Fabian Schar scored twice as Newcastle punished Aston Villa 3-1 to become the first team to beat them in the Premier League at Villa Park this season.
Eddie Howe’s side ended a run of four defeats to win away for the first time since September, on top even before Schar scored twice in four minutes late in the first half. Alex Moreno’s own goal added to the lead, Ollie Watkins’ effort not enough for Villa.
The victory lifts Newcastle up to seventh in the table. Even one point would have been enough to move Unai Emery’s side above reigning champions Manchester City and into third. Instead, they will need to improve on this to hang on to a top-four finish.
Aston Villa: Martinez (6), Cash (6), Konsa (5), Lenglet (6), Moreno (6), Kamara (5), Douglas Luiz (6), Tielemans (5), McGinn (6), Diaby (4), Watkins (6).
Subs: Bailey (7), Zaniolo (6), Ramsey (6).
Newcastle: Dubravka (7), Trippier (7), Schar (9), Botman (7), Burn (7), Guimaraes (7), Longstaff (7), Miley (7), Murphy (7), Gordon (8), Isak (6).
Subs: Almiron (7), Livramento (6), Krafth (n/a).
Player of the match: Fabian Schar.
How Newcastle stunned Villa
Aston Villa’s home form this season has been imperious while Newcastle had not won away in the competition for four months but there was no lack of confidence. Howe’s team found spaces attacking the Holte End and had the better of it before the first goal.
It needed a Clement Lenglet block to deny Sean Longstaff before Anthony Gordon’s shot was deflected over but the Magpies took the lead from the resulting right-wing corner. Schar was free to fire into the net and it proved to be just the start for the centre-back.
- Unai Emery went with the team that drew at Chelsea in the FA Cup so that saw two changes from the previous Premier League game with Matty Cash and Youri Tielemans starting.
- Eddie Howe also named an unchanged team from their FA Cup tie with Jacob Murphy retaining his place and Miguel Almiron named among the Newcastle substitutes.
Newcastle doubled the advantage within five minutes when Gordon’s volley was deflected onto the underside of the bar but Schar, with the instinct of a poacher, was quickest to react and beat Emiliano Martinez again. The away support were raucous. Villa in shock.
Emery had described this as a “great opportunity to see how much we have improved” after having lost to the same opposition 5-1 on the opening weekend of the season but they struggled to get to grips with the game, moving the ball slowly, lacking intensity.
Newcastle did have to contend with Alexander Isak going off injured but that only resulted in Miguel Almiron coming on and he helped to set up the third goal early in the second half. Under pressure from Jacob Murphy, Moreno could only turn the ball into his own net.
The character of the contest changed only when Emery made a triple substitution, introducing Leon Bailey. The Jamaican winger set up Watkins for one goal and put him away for what looked like a second only for a narrow offside call to go against Villa.
But it was too little and came too late to really trouble Newcastle who managed the closing stages of the game well to secure the points and arrest their recent slide. It is Villa who will be alarmed. Their previous Premier League defeat at home came last February.
FPL stats: Aston Villa vs Newcastle
|Schar (2), Watkins
|Trippier, Murphy, Bailey
|Schar (3), Trippier (2), Watkins (1)
Newcastle’s win in stats
- Aston Villa were beaten at Villa Park in the Premier League for the first time since February 2023 against Arsenal, ending their 17-game home unbeaten run.
- Newcastle earned just their second away win of the season in the Premier League, and their first since beating Sheffield United 8-0 last September.
- Newcastle have now scored eight goals against Aston Villa in the Premier League this season. In Unai Emery’s career within the big five European leagues, this is the joint-most one of his teams have conceded against an opponent in a single league campaign.
- Ollie Watkins has become just the third player to score 50 Premier League goals for Aston Villa (along with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Dwight Yorke).
- Fabian Schar had not scored with any of his previous 73 shots attempted in the Premier League.
- Kieran Trippier has made the joint-most assists in the Premier League this season (8), drawing level with Mohamed Salah and Ollie Watkins with his assist on Tuesday night.
- Lewis Miley became the sixth-youngest player in Premier League history to make 10 starts and the youngest to do so since Luke Shaw for Southampton in January 2013.
Howe: Renewed life in our season
“It was a big win and a big performance,” said Howe. “The players were really good tonight. That was like us last year. We had a really good start to the game, aggressive and on the front foot.” He credited the FA Cup win away to Fulham for bringing momentum.
“I think it has been a big, big week for us,” he added. “The Fulham game, we knew to stay in the FA Cup was going to have a big say in the feel around the club. We took that positivity into this game and hope it kicks renewed life into our Premier League season.”
One frustration was the injury to Isak. “We hope it is not too serious but it is very early to say that. We need a proper diagnosis.” Callum Wilson will not be fit to replace him at the weekend. “Our luck has been out all season with injuries.”
But with Dan Burn and Sven Botman fit and back to form, there is optimism that Newcastle are much improved at the back. “They took time naturally to get back to their best rhythm,” he explained. “I definitely see an improvement in our defensive game.”
And there was praise for Miguel Almiron, who made an impact after coming on for Isak and with transfer speculation linking him with a move away. “What a person and professional he is.” Howe also confirmed that the Paraguayan will be staying at the club.
Emery proud of players despite defeat
“I told the players I am very proud of them,” Emery said afterwards.
“I am very proud of the supporters at Villa Park. The loss has to come one day. Today, it came. The way we did it was fantastic. We cannot lose perspective. The perspective is that against Newcastle, playing like they did tonight, it is not easy to win.”
“We are in the top five but we know there are other teams contending to be there and one of them is Newcastle. Chelsea and Manchester United. Others like West Ham and Brighton. We are not happy with this result. But I have to understand the perspective.
“I prepared a long time before to tell the players after a defeat that I am very proud of them. I prepared it a long time [ago].”
In terms of the specifics of the game, Emery explained that Bailey, who made such a big impact off the bench, did not start because of a fitness concern. “He came last week with some problems in his back. I decided to start with the same players.”
And he was annoyed by the goals. “We conceded more than normal. We conceded chances, corners and set-pieces. We know what their power is. Their power is set-pieces. They scored two corners at Fulham. They imposed their game plan. Our reaction was a little late.”
Aston Villa are back in Premier League action on Saturday when they travel to Sheffield United, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.
Meanwhile, Newcastle are also in action on Saturday when they host Luton Town; kick-off 3pm.
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