Newcastle United's Swedish striker #14 Alexander Isak (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on August 12, 2023. Photo: AFP
Alexander Isak scored twice in a victory that could have been even bigger if not for a number of saves by Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez as Newcastle dominated a game between two sides that both exceeded expectations last season.
Eddie Howe and Unai Emery were both candidates for manager of the season for leading their teams into Europe, but there was no doubt about whose tactics worked better as Howe’s Newcastle tore Villa apart in the second half with three unanswered goals and other chances.
That was after a lively opening to the game that saw three goals in the first 16 minutes at St. James’ Park.
Newcomer Sandro Tonali put Newcastle ahead in the sixth minute, before Villa’s marquee summer signing Moussa Diaby equalized in the 11th.
Isak then netted his first goal five minutes later by sidefooting home after a well-worked set piece to restore Newcastle’s lead for good.
Villa defender Tyrone Mings had to be carried off on a stretcher in the 31st after sustaining a leg injury, another blow for Emery’s team after midfielder Emiliano Buendia suffered a serious knee injury this week.
Martinez then got away with just a booking when he mistimed a run out of his area in first-half injury time and pulled down Miguel Almiron, with referee Andy Madley opting not to show a red card.
It was all Newcastle in the second half, as Isak stretched the lead with a delicate chip in the 58th minute before Callum Wilson and Harvey Barnes added late goals.
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