Trippier’s free kick helps Newcastle to 3rd straight EPL win

Trippier’s free kick helps Newcastle to 3rd straight EPL win
Newcastle United’s Kieran Trippier celebrates after scoring against Aston Villa at St. James’ Park, Newcastle, Britain, February 13, 2022. (Reuters)
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Updated 13 February 2022

Trippier’s free kick helps Newcastle to 3rd straight EPL win

Trippier’s free kick helps Newcastle to 3rd straight EPL win
  • Trippier, who scored his first goal for the club from a free kick against Everton on Tuesday, repeated the feat with the help of a slight deflection off Emi Buendia’s thigh
  • Aston Villa thought they had leveled when Watkins headed home at the far post after Philippe Coutinho’s shot had looped up off Fabian Schar, but the goal was ruled out for offside

NEWCASTLE: Kieran Trippier was again Newcastle United’s match-winner as his free-kick ensured the Magpies pulled four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

The England international’s winner, half an hour in, proved the only goal on another memorable afternoon on Tyneside.

Three points, coupled with defeats for Norwich City, Watford and Burnley this weekend, means the Magpies now have some breathing space from the bottom three in the top flight — something which seemed unthinkable just a few weeks back.

United have now recorded three wins on the bounce for the first time since November 2018, when Rafa Benitez was manager at St James’ Park.

Howe again resisted the temptation to throw Bruno Guimaraes in from the start as he stuck with the midfield trio who served him so well in the Everton win in midweek.

With Jamaal Lascelles out with illness, January signing Dan Burn came in for his debut at the back, while Javier Manquillo replaced the ineligible Matt Targett on the left.

It was clear from the outset the Villains were keen to exploit the flanks with Matty Cash, in particular, pushed up on the United left.

The game burst into life after half an hour, as a trademark Joe Willock burst towards goal was thwarted by Callum Chambers and a penalty was awarded. VAR then downgraded the call to a free-kick. But when Trippier is around anything within 30 yards feels like a penalty.

Fresh from his match-winner against the Toffees, the skipper for the day this time went around instead of over the wall as he again netted the crucial goal, his second in four Premier League starts.

After taking the lead, this wasn’t a pretty game for United. The Magpies were required to dig deep, show grit and grind for every inch out on the park.

After the break, Allan Saint-Maximin pushed for a second — his deflected shot almost squirmed into the bottom corner as the thronging Gallowgate end willed the ball into the net.

And then, almost instantaneously, United’s bubble popped, if only temporarily.

A deflected cross from the right, after an Emil Krafth error, saw Ollie Watkins flick home from close range to level the game. Or so he thought.

The VAR gods had looked down on Villa favourably in the first half, but they did not afford them a second chance this time. After a four-minute wait, the goal was ruled out for offside.

Again, United had to dig deep and weather the Philippe Coutinho orchestrated storm.

But weather it they did as Burn was imperious alongside Fabian Schar, and Joelinton and Joe Willock ran themselves into the ground further forward.

The final whistle brought roars of jubilation for Tyneside.

Looking at the league table now it seems strange to think anyone at NUFC was worried about relegation. United are now five games unbeaten, a run stretching back to mid-December.

Of course, nothing is won and lost in February, but it really feels like United are building up a head of steam.

They’ve taken on three sides all capable of scoring goals against anyone in Leeds, Everton and Villa. And in the main, they’ve looked solid.

In stark contrast to the United of old, the giving away of easy opportunities to others is long gone.

This team is built on more solid ground than before — and credit for that must go to Howe and his coaches.