Newcastle winless run extends to 10 games as Aston Villa get back on track

Samuel Bannister

Aston Villa claimed their first win of 2021 by beating Newcastle 2-0 to ramp up the pressure on Steve Bruce.

It has been a tough start to the new year for Villa, who had only played three times this month due to a Covid-19 outbreak at the club. They had lost all three of those games.

But they put an end to that streak by overcoming Newcastle – who are now 10 games without a win in all competitions.

Villa took the lead in the 13th minute when Ollie Watkins ended his long wait for a goal.

The striker had not scored in his last nine matches, but a big chance came to change that when Fabian Schar inadvertently deflected a ball across goal into the air – allowing Watkins to rise and head home.

Watkins thought he had another in the 33rd minute when he finished from the left-hand side of the box, but he was flagged offside.

Villa did manage to double the lead before the break, courtesy of a player who has stepped up while Watkins has been misfiring.

In the 42nd minute, Bertrand Traore played a one-two with Jack Grealish, running into the box and finishing first time to make it 2-0.

Little changes in second half

Villa remained comfortable in the second half and almost had a spectacular goal when Watkins headed the ball to Ross Barkley, who tried a scorpion-style flick that went over the bar.

With 20 minutes to go, Steve Bruce sent Allan Saint-Maximin for a first Newcastle appearance since November. The hope was that he would provide the spark they have been missing in attack.

However, despite the game opening up a little more, there was no way back for Newcastle, with the two-goal deficit remaining. Hence, Bruce’s side have now failed to score in seven of their last eight games.

The result moves Villa up to eighth, while Newcastle are 16th – still seven points above the drop zone.