A brilliant volley by Danny Ings and an Anwar El Ghazi penalty gave Aston Villa an easy 2-0 victory over a poor Newcastle United side in the Birmingham club’s first home game of the Premier League season on Saturday.
A record of 12 goals in 29 Premier League games for Southampton last term prompted Villa to recruit the 29-year-old Ings for a reported 25 million pounds, and with two goals in his first two league games, the investment is already paying off.
Newcastle striker Callum Wilson wasted a good early chance before Ings put Villa in front just before the break, throwing himself in the air and volleying home a flick-on from a long throw in first-half stoppage time.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors in the second half when defender Jamaal Lascelles was penalised after a goal-bound header from Tyrone Mings hit him on the arm, and El Ghazi confidently fired home the resulting penalty in the 62nd minute.
Newcastle thought they were back in it when Wilson was cleaned out in the box by Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez, but the referee’s decision to award a penalty was overturned after the Newcastle striker was found to have been offside when the ball was played forward.
Newcastle failed to find the spark that might have ignited a comeback, slumping to their second defeat of the season following their 4-2 opening day loss to West Ham United, leaving them second from bottom of the standings, with Villa in eighth.
“We had to deal with balls in behind with their pace, but a great finish from Danny Ings and a set-piece routine we worked on in pre-season. That is what we brought Ings in for,” Villa boss Dean Smith told the BBC.
The long throw-in to set up Ings was one of many tactics employed by Villa, but the striker was still playing his cards close to his chest after the final whistle.
“I can’t tell you about the routine, that would be giving a lot away, It’s just something we work on — set pieces are a huge thing now in the Premier League, and ultimately they can make the difference in these games,” Ings said.
“It fell to me and I reacted, and luckily it went in the back of the net.”