Aston Villa secured a 2-0 win over Newcastle Utd on Saturday, with Jacob Ramsey and Ashley Young playing key roles in ensuring we picked up all three points.
Dean Smith tweaked his line-up and system after the defeat to Watford, with Young moved to left-back in place of Matt Targett while Ramsey started after impressing off the bench last weekend.
Both decisions proved to be vital as we put our first points of the Premier League season on the board, and so Smith deserves credit for recognising those flaws and adjusting accordingly.
Ramsey key in midfield
Villa were overrun in the first half at Watford, with Marvelous Nakamba and John McGinn struggling to take control of the game and give us a foothold in the middle of the pitch.
Ramsey’s introduction at half-time was crucial as it gave us more presence and options in that area, while also linking the play between the lines.
He picked up from where he left off as he produced a Man of the Match worthy performance against Newcastle, offering key attributes in both phases of the game in terms of adding fluidity to our play in attack while also applying pressure and getting about the pitch off the ball to give us more defensive protection too.
Jacob Ramsey vs Newcastle Utd:
Total actions/successful: 50/32
90% passing accuracy
67% dribble success rate
Recoveries/opponent's half: 5/3
— Talk Villa (@thetalkvilla) August 22, 2021
Young nullifies Saint-Maximin threat
After struggling to deal with Ismaila Sarr last weekend, Targett was left on the bench for this one as Young was pushed back into the left-back role.
Smith revealed in midweek that Targett sustained an injury at the end of last season and so was working on his rehabilitation during the summer, thus perhaps explaining his struggles at Watford as he wasn’t fully fit.
With his experience and versatility, Young was able to seamlessly slot in at left-back, and with Saint-Maximin able to hurt us in a similar fashion to Sarr with his pace and movement on the counter-attack, we managed that area a lot better with Young producing a solid display.
As noted above, these were two important changes that Smith made which were pivotal to us winning this game, and so credit goes to both the Villa boss and the players as a whole for sealing the win in front of an expectant Villa faithful.