Aston Villa’s 2022/23 campaign started disastrously with a 5-1 defeat away to Newcastle United on Saturday evening.
Adding to manager Unai Emery’s misery on the opening day of the Premier League season was a significant injury to central defender Tyrone Mings, who requires knee surgery and will be out long-term.
The blow to Mings comes days after midfielder Emi Buendia was sidelined with a serious injury in Villa’s final pre-season training session.
Emery’s men were outclassed by an energetic Newcastle side that will compete in the Champions League this season.
New recruit Sandro Tonali opened the scoring in the sixth minute for the hosts, but Villa’s record signing, Moussa Diaby, leveled in the 11th minute when he finished off a neat piece of attacking football.
Newcastle forward Alexander Isak capitalized on an Ezri Konsa error and beat Villa keeper Emi Martinez with a cheeky finish in the 16th minute, ensuring the Birmingham side entered the break down 2-1.
Despite finishing the first half strongly, Villa were slow to start the second and fell behind 3-1 in the 58th minute when Isak bagged his second tally. Calum Wilson and Harvey Barnes added insurance markers in the 77th and 91st minutes, respectively.
In terms of expected goals, Newcastle generated 3.82 xG and Villa 1.70. Villa struggled defensively at times in preseason and that trend continued in Matchweek 1. Individual errors certainly played a part, but Villa looked disorganized at the back after Mings exited in the 31st minute.
“To lose 5-1 is not good for us and we played not deserving to lose 5-1, but a lot of things happened in 90 minutes,” said Emery after the match.
“We didn’t control the last 30 minutes like we needed to do. It’s three points and we’re going to think about our reaction over the next week,” he added. “We’re going to analyse the match and prepare the next match at home.”
Want your voice heard? Join the Claret Villans team!