Villa attack still struggling without Grealish ahead of Blank Gameweek 29 |

Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa

  • Goals: Jamaal Lascelles (£4.2m)
  • Own goals: Ciaran Clark (£4.5m)
  • Assists: Jacob Murphy (£4.9m) | Ollie Watkins (£6.6m)
  • Bonus points: Murphy x3, Matt Targett x2 (£5.0m), Martin Dúbravka x1 (£4.8m), Lascelles x1


Owners of Ollie Watkins (£6.6m) owners suffered yet another typically frustrating outing as Aston Villa drew 1-1 with Newcastle.

The forward found the back of the net in the closing stages of a dull game at St. James’ Park only for the Premier League Goal Accreditation Panel to adjudged it as a Ciaran Clark (£4.5m) own goal.

Watkins is now six Premier League matches without a goal to call his own and his general contribution on Friday night highlighted Jack Grealish‘s (£7.5m) absence even more.

Villa were not helped in their exertions by a first-half injury to Bertrand Traoré (£5.9m) who suffered rib and hip damage after an unfortunate collision with an advertising board.

“He’s got a whack on the rib and the hip. It was a blow for him to go off as he’s one of our most creative players without Jack on the pitch.” – Dean Smith

Not only did Traoré’s withdrawal leave his team-mates somewhat in the lurch, his replacement Anwar El Ghazi (£5.3m) was more selfish than Watkins owners would have liked, registering a high volume of shots in the final third that might have been better off as passes to a team-mate.

Aston Villa’s Blank Gameweek 29 fixture against Spurs is one of just eight matches in that round and has acted as a backdrop for investment in their assets of late, or continued persistence with them even with Grealish out of the picture.

Dean Smith is “hopeful” his key midfielder can be ready in time to face Spurs but based on recent performances, it is hard to be too excited about their attacking options in Blank Gameweek 29 if he were to lose his fitness race.


Friday night was also a frustrating one for owners of Matt Targett (£5.0m) and anyone invested in the Aston Villa defence.

He put in the cross for Watkins’ second-half goal only to lose his assist when the own goal was given.

Then in the dying embers of stoppage time, Jamaal Lascelles (£4.2m) wiped out his clean sheet.

Despite losing out on a potential double-figure haul, Targett still managed to cling onto two bonus points, enough to offer mild consolation.

It means Targett has scored four points or more in six of his last seven away matches, thanks to four clean sheets, one assist and three bonus.

The left-back was also involved in free-kicks with Grealish and Traoré off the pitch. As a result, Targett finished Friday night joint-top for key passes at St. James’ Park with a total of three.

Ezri Konsa (£4.6m) came close to converting one of his free-kicks in the opening period so it will be worth looking out for further involvement in set pieces for Targett.

Newcastle United XI (4-2-3-1): Dúbravka; Dummett, Clark, Lascelles, Krafth (Manquillo 83′); Hayden (Carroll 88′), Shelvey; Fraser (Murphy 79′), Willock, Joelinton; Gayle.

Aston Villa XI (4-3-3): Martínez; Targett, Mings, Konsa, El Mohamady; J Ramsey (Sanson 59′), D Luiz, McGinn; Trézéguet (Barkley 68′), Watkins, B Traoré (El Ghazi 22′).

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