Free match highlights and report as Danny Ings and Anwar El Ghazi (pen) give Villa first points of the season; Ings scores on home debut with brilliant bicycle kick; Newcastle 19th and without a point from opening two games
Saturday 21 August 2021 20:43, UK
Danny Ings scored a stunning bicycle kick on his home debut to help Aston Villa to a 2-0 win over Newcastle at Villa Park.
Callum Wilson missed a clear chance one on one for Newcastle in the opening minutes, before the only real piece of quality in the first half came in stoppage time as Ings' magnificent acrobatic effort put Villa ahead (45+3), described by manager Dean Smith after as an "early goal of the season contender".
Villa doubled their lead after the break through Anwar El Ghazi's penalty (62), awarded after a VAR intervention for Jamaal Lascelles' handball from a Tyrone Mings' header.
VAR continued to be Villa's best friend in the second half as a penalty awarded for Emi Martinez's foul on Wilson was overturned for a marginal offside call on the striker. But Newcastle manager Steve Bruce was left "disappointed, frustrated and aggrieved" with both VAR decisions after the game, and felt the contest could have gone either way, despite Newcastle's first and only shot on target coming in stoppage time.
It wasn't a happy return to Villa Park for Bruce, whose side sit 19th without a point from their opening two games and six goals conceded, while Villa pick up their first points of the season.
Aston Villa: Martinez (6), Cash (6), Konsa (6), Mings (7), Young (7), Luiz (7), McGinn (7), Ramsey (8), El Ghazi (7), Buendia (6), Ings (7)
Subs: Philogene-Bidace (NA), Tuanzebe (NA), Wesley (NA)
Newcastle: Woodman (6), Schar (6), Lascelles (6), Fernandez (6), Murphy (5), Hayden (6), Ritchie (6), Willock (6), Saint-Maximin (6), Almiron (5), Wilson (6)
Subs: Longstaff (5), Joelinton (NA), Fraser (NA)
Man of the match: Jacob Ramsey
Newcastle should have been ahead within five minutes as Wilson was found through on goal following some weak defending from Mings, but after opening his body up, the striker turned his effort wide of Martinez's goal.
Neither side settled into much of a tempo or rhythm for the majority of a first half lacking in quality - Jacob Murphy did go down in the box asking for a penalty, and though replays show he dived over Ashley Young's leg, he was not shown a yellow card.
But seconds before the break, Villa went ahead in magnificent fashion. Matt Cash's long throw was nodded on by Mings, and with the ball slightly behind him, summer signing Ings produced a brilliant acrobatic effort into the far corner past a rooted Freddie Woodman.
Aston Villa made two changes after the 3-2 defeat at Watford last week, with Matt Targett and Marvelous Nakamba dropping to the bench. Douglas Luiz, back from Olympic duty, came into midfield along with Jacob Ramsey, while Ashley Young moved to left-back.
It was three changes for Newcastle, too, from the 4-2 defeat by West Ham as Jonjo Shelvey was replaced by Joe Willock following his permanent move from Arsenal.
Ciaran Clark also dropped to the bench with skipper Jamaal Lascelles returning following injury for his first competitive minutes since April, while Emil Krafth made way for Fabian Schar.
Villa doubled their lead through the help of VAR on the hour mark, as Mings' header inside the box hit the arm of Lascelles. After David Coote went to the pitchside monitor and spotted the handball, El Ghazi stepped up to score his sixth Premier League penalty from six attempts, putting Villa in control.
Newcastle stepped it up after going two behind, and thought they had a penalty as their own as Martinez clattered into Wilson on the corner of the box. It was a clear foul, but VAR intervened and spotted Wilson was in an offside position - by a matter of inches - in the build-up, though the offside lines were not touching, meaning the officials could disallow the award of the penalty.
Villa managed to keep Allan Saint-Maximin quiet for the majority of the game and won the midfield battle - 20-year-old Jacob Ramsey was particularly impressive on just his seventh Premier League start - and in a match lacking in clear-cut chances, Ings clinical edge showed why Villa decided to splash £25m on the 29-year-old.
Villa boss Dean Smith on Danny 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."
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce on VAR: "I don't think both goalkeepers made a save, really. It was the fine margins of the Premier League, and I thought big decisions went against us. I thought the offside decisions, where all of a sudden I didn't think we were looking at lines from armpits anymore.
"The penalty… Jamaal Lascelles, with his foot is above his head. If he's going to get his foot up, he's going to lift his arm, too. I don't think anybody in the ground thought it was a penalty.
"I'm disappointed with VAR, because that's two or three decisions in the last week that have proved costly. I thought we were erring on the side of the attacker? He's offside by, what, a toe again? If those lines are not joining, I don't know what is. I'm really frustrated. We feel aggrieved, in a game that could have gone either way."
He also told Sky Sports: "Last week [vs West Ham] we were crying out for the referee to have a look at our penalty, and he doesn't. And then today, he goes and has a look. I thought VAR was supposed to be clear and obvious, nobody in the ground knew it was handball.
"And then the disallowed penalty… There were no lines drawn at all last week, why this week? So, I feel a little bit aggrieved by it. Two big calls."
Villa now go to Barrow on Tuesday night at 7.45pm in the Carabao Cup second round, live on Sky Sports Football, before hosting Brentford on Saturday at 3pm in the Premier League.
Newcastle host Burnley at 7.45pm on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup second round, then host Southampton at 3pm on Saturday in the Premier League.