Newcastle United registered their third league win on the bounce for the first time in over three years as they claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.

Kieran Trippier‘s first-half free-kick proved the difference at St. James’ Park as Eddie Howe’s side made it three wins in a row in the Premier League after earning a priceless 1-0 victory over Aston Villa at home on Sunday. Newcastle were arguably a better side in the first half as they were winning most of their tackles, duels and second-balls.

By all means, it was a scrappy affair with quality sorely lacking from both sides. The Toon showed more fight and desire on the pitch than the visitors and were rewarded with a deserved lead when a bustling Joe Willock was hauled back by Calum Chambers just outside the box and set-piece specialist Kieran Trippier stepped up to hammer the resulting freekick past Emiliano Martinez, breaching the shaky Villa wall.

Aston Villa were in the ascendency from the start of the second half as Newcastle rode their luck, dropping deep after losing their full-back duo of Trippier and Manquillo to injuries. The visitors almost levelled when Lucas Digne launched a cross into the box, falling kindly to Ollie Watkins, who bundled it home at the near back post, but the goal was later ruled offside by VAR.

The Magpies defended admirably and grafted to preserve the clean sheet and seal another priceless three points to lift themselves four points clear of the relegation zone at 17th place in the table. The Hard Tackle will now run the rule over both sets of players in this gritty affair at the St. James’ Park this weekend.

Martin Dubravka: 6/10

Dubravka had a pretty comfortable afternoon in between the sticks as the Villans only mustered a single shot on target and that was straight at him. Made several decent saves and was alert to head clear the danger following a ball forward from Villa.

Kieran Trippier: 8/10

Another very influential display from the England international as he smashed home a decisive and brilliant free-kick from just outside the box to hand Newcastle the lead. The stand-in captain led by example and has clearly raised the set standards of players around him.

Unfortunately, he was forced off with another calf issue, and the Newcastle faithful will certainly be hoping that there is nothing serious.

Fabian Schar: 7/10

Schar looked comfortable throughout the 90 minutes as Villa never put Newcastle’s defence under any serious pressure. The Switzerland international picked up an early head injury, but he battled on with the wound and came out on top in a bruised affair at St James’ Park. He made several crucial blocks in the box and positioned himself well to cut out any feint Villa danger, completing a match-high 5 interceptions.

Dan Burn: 7/10

An outstanding debut from Dan Burn as there was no looking past the boyhood Newcastle fan in what appeared to be a very solid and assured display at the back. He was aerially supreme and bullied Villa striker Ollie Watkins at times. He showed the fight, determination, and composure to grind out a well-deserved clean sheet.

Javier Manquillo: 6.5/10

Manquillo was very solid down the left flank and completely shut down the effect of Buendia and Coutinho. He was also causing problems going forward on the overlaps before coming off with an injury.

Jonjo Shelvey: 7/10

Shelvey was aggressive with his tackles and did an excellent job of passing the ball around, keeping things ticking along. He tried to break Villa’s resilient backline with several good passes. Nothing spectacular, but he shielded Newcastle’s back-four very well in the anchorman role.

Joe Willock: 7/10

Another energetic performance from the midfielder, who looked threatening with his bursting runs and won a free kick in a crucial position that was converted by Trippier. He completed 4 tackles, 1 interception, and drew more fouls than any other player on the pitch (4).

Joelinton: 7.5/10

Another commanding midfield performance from the Brazilian midfield maestro, as he controlled the centre of the park in the first half, striding from box to box and knitting play for the Magpies. No one can question his defensive work rate as he finished the game with a match-high 6 tackles won, but he did not see much of the ball in the second period as the Magpies were pinned back by Villa.

Ryan Fraser: 7/10

Fraser provided additional width with his high-energy display down the right. He was a constant threat and put several teasing crosses into the box for Chris Wood to latch on to. Not to mention, he worked really hard off the ball and gave Digne a tough game.

Allan Saint-Maximin: 6.5/10

For all his potency and trickery with the ball at his feet, Saint-Maximin contributed little defensively and left big spaces in behind for Cash to operate while losing possession cheaply on other occasions. He did fire a tame shot at Martinez’s goal, which was easily dealt with and kept the Villa defenders busy, completing the most number of dribbles in the game (4). Still, it was not quite the level of performance he delivered on Tuesday night.

