Aston Villa Player Ratings vs Newcastle, as Club’s European Charge Gathers Legitimacy

Aston Villa Player Ratings vs Newcastle United

My Old Man Said’s Aston Villa player ratings return after a long exile. With Villa players now on another level under Unai Emery, it would be rude not to bring them back. Lets try a new style with two Villa supporters providing their inputs…

By Charles Hay & Isaac O’Connor

Aston Villa calmly dispatched Newcastle, as a fast start and an early goal gave them a foothold on the game, they never gave up. Villa imposed their will on the game and Newcastle were neutralised as a result, and had little to offer.

From a Villa point-of- view is was the coming together of weeks of development and progress. It’s hard to remember when a Villa team played quite this good. Alex Moreno, Ollie Watkins and Jacob Ramsey were particularly excellent, but it was a faultless team effort.

Seven wins and one draw in the last eight matches. This is exactly the consistency we’ve been missing since rejoining the Premier League. Instead of reacting to our opponents style and adjusting, we are now in a good position where we can play OUR style and force our opponents to adjust to us.

If you want a specific example of Emery’s Midas touch, then look no further than Ollie Watkins. With 11 goals in his last 12 games, Watkins is red hot at the moment. A year ago, Watkins was barely holding onto the starting striker spot with potential of him moving to the wing instead.

Now? Well, it sure doesn’t look like he’s going to lose that lone striker spot for quite some time. Just think… if VAR didn’t detect that marginal offside, Watkins would’ve had a hat-trick.

Aston Villa Player Ratings vs Newcastle

Emiliano Martinez – 8

The Argentinian had little to do but saved Isak’s couple of efforts well. His command of his box, distribution and calm on the ball was evident, and his sliding challenge on Joelinton in the first half was superb – CH

You love to see the trust between him and the back four, which has grown over the recent months. He can now seemingly play the ball to them with his eyes closed. That said, he gave the ball away quite a few times from longer passes ( which lowered his pass completion to 61.2% (lower than average). Maybe he couldn’t resist the urge to try to set up an Ollie darting run? – IO

Ashley Young – 8

A confident performance that kept Antony Gordon silent and lead to his substitution just shows how well Young did, and although his attacking presence wasn’t wide spread he had his moments. – CH

He doesn’t over-complicate anything. His patience on the ball causes the rest of the team to play the same. Also, knows how to win a free-kick. – IO

Ezri Konsa – 7.5

Yet another good game for the Villa defender – having an 82.1% passing accuracy defines his match as a whole. Also winning an aerial duel, Konsa kept Isak and later Wilson relatively quiet, and won two fouls to relieve pressure on the team. – CH

Konsa gave Isak no space to do much. Besides Isak almost getting on the end of a cross, Konsa made Isak practically disappear. – IO

Tyrone Mings – 9

Martinez had a relatively quiet afternoon mainly down to the blocking of Mings, who got three excellent blocks in. Mings was an extremely influential figure in the back line, clearing pretty much everything that Newcastle sent into Villa’s box and often helping Moreno out in sticky situations. – CH

Stable. No better word to describe Mings. He reacted to his teammates’ actions and knew what to do to improve their games. His leadership at the back line is improving month after month. I personally think he deserves another England call-up. – IO

Álex Moreno – 8.5

An assist for the Spaniard and three key passes cements himself as a key influential attacking asset for Emery, as he always looked a threat going forward. Sometimes shaky in defensive situations but overall did well – his persistence to not give up was commendable. – CH

Moreno is an incredible threat to defenses. The way that he brings the ball up causes opponents formational structure to panic, which creates a lot of space for the midfielders around him. He is so calm with the ball and fearless. I love that he almost never turns around and passes it back to Mings instead of going for the gutsy run or a through-ball threat. – IO

Leander Dendoncker – 8.5

The only change for Villa saw Dendoncker get a start on his 28th birthday, and completely outclassed the entire Newcastle midfield. The Belgian had a 97.1% pass accuracy, the highest in a Villa shirt, and six tackles won was also a team high. A day to remember for the midfielder. – CH

I love how Dendoncker played today. He made life so much easier for Konsa and Mings. He knows exactly where to be when defending and doesn’t take big risks when we have the ball. He is a true #6 that really fits into our system. – IO

Douglas Luiz – 7.5

Aston Villa’s number 6 made three interceptions and two tackles, solidifying the defence, and had moments of brilliance in spreading play out to Moreno. As usual, helped run the midfield and will probably go unnoticed. – CH

