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Surging Aston Villa demolish Newcastle to boost European hopes

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Aston Villa unexpectedly scored a commanding win over Newcastle at Villa Park behind an Ollie Watkins brace.

Red-hot Aston Villa demolished Newcastle 3-0 at Villa Park on Saturday as Ollie Watkins continues to lead their incredible surge up the Premier League table.

FULL MATCH REPLAY

It is the first time in 25 years that Villa have won five-straight Premier League games as Unai Emery has led them from a relegation scrap when he arrived in November to a real chance of European qualification as they’re now inserting themselves into the top four scrap after a run of seven wins in their last eight. Villa last qualified for Europe 13 years ago.

[ MORE: European, top four scrap ]

Jacob Ramsey set Villa on their way and two second half goals from in-form forward Watkins made it 3-0 and in truth the scoreline flattered Newcastle. Eddie Howe would not have seen this display coming as the third-place Magpies were on a run of five-straight Premier League wins and the manner of this defeat (just their fourth of the season) will hit their top four hopes.

Villa remain in sixth place in the table and have 50 points, six points off the top four. Newcastle have 56 points.


Surging Villa can still finish in the top four

Look, it may be a long shot but the way Aston Villa are playing right now combined with their remaining schedule suggests they could somehow sneak into the top four. Remember: when Unai Emery took charge in November they were just one point above the relegation zone after sacking Steven Gerrard. With five wins in a row and seven victories in their last eight, they are now sixth and are in the hunt for European qualification. This Villa side always had the quality for a top 10 finish but they are overachieving under Emery who has set them up to be solid defensively but also carry a real threat in the final third (they have scored in all of his 18 PL games in charge). Every single player understands their role and they play in a beautiful, yet simple, way. With Ollie Watkins in this kind of form (11 goals in his last 12) their balanced play has a focal point who is making the difference in the final third. Villa play against top four rivals Manchester United and Tottenham in their next five games and if they win both of those they could somehow finish in the top four.


Ollie Watkins: ‘Everyone knows what they are doing’

“We are on a great run at the moment, we are playing good football. Newcastle are a top side and they didn’t have many chances today. That shows what level we are at at the moment,” Ollie Watkins told BT Sport. “We are all enjoying our football here at Villa Park at the moment and once we get that first goal it is a hard place to come. We are really enjoying it, everyone knows what they are doing and it is enjoyable to play in. Trusting teammates in tight areas on the pitch and if we make a mistake we just go again. There is a real togetherness in the team. Everyone is enjoying it and we are looking forward to the games to come.”

Jacob Ramsey: Villa’s players thinking of Europe

“Yeah! For most of the squad this is the first time Europe has come about, if we do get there. We have got to remain humble but why not? We are in good form and we’ve still got to play teams around the area. So hopefully we can win those games and Europe it is!” Jacob Ramsey said when asked by BT Sport about Unai Emery’s comments that European qualification is possible and if they are thinking about it.

“It is a good time to be a Villa player and a Villa fan. Whenever we play at home the crowd give us the buzz and the energy to start the game well and end the game well,” Ramsey added.


Stars of the show; Aston Villa vs Newcastle player ratings

Alex Moreno: Pure quality on the left flank. Set up Watkins for his goal and whipped in some fine deliveries. An excellent January addition.

Ollie Watkins: Got another two goals, had another ruled out, hit the post and set up the opener. What an incredible run of form he is in. Newcastle’s center backs couldn’t handle his pace.

Tyrone Mings: Brilliant defensively and also picked out some lovely passes into midfield, most often to the lively Emiliano Buendia.

Aston Villa vs Newcastle


What’s next?

Aston Villa host Brentford next Saturday, April 22. Newcastle host top four rivals Tottenham on Sunday, April 23.


How to watch Aston Villa vs Newcastle live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7:30am ET SaturdayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com

FULL TIME: Aston Villa 3-0 Newcastle - A resounding win for red-hot Villa and what a job Unai Emery has done. They are chasing European qualification and were great value for the win. Probably Newcastle’s worst display of the season.

