Wed 31 Jan 2024, 12:03 by Ash Harrison

Aston Villa (A) player ratings: Fabian Schär strengthens his claim as our best-ever PL defender

Aston Villa (A) player ratings: Fabian Schär strengthens his claim as our best-ever PL defender
Serena Taylor/Newcastle United
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Newcastle United put in one of their best displays of the campaign at a morgue-like Villa Park on Tuesday evening, putting Unai Emery's side to the sword 3-1.

We came into the contest without too much hope, given Villa's hugely impressive home league record of nine wins and one draw and our ongoing debilitating injury situation.

We should have known better than to doubt Eddie Howe and this squad of players though. In the end, we were treated to an absolute masterclass from them all.

Fabian Schär, Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimaräes, and Anthony Gordon were all tremendous, but in truth, there wasn't a poor performer in a black and white shirt.

Here's how we saw it from one to fourteen, with our substitutes also playing a big role in the victory.

This was a 2022/23-esque performance from the lads

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Serena Taylor/Newcastle United
Schär was magnificent, putting in one of his best all-round performances for the club

Martin Dúbravka – 8

Dubs has found his feet (hands?) now he's had a run of games. There was nothing he could do about Watkins' goal and he was otherwise brave, composed, and made some big saves when called upon. We're no longer worried about him, which is brilliant.

Kieran Trippier (c) – 9

He got the assist for the first goal with a devilish out-swinging corner and looked back to his levels from earlier in the season in his general play, possibly due to the extra rest he's been allowed recently. We're delighted he's staying, let's hope he keeps this up.

Fabian Schär – 10 ⭐️

We were convinced he was getting a hat-trick, especially after he took both of his goals so brilliantly. Those key contributions aside, he had an incredibly tough assignment up against Watkins and battled manfully throughout. This was as close to a perfect performance as you're ever likely to see.

Sven Botman – 8

Wasn't asked to do nearly as much defending as his central defensive colleague, but it was his composure in possession that stood out once again here. Lascelles did excellently when he deputised, but we missed Botman's ability to play out from the back a lot at times.

Dan Burn – 7

This was the inverse of his performance against Fulham at the weekend. He was outstanding in the first half in every aspect of his game, but once Bailey came off the bench he had a nightmare. This forced a tactical change from Howe, which thankfully worked a treat.

Lewis Miley – 8

He ran Villa ragged down our left in the first half but also ran himself into the ground in the process. He was dead on his feet by around the hour mark and it almost cost us, but the kid is 17 and he's been a big part of another massive win. He's a special talent.

Bruno Guimarães – 9

This was much, much more like it from Bruno in a game where he really needed his quality to shine through. He's having to play within himself somewhat defensively due to the yellow card situation, but that's possibly not the worst thing in the world.

Sean Longstaff – 6

How did he miss that chance at the end? This was gearing up to be one of Longy's better performances since his return from injury, but he could have made stoppage time a much more pleasurable experience for everyone of a black-and-white persuasion if he'd scored.

Jacob Murphy – 8

He was seemingly bang up for this one and played a big part in the result with his directness and creativity. He helped shut down Moreno's overlap threat, too, which is no mean feat. We're not sure how he was trying to claim that goal in his post-match interview, mind!

Alexander Isak – 7

Our hearts sank when he was forced off injured before half-time, as he'd been a constant thorn in Villa's side up to that point. The rest of the lads covered for him admirably, though. Still, we're praying he won't be out for long and that Wilson's ready to start against Luton.

Anthony Gordon – 9

Flash was rightly getting praised to the hilt by the superb Ally McCoist on commentary. He's been magic this season and is another who looks a different prospect now he's not having to play three games a week. He didn't even look out of place when moved up front.

Even the subs were on top form

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PA/Getty Images
Almirón wasn't at 100% but showed enormous character to contribute so heavily

Miguel Almirón – 8

Miggy was apparently nowhere near full fitness but he was excellent. It surely wasn't on the cards for him to play such a big part in the game, but he effectively got the assist for the third goal and had a huge hand in the Longstaff chance at the death.

Tino Livramento – 8

He was pressed into action as a left wing-back in the 75th minute due to Burn having a nightmare against Bailey—who looked absolutely electric to be fair to the big man—and his introduction saw us move to a 5-4-1. He should be proud of his contribution to the win.

Emil Krafth – 6

Krafth took the Ritchie role in this game, coming on at the death and not even having time to get a touch.

Next up for the Magpies is Luton Town at home

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Getty Images
We last played Luton at St. James' in the third round of the FA Cup in 2018.

We owe the Hatters one after losing 1-0 at Kenilworth Road just before Christmas, but they also got an excellent result last night when dispatching Brighton 4-0.

This won't be an easy game, but if we play anywhere near like we did tonight we should get three points even without Isak and Wilson.

It's a classic Saturday 3 p.m. (GMT) affair with no television broadcast here in the UK.

Howay the lads!

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