Douglas Luiz made some nice passes and protected the midfield well, adding a tenacity that helped repelled Newcastle’s physicality at times. – IO

John McGinn © – 8

The captain put in another solid performance in not making any major errors, although his shot off target from a promising attack left much to be desired. A good showing and proving why he deserves a start in the team. His instruction to Ramsay, after the young midfielder went down injured, to go off and return from the left-hand side of the pitch, so Villa would maintain their shape when he came back on, was McGinn playing the captain role to perfection. – CH

McGinn largely kept things simple when he was on the ball, but off it, along with Luiz and Buendia, importantly gave Villa the fire to unsettle a Newcastle team know for their physical approach. McGinn had an up-and-down season this year, with either being invisible, or trying way too hard instead of working with his teammates. Against Newcastle, he was a team player and made choices that were best for the team. That is the true leader that we need and he 100% deserves the captain’s armband. – IO

Emiliano Buendia – 8

Villa’s Argentinian maestro once again was pulling the strings just behind Watkins – one shot and one key pass doesn’t fully represent his influence in attacking situations. A massive improvement on his showing against Forest and central to central to keeping Newcastle off balance to Villa’s attacking threat. – CH

Buendia was all over the pitch (literally), but he can potentially do a lot more with his dribbling skill against opponent’s backlines. Buendia filled in as more of a “scarecrow” to distract defenders and give Watkins some space. And it worked. – IO

Jacob Ramsey – 9

‘He’s one of our own’ rang out at Villa Park several times, and unsurprisingly so, after the young Englishman’s game. Early on he was unlucky to hit the bar but did strike Villa into the lead after Watkins’ smart header down. A later touch from a Buendia cross gave him an assist as Watkins dispatched to seal the victory. Also, his 96.2% pass accuracy is not to be sniffed at – Ramsey is starting to cement his place in the starting XI. – CH

Surely Ramsey’s best match of the season? In past seasons, he tends to disappear after around the 60th minute. Against Newcastle, he created connections with the players around him, and makes threatening runs to always keep Willock and Trippier’s eyes on him, which also created space for others. – IO

Ollie Watkins – 10

Surely an international call-up is imminent with the striker’s league form – two goals and an assist put on a show for the attending England boss, Gareth Southgate. Villa controlled the game right from the start, as Watkins was unlucky to hit the post in the first 30 seconds, but his spectacular header down from a McGinn cross gave Villa the lead, and Watkins got his well earnt goals in the second half. A tight offside call denied the striker an eventual hat-trick, but the man of the match barely put a foot wrong – a tremendous performance. – CH

Nowadays Watkins is a changed man. Less time running the channels, more time focused on playing centrally and getting on the shoulders of the opposition centre-backs. Against Newcastle, he was a threat for every moment of the match. He fed off of Alex Moreno’s gutsy runs and knew where to be when the ball was moving up the pitch. Nothing but praise for Ollie in his part in securing Villa’s 3-0 win. – IO

Off the Bench:

Calum Chambers – N/A (84’)

A solid enough shift at right-back for Chambers but didn’t have much time to influence the game – did well in clearing a late set piece effort. – CH

Emery was simply running the clock. He only had a single touch. – IO

Jhon Durán – N/A (90+1’)

The Colombian striker got a booking for bringing down a player in the attacking corner after taking the ball there late on, and that was all he had time to do. – CH

Jhon was subbed on to give Ollie a round of applause, nothing more. – IO

Manager Rating:

Unai Emery – 10

Emery’s best XI is starting to become apparent as yet again the spine of the team stayed the same and the best performers continued to perform well. Also, Dendoncker established himself as a legit member of the match day squad and gives the team a good option to cover Kamara to allow McGinn to play further up.

The way Emery set the team up was fantastic to see and a quick start to grasp control of a difficult game was met with a good reception from the Villa fans. Making no changes to significantly alter the game seemed to work again, as the original XI kept fighting until the very end, and looked threatening every time they pushed forward.

His micromanagement of every little moment and the passion he always shows is refreshing, and suggest the Villa could be going places.

All in all, a fantastic day to be a Villa fan as we close to 6 points off of Newcastle in third. Could Villa be playing European football next season? It certainly is an exciting prospect. – CH

You can see in his eyes that he trusts these players. And you see on the pitch that he has a gameplan for each player. He knows our squad inside and out, and you trust that every choice he makes as being the right one. I can’t wait to see the changes he makes over the summer. – IO


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Many thanks to both Charles and Issac for stepping up to look after the MOMS Ultimate Aston Villa Player Ratings and in providing a dual perspective.