Chris Wood: 6/10

Wood failed to register a single shot on target but was supreme aerially and gave Villa defenders a rough time handling his physical style of play. He was provided little service by Newcastle players, but he failed to show his link-up play when he did have the ball. As usual, he won a match-high 13 aerial duels and was a focal point for the Magpies.

Substitutes

Paul Dummett: 5/10

Dummett filled in for the injured Manquillo and performed admirably, making 2 clearances. He offered too much room at times, almost operating as the left-sided centre-back, but dug deep to see out the clean sheet.

Emil Krafth: 5/10

The right-back came in place of Trippier and struggled against the sharpness of Digne and Coutinho late in the second half.

Bruno Guimaraes: NA/10

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Aston Villa

Emiliano Martinez:  6/10

Martinez could not have done much better to prevent Trippier’s powerful free-kick as he was wrong-footed by a significant deflection off Emi Buendia’s extended thigh. He did not have a lot to do in goal, with Newcastle having only posted two shots on target, which he saved comfortably.

Matty Cash: 6/10

Cash had a pretty mediocre game and struggled to create anything in the final third as the Magpies defended well against him. He was a bit more lively in the second half, but could not utilise the space offered to him by an advanced Saint-Maximin, apart from one drive that was well wide. Defensively, he handled Saint-Maximin very well for large parts of the game.

Calum Chambers: 6.5/10

Chambers fared okay on his first start for the club, up against the physical specimen that is Chris Wood. He won his fair share of duels but fouled Willock on the edge of the box, which allowed Trippier the opportunity to smash home the opener.

Tyrone Mings:  6/10

Mings’ performance was much improved from his erroneous showing in the midweek. He looked unsteady in the opening exchanges as Newcastle pressed him in as the captain sought to clear upfield, but he grew into the game and kept things organised at the back.

Lucas Digne: 5/10

The Frenchman was caught high up the pitch on several occasions and was a major suspect defensively, with Newcastle having a lot of joy down his flank. Digne was also off-colour in an attacking sense, with wayward crosses sent into the box, failing to produce anything noteworthy at all.

John McGinn: 5/10

McGinn put up a tenacious fight against an imposing Joelinton, but could not inspire his side going forward. He also made a woeful error just before he was being hooked off, handing the free-kick straight to a Newcastle shirt, which could have proved costly on another day. He ended with a team-high 5 tackles, 2 interceptions and 5 accurate long balls.

Douglas Luiz: 4/10

The Brazilian cut a frustrated figure on the pitch as he kept playing backwards and sideways instead of infusing some energy and verticality into Villa’s attacking play. Douglas also squandered a free-kick in a promising position, firing straight at Newcastle ‘keeper Dubravka. He was booked for recklessly giving the ball away. A forgetful evening for the Brazilian midfielder.

Jacob Ramsey: 4/10

Ramsey was unable to maintain the form he exhibited in midweek and, similar to his teammates, went missing for large parts of the game. The youngster was actively trying to push his side up the pitch whenever he had the ball with some nice runs but did not contribute as much as he had in recent games.

Emi Buendia: 4/10

Buendia was a surprising starter considering the nature of his hip injury last time out, but he struggled to make a meaningful impact throughout the game. Some neat passes, but that was about it. He did come close with a header before being taken off and replaced by Bailey.

Philippe Coutinho: 5/10

The Brazilian attacker could not spark the game to life like in midweek as he looked fatigued and was fairly anonymous in the first half. He was better after the break and had some nice moments, with lovely touches as he tried to utilise his vision to create something out of nothing, but to no fruition.

Ollie Watkins: 5/10

Watkins had a rough day in the office, as he worked well despite feeding off the scraps largely. He was tightly marked by Dan Burn and failed to hold the ball up. Perhaps unlucky to see a goal disallowed for the slightest of offsides. Taken off with 20 minutes remaining in the game after yet another underwhelming performance.

Substitutes

Leon Bailey: 4/10

Bailey came onto the pitch to replace Buendia, but he hardly touched the ball, registering only 8 touches.

Danny Ings: 5/10

Ings almost pounced on a decent Cash long-ball, but instead chose to play in Chukwuemeka, which turned out to be the wrong decision.

Carney Chukwuemeka: NA/10

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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