Aston Villa 2-0 Newcastle United
Aston Villa secured a well-deserved 2-0 victory at home to Newcastle United, with Conor Hourihane scoring one and setting up the other.
Villa showed three changes to the side beaten 2-1 at Wolves before the international break, with Tom Heaton, Hourihane and Jack Grealish replacing Jed Steer, Marvelous Nakamba and Trezeguet.
The visitors drafted in Paul Dummett to replace the injured Jamaal Lascelles in the one alteration to the team who won 2-1 at Bournemouth.
The hosts made the brighter start to the game, but neither side were able to fashion a clear opening in the first 20 minutes of the game.
Douglas Luiz finally drew a save from Martin Dubravka just before the half-hour mark, with the Magpies keeper getting his fingertips to the Brazilian’s curling effort from just over 20 yards out.
Soon after the Villans took the lead as the returning Hourihane curled home a free-kick from just outside the area, with the set-piece having been conceded by DeAndre Yedlin bundling over Grealish.
Four minutes later the home side extended their advantage to 2-0 as Hourihane turned provider, with his free-kick delivery allowing Anwar El Ghazi to power the ball home from close range.
United responded with Federico Fernandez forcing Heaton into a decent save with a downward header from a Jonjo Shelvey corner, but the first half ended with the hosts in total control.
Early in the second half Heaton was forced to plunge low to his left to palm away a 25-yard effort from Allan Saint-Maximin, as the visitors made a strong start after the restart.
However, Villa hit back with Dubravka doing superbly to keep out an Ezri Konsa header, with Grealish having delivered a perfect corner kick.
Newcastle threw on Andy Carroll with a little under 30 minutes left to play, but they were forced to replace fellow striker Joelinton soon after he took a blow to the face.
And it was the hosts who should have added a third goal with just over ten minutes to play, with Wesley hitting his shot at Dubravka when he should have done better following another fine cross from Hourihane.