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Three things we learned from Newcastle vs Aston Villa: VAR in Villa Park

Anwar El Ghazi sends Freddie Woodman the wrong way from the spot to give Aston Villa a 2-0 cushion against Newcastle after Jamaal Lascelles' handball in the box.

  • Final score: Aston Villa 2, Newcastle 0
  • Goals scored: Ings (45'+3), El Ghazi (pen 62')
  • Shots: Villa 10-9
  • Possession: Newcastle 53%

Newcastle vs Aston Villa’s score put the VAR in Villa Park.

Aston Villa built on an outstanding overhead kick goal from Danny Ings with a VAR-awarded penalty, and the Video Assistant Referee took a penalty away from Newcastle United in a 2-0 win for the home team at Villa Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Anwar El Ghazi converted Villa’s penalty in the win, as the Villans rebound from a 3-2 opening day loss to Watford while Newcastle adds a second loss to the column following a defeat at home to West Ham last weekend.

Newcastle hosts Saints next while Villa stays home for Brentford.

Three thINGS (and MINGS) we learned from Aston Villa vs Newcastle

1. Villa nabs first post-Grealish win: This storyline is going to be around a while, but is this team already under new leadership following the departure of nine-figure man Jack Grealish (who scored his first Man City goal on Saturday)? Danny Ings looks the same line-leader who delivered Southampton from the drop last season and Burnley before that, while Tyrone Mings was an absolute force with the armband. This is going to be all about Ings and Mings, with a little bit of McGinn(s?).

2. VAR bites Newcastle again (twice): The Villa Park faithful were twice signing “V-A-R” to the tune of “Kum Ba Yah” after the Video Assistant Referee spotted Tyrone Mings’ header glancing off the arm of Jamaal Lascelles, whose arm was outstretched as he bid to kick the ball at the same time Mings’ headed it. Somehow, Lascelles was supposed to kick with his arm planted at his side, as Newcastle was hit by a questionable VAR penalty for the second time in two weeks.

Wait, a third: Wilson had a penalty taken off the board by VAR for the thinnest offside (even with thicker lines). Steve Bruce was bound to be apopletic (again. Twilight Zone stuff here), even if the calls have all been borderline.

3. When Wilson, Saint-Maximin struggle: Granted Callum Wilson probably would’ve won a penalty on any other day of the year but he could’ve scored early on a breakaway to change the direction of the game, and Newcastle struggled to get the ball to playmaker Allan Saint-Maximin (credit to Villa there). The Magpies have little depth and Sean Longstaff’s entry for Isaac Hayden hurt the game. Ryan Fraser and Matt Ritchie continue to be non-factors (at least in a positive sense) and Freddie Woodman might be a fine young goalkeeper but he is decidedly not Martin Dubravka and was caught before Lascelles’ handball.

Still, the Magpies played open early and will look at both of their opening losses to claret-based teams as results that could’ve gone either way. They finished a game with a rare advantage in possession and were basically shot-for-shot with the victors.

Man of the Match: Tyrone Mings

It could easily be Ings, but Mings was instrumental in both goals and very good in his own end as well.

Aston Villa vs Newcastle score, recap

Villa 2, Newcastle 0: Callum Wilson beat Emiliano Martinez but missed wide of the far post as Newcastle got a glorious chance in the fifth minute, and the Magpies fired another pass into a dangerous area only to see a Villa clearance in the sixth.

Newcastle was energetic and the better side for the first half hour but the hosts took over as the match neared halftie.

That’s when Ings, the $41 million Aston Villa striker went airborne for an overhead kick that carried real venom on its way into the Newcastle goal for a 1-0 halftime lead.

Ings now has two goals in two Premier League matches as a Villan after scoring in a 3-2 loss at Watford to open the season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Villa went up 2-0 when VAR reviewed a Mings header that went off Jamaal Lascelles’ arm, and El Ghazi smashed home his penalty.

Joe Willock tried to answer right away and his shot was saved by Emiliano Martinez and the assistant referee’s flag was raised. Soon after, Matt Ritchie blazed a shot over goal.

The Magpies appeared to get their chance from the spot when Martinez clobbered Callum Wilson in the box and the thicker lines of VAR were tested in front of our eyes. No penalty.

Follow @NicholasMendola