Football Features

Newcastle 5-1 Aston Villa: Player ratings as Gordon and Isak pull poor Villa defence apart

By Harry Edwards

Published: 19:36, 12 August 2023

Newcastle United top the Premier League table after the second day of action thanks to their 5-1 thrashing of Aston Villa.

It was a thrilling game with both sides scoring within the opening 16 minutes. Sandro Tonali opened his Newcastle account to give the home side the lead, but Moussa Diaby netted on his Villa debut to bring it back level. Things weren’t level for long, however, with Alexander Isak restoring Newcastle’s advantage in the 16th minute.

Isak got his second of the game midway through the second half to make life a little more comfortable for Newcastle before Callum Wilson and Harvey Barnes b.

Here’s how the players rated at St James’ Park:

Newcastle United

Nick Pope – 6 – Beaten by Diaby’s finish but really didn’t have anything else to do.

Kieran Trippier – 7 – As always, Trippier was the man that Newcastle played most of their moves through, but he was up against it defensively with very little cover from the man in front of him.

Fabian Schar – 5 – Struggled to deal with Watkins’ runs, constantly losing the English striker.

Sven Botman – 7 – Performed better than his defensive partner and got a crucial touch onto Tonali’s ball into the box, keeping it alive for Isak’s goal.

Dan Burn – 5 – He allowed Gordon ahead of him the freedom to attack but when Burn had to defend, he was up against it, struggling to deal with Villa’s pace.

Sandro Tonali – 8 – What a signing he will prove to be. People already knew of Tonali’s quality but this was a wonderful debut with the Italian appearing everywhere in the midfield. Winning the ball back, getting involved in the passing and even opening the scoring, Tonali ghosted into the box to get onto the end of Gordon’s cross with a sliding effort. It was he who sent a great ball into the box in the build up to Isak’s goal too.

Bruno Guimaraes – 5 – Looked off the pace in midfield, not getting too involved in the game for Newcastle.

Joelinton – 7 – Had to do a lot of defensive work to cover for Burn’s limited movement but he looked good in the midfield as he has for most matches under Eddie Howe.

Miguel Almiron – 6 – Fell asleep tracking Digne for Villa’s equaliser and wasn’t really a threat in attack. Dragged back by Martinez when he did get into a promising situation and tested the Argentinian in the second half but his effort was a bit tame.

Alexander Isak – 9 – A real threat through the middle for Newcastle, even without the goals. But he did manage to score twice, making it an even better performance. The first was a good first-time finish as the ball was played back across goal and the second was a cool effort dinked over Martinez to capitalise on a defensive error. Real moments of quality.

Anthony Gordon – 8 – Wonderful. Gave Cash nightmares down his flank, barely letting the Polish right-back have a moment’s rest and pushing him so far back that he didn’t have any chance to attack. Put in a great cross for Tonali’s opener too.


Harvey Barnes (for Gordon 68) – 8 – Timed his run perfectly and neatly picked out Wilson for Newcastle’s fourth. Should have had another assist too in a similar fashion, but Wilson’s shot was saved. The next time he raced through, he didn’t pass and got a goal of his own.

Callum Wilson (for Isak 68) – 7 – Came off the bench to add to Newcastle’s lead with an easy finish and should have got another but he was too casual and his effort was saved.

Sean Longstaff (for Guimaraes 85) – N/A – A late sub.

Jacob Murphy (for Almiron 86) – N/A – A late sub.

Elliot Anderson (for Tonali 90) – N/A – A late sub.

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Aston Villa

Emiliano Martinez – 5 – Well beaten by all four goals but produced a great save to deny Tonali from making it 2-0 early on. Newcastle fans were calling for him to be sent off in the first half after he went walkabouts and pulled Almiron down out wide, but he was only booked.

Matty Cash – 3 – A real nightmare performance. His struggles against Gordon were shown early on with a foul and he really couldn’t deal with the Newcastle wide man. Gordon’s attacking also meant that Cash couldn’t get forward himself and when on the one occasion he did, he skied an effort with an open goal. Moved into midfield when Diego Carlos came on and you feel that change was made due to how poorly Cash had been coping. Still managed to get caught out tracking Barnes for the fourth goal.

Ezri Konsa – 4 – Lost his centre-back partner midway through the first half and needed to be the man to step up. Looked to have stopped a Newcastle attack in the second half but missed the ball when trying to play calmly, allowing Isak to get his opportunity. Moved to right-back when Carlos came on but didn’t fare much better.

Tyrone Mings – 5 – In an interesting battle against Isak, Mings lasted 25 minutes before going down injured, having to come off on a stretcher with his knee strapped and secured. He looked distraught.

Lucas Digne – 5 – The aim of Villa’s game was to get Digne high and wide and it worked early on as the Frenchman played his role in the equaliser. However, after that moment he really didn’t have too much impact on the game and got caught out defensively a few times.

Boubacar Kamara – 4 – Usually a reliable player, Kamara didn’t offer Villa the midfield presence they needed, offering very little defensive cover. Played Barnes clearly onside for the fifth.

Douglas Luiz – 6 – A one-man midfield at times which meant that while he was good, there were moments of weakness for Luiz as he had to do everything.

Moussa Diaby – 7 – Villa’s liveliest attacker, he started his Premier League career in fine fashion with a great volleyed finish to equalise and kept asking questions of Burn.

John McGinn – 4 – Wasn’t really a presence in the game and had just 22 touches before coming off.

Leon Bailey – 4 – It was easy to forget Bailey was on the pitch in the first half, not really getting involved with just five passes completed. His presence was known though for the opening goal, not tracking Gordon’s run. Taken off at half time with a midfield change needed.

Ollie Watkins – 5 – Headed on a deflected cross for Diaby’s goal and asked questions of Konsa with his runs but he really wasn’t a goal threat.


Pau Torres (for Mings 31) – 5 – Probably not the debut he had in mind, coming off the bench for the injured Mings and it was a baptism of fire. Played Barnes onside for Wilson’s goal.

Youri Tielemans (for Bailey 45) – 4 – Really didn’t add anything after coming on.

Diego Carlos (for McGinn 64) – 4 – His arrival brought a defensive shift but no change in the performance.

Philippe Coutinho (for Diaby 87) – N/A – A late sub.

Jaden Philogene (for Cash 87) – N/A – A late sub.