GOALLLL! Aston Villa 3-0 Newcastle - Ollie Watkins clinches the win with yet another goal. McGinn plays it in and Buendia’s ball across goal is missed by Ramsey and Watkins slots home. The onlooking Gareth Southgate will surely have Watkins in his next England squad in June. 11 goals in his last 12 games for Watkins if you’re counting. And we are.

Newcastle trying to get something going late on but Villa look more likely to score the next goal. Moreno has been rampant down the left flank.

Villa have been sensational today. Newcastle have never really got going.

GOALLLL! Aston Villa 2-0 Newcastle - It stands this time for Ollie Watkins. Moreno, who has been sensational today, gets to the line and cuts it back for Watkins who takes a good first touch and slams home. Watkins has now scored in four Premier League games in a row and 10 in his last 12 games.

NO GOAL! Aston Villa thought they had gone 2-0 up against Newcastle but the goal is ruled out. Ollie Watkins sent Villa Park bonkers after running through and squeezing the ball under Nick Pope, but VAR is used and his left knee was off.

SAVE! Good stop from Emiliano Martinez. Isak takes his time on the edge of the box and the Swede looks to curl a shot towards the top corner but Martinez pushes it away. Moments later Almiron slams a shot into the side-netting. He should have hit that across goal.

So close to an equalizer right away for Wilson. Isak clips in a cross and Martinez saves. Looks like Wilson was just offside but that is probably a sign of things to come with both Isak and Wilson on at the same time.

It is Almiron who is about to come on, along with Callum Wilson. Villa are pushing for a second...

Second half is underway at Villa. No changes for either side at the break but Miguel Almiron is warming up vigorously on the sidelines as the Paraguayan star is back on the bench after a spell out through injury.

HALF TIME: Aston Villa 1-0 Newcastle - Jacob Ramsey’s early goal difference and Villa deserve this lead and probably should be ahead by more. Newcastle have had their moments but just look a little off it and this is very similar to their poor first half at Brentford last week. They turned things around and won it in the second half last week. Can Eddie Howe’s side do the same again?

Things have calmed down a little but. I mean, the game couldn’t continue at that kind of pace!

What a game this is. Newcastle’s Jacob Murphy whip in a lovely cross but Isak can’t get on the end of it. At the other end Emiliano Buendia can’t get enough on his header.

WOW! It should be 2-0 and it should be two for Jacob Ramsey. Initially Ollie Watkins is played over the top and his low shot is saved very well by Nick Pope. The cross then comes in from Alex Moreno and Ramsey, six yards out, somehow hits the crossbar. He should have scored.

GOALLLL! Aston Villa 1-0 Newcastle - Jacob Ramsey smashes home to send Villa Park wild and that is a fine goal. John McGinn clips in a lovely ball to the back post and Ollie Watkins, under severe pressure, does superbly to cushion a header down and Ramsey smashes home. Villa Park erupts.

SAVE! Emiliano Martinez pushes away a strong strike from Alexander Isak. Newcastle growing into the game after that slow start.

POST! Villa should be 1-0 up and it is the man in red-hot form, Ollie Watkins, who should have scored. He was played in but scuffed his shot and hit the post. A huge let-off for Newcastle. Watkins, Villa’s fans and Unai Emery cannot believe he didn’t score.

KICK OFF: We are underway at Villa Park and there is a great atmosphere.


Key storylines & in-form players to watch

Twenty-seven year old Ollie Watkins has a goal or an assist in 10 of 11 Premier League matches to give him 12 goals and five assists this season. Douglas Luiz has also been a huge part of what’s working for Emery at Villa.

Red-hot Alexander Isak and Joelinton are leading the way for Newcastle, who would reach the Champions League well ahead of schedule should they outlast Manchester United and Tottenham.


Aston Villa team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Jed Steer (calf), Philippe Coutinho (thigh), Matty Cash (calf). Boubacar Kamara (ankle), Leon Bailey (thigh)


Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Emil Krafth (knee), Ryan Fraser (other), Allan Saint-Maximin (thigh)



Follow @NicholasMendola