Steve Bruce had the lads set up in a 5-3-2 with Isaach Hayden as the third center-back and a three-man midfield of Jeff Hendrick, Miguel Almiron, and Jonjo Shelvey. Callum Wilson and Andy Carroll were again upfront.
Aston Villa dominated possession in the opening ten minutes but both of their shots didn’t threaten Karl Darlow. Newcastle had one tame effort from Miguel Almiron easily saved by Emiliano Martínez. The lads were making a considerable effort to press Aston Vill high up the pitch.
But as we’ve seen far too often, sloppy defending has gifted our opponents a soft goal. Matt Targett put in a dangerous cross from the left that Fabian Schar got a foot on but just propelled it into the air. It was on a platter for Ollie Watkins to head past a charging Karl Darlow and into the net in the 13th minute.
Newcastle had a decent reaction after the goal. In the 23rd minute, Jamaal Lascelles rose to get a powerful header onto Jonjo Shelvey’s corner. However, Tyrone Mings was there to make the block. Newcastle followed that up with a couple of Andy Carroll headers from excellent crosses put in by Javier Manquillo. Carroll just couldn’t get good contact on either effort.
Aston Villa added a second goal just before halftime. Karl Darlow punched away a Villa corner and Villa recycled possession. Jack Grealish played a ball to Bertrand Traore from the right. The former Chelsea man provided a glorious finish off the underside of the crossbar.
It’s been another very disappointing performance so far for Newcastle. Other than a brief spell with a few headers, the lads haven’t threatened Villa enough. That coupled with some poor defending has Newcastle heading toward another defeat.