Manager Eddie Howe gave a debut to new signing Sandro Tonali, and it took the Italian international only six minutes to repay Howe’s decision when he arrived late into the box to connect with Anthony Gordon’s cross to put his new team one nil up.
Newcastle had started off like the proverbial rocket and if the first five minutes was anything to go by, the packed house inside St James’ Park must have sensed that they were in for an entertaining afternoon.
Villa had other ideas however and it was another Debutant in Moussa Diaby who grabbed their equaliser on 11 minutes when some poor defending allowed the £52m signing from Bayer Leverkusen to hammer home from 12 yards.
On 16 minutes the Magpies were back in front courtesy of Alexander Isak; sliding onto a cut back from Sven Botman to find the back of the net after latching onto a Kieran Trippier free kick
The pace of the game didn’t let up and the crowd were certainly being entertained. However, there was an enforced break in proceedings midway through the first half when Villa defender Tyrone Mings went down following a tussle with Isak. After extensive assement by the Villa medical staff the defender left the pitch on a stretcher to be replaced by another debutant in Pau Torres.
At the restart the Magpies continued to dominate, and Villa KEEPER Emilio Martinez was lucky to receive only a yellow card from Referee Andy Madley when he raced out of his box and dragged down Miguel Almiron. On another day it could easily have been a red
On the 58th minute Isak got his second with a deft little chip past the onrushing Martinez before he was withdrawn and replaced by Callum Wilson who opened his account on 77 minutes and could have got a second, but for the outstretched leg of villain of the day Martinez.
Harvey Barnes rounded off the day with a debut goal of his own in time added on with his own neat finish.
There were so many highlight performances for the fans to talk about as they filed out of St James’s Park to continue the celebrations in traditional Geordie fashion. Two goals from Isak, Tonali’s debut goal, his varied passing ability, and his calm demeanour on the ball. His link up play with the athletic Joelinton and the rejuvenated Bruno Guimaraes in midfield showed all the hallmarks of what could be an exciting midfield grouping.
But it was Anthony Gordon who proved the big talking point as he brought his player of the tournament form from this summer’s European Under 21 championships into this season opener and showed exactly why Eddie Howe pushed the Newcastle board to invest £40m for his services in last season’s January transfer window.
Gordon proved a constant problem for the Villa defence who were forced into some robust and physical challenges in an effort to nullify his play, but the youngster never gave up and showed all the attributes to becoming a fan favourite on Tyneside.
Next game August 19th Manchester City (A) ko 8pm