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Aston Villa Defeats Stevecastle United Thanks To Conor Hourihane's Dead Ball Magic

Two exceptional pieces of delivery from set pieces lifted Villa over Newcastle 2-0.

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Oh, so that’s how you beat Newcastle United. Aston Villa nullified the attacking threat of Newcastle’s high-scoring defenders on Monday, instead forcing them to actually defend, and utilized a couple of bumbling fouls on the effervescent Jack Grealish to twice unleash dead-ball specialist Conor Hourihane in a 2-0 victory at Villa Park.

Newcastle entered the match following back-to-back Premier League wins achieved through goals from defenders like Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernández and DeAndre Yedlin, however, it was Yedlin who punished his own side in the 32nd minute after he allowed Grealish to get goal-side of him before taking out the 24-year-old Englishman on the edge of the area.

Hourihane stepped up, quickly laid it off to Grealish and then whipped in a left-footed strike inside the far post. Martin Dúbravka was never getting there. 

Only three minutes later, déjà vu. 

Again it was Grealish drawing the foul — this an agricultural hack from Fernández that earned the Argentine a booking — although the spot of the foul was too wide for a shot. No bother: Hourihane sent in another devilish delivery that Paul Dummett failed to deal with before it arrived at the feet of Anwar El Ghazi for Villa’s second. 

For those interested in the trials and travails of Miguel Almirón up in Newcastle — where the former Atlanta United winger is still looking for his first goal or assist in nearly a year — the club’s $27 million man had a pretty miserable 79 minutes on the pitch.

In the first half, he fired one shot high and wide from a dangerous position, and then — following a breathtaking run from Allan Saint-Maximin — the Paraguayan mis-controlled at the top of the area. His confidence appears well and truly shot to hell.  

It wasn’t a great showing for $50 million striker Joelinton either, who lasted just 72 minutes. He’s still got only one goal in 13 EPL games, and Andy Carroll looks a more likely source of goals for Steve Bruce’s side at this point.

Newcastle is in 14th after the defeat while Aston Villa moves up to 15th, just one point behind the Toon.

The only good news for Newcastle is that they’ve finally assembled a coaching staff of five Steves.  

All the Steves will now bang their heads together to try and figure out a way to overcome Manchester City on Nov. 30, while Aston Villa plays Manchester United on Dec. 1.

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