Villa Analysis – Aston Villa’s Quick Starts and Left-Hand Side is the Secret of Recent Success

By Alex Martinez

Aston Villa’s Recent Statistical Success

Aston Villa continued their brilliant run of form under Unai Emery winning 3-0 against Newcastle United, with goals from Jacob Ramsey and a brace from Ollie Watkins, with Villa now having won seven of their last eight games in the Premier League.

Villa came into the match having scored in all 17 games under Emery, the longest current Premier League run. They’ve now kept four clean sheets in a row at Villa Park, and are still unbeaten at home in the league against Newcastle since September of 2014.

Aston Villa now have the most clean sheets in 2023 (8), and the most points won in the league in 2023, with 32.

Aston Villa Statistical Analysis vs Newcastle

To start with, let’s go over the expected stats. Villa had an xG of 1.87 (really? Only that?), while Newcastle had 0.57. With expected threat (xT), Villa had 3.66 while Newcastle had 2.55.

Now one reason for Villa’s dominance is their quick starts in games, and Ollie Watkins’ close miss within 30 seconds was testament to that. Villa now have the most goals within the first 15 minutes (11) of games. In fact, 40% of Villa’s shots came within the first 15 minutes of the Newcastle match.

Maybe it has been Villa’s decision to kick towards the Holte End in the first half?

Another reason for Villa’s win was their passing and the control it enabled them to have. Villa had six players with more than an 80% pass accuracy rate, and five players with more than two key passes, and it showed, with Villa creating three big chances, to Newcastle’s one.

Jacob Ramsey had the most key passes, with four, a pass accuracy of 96%, with the homegrown talent getting one assist and one goal, but more on him later.

Emery’s Play Style

Jacob Ramsey’s goal captured how Villa plays under Emery in one move. Buendia received between the lines, and McGinn cut inside and could either pass, cross, or shoot. He crossed it in towards Watkins, who was lurking between Trippier and Schar, and Watkins leaped highest to knock it back to the oncoming Jacob Ramsey, who ran in from that space just outside of the box. 

Another thing worth highlighting, that Emery designed, is the Buendia and Watkins partnership. Emi drops between the lines, and plays a one-touch lay off. He pulls defences apart with his movement. He can also play longer and more direct balls into the channels to Watkins and then brings the wide midfielders inside to land on second balls. Buendia drops deep, receives it on the half turn, and either plays directly to Watkins, or brings McGinn into play.

New Winning Combination

The main thing worth highlighting from the game is the new combination of Moreno, Ramsey, and Watkins. The left-hand side were involved in every single goal and assist, and it was brilliant watching this partnership trio develop further down the line, as it showed a lot of promise throughout the whole match.

Here are the three players stats:

Moreno: 1 assist, 2/3 dribbles completed, most touches (71), 3 key passes, 3/4 ground duels won, 5 crosses, 66% pass accuracy rate, 225 progressive passing yards, 4 passes into the final third, 3 duels won, 5 touches in the opposition box, 3 big chances created, 9 progressive carries

Ramsey: 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 tackles, 3/4 dribbles completed (most in the match), 5 ground duels won, 96% pass accuracy (25/26), 47 touches, 4 chances created, 1 interception,1 aerial duel won, 2 successful take ons

Watkins: 2 goals and 1 assist, most touches in the opposition box (10), most shots (5), most shots on target (4), 3 duels won, 1 shot blocked, 1 clearance, 2 key passes, 3 shot creating actions,  80% pass completion rate, 4 progressive carries, 7 progressive passes received, first Villa player this season to record 3 goal contributions in one game.

These stats just back up how good this trio played together, and how promising it is going forward. Imagine if Villa had a similar threat on the right-hand side (some summer shopping maybe needed before that happens).

These three players were the main reason that Villa won by such a margin. Moreno going down the wing, finding Ramsey, who either lays it off to Moreno, or plays it to Watkins, is something that all Villa fans would love to see more of.

Player Of The Match

You could have chosen from these three players on the left-hand side, but the obvious candidate has to be Ollie Watkins. The England international is the top scorer in the league since the World Cup, with 12 goals, and he also has 14 goals and assists since the World Cup, which is another record.

The Villa striker is in outstanding form, and seems to have found another level ever since Unai Emery took control. He’s now the joint fifth top scorer in the league, and is helping fire Villa into the European spots.


This was one of, if not, Villa’s best game under Unai Emery. The Villans dominated throughout the match, capitalising on Newcastle’s poor midfield, with the two midfield pivots taking advantage of Bruno Guimares midfield sloppiness. With the hardest remaining fixture list statistically to play, it’a going to be interesting to see how opposition teams address the threat of Villa’s left-hand side.


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