the final third.

The Frenchman kept going until the end but his body language was off and it was no surprise to see him head straight down the tunnel just seconds after the full-time whistle. The first Newcastle player to do so while others went over to applaud the 2,950 travelling supporters.

Newcastle rely heavily on their talisman, they need him positive and focused in order to turn things around against Southampton.

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