Aston Villa 2-0 Newcastle: The Warmdown
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Dean Smith made it two wins out of two against his Villa Park predacessor Steve Bruce, as a Conor Hourihane inspired performance set the tone of the night.

A goal and an assist from two first half free kicks four minutes apart took the game away from a Newcastle side who lacked any sort of attacking inspiration all evening.

 

Steve Bruce cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines as hosts Villa controlled proceedings from then on.

Here's what we learnt...

Jack Grealish can hardly do more

For the best part of a year, former Aston Villa captain and current England boss Gareth Southgate has dodged Grealish's involvement at national level. Villa's talisman is yet to receive a senior cap having played a handful of U21 games.

 

Grealish tops the Premier League creativity rankings, from ball carries to chances created, even after missing three games, Villa's skipper has shone.

Impressing in the Championship, Southgate was reluctant to choose Grealish because of limited top flight experience, but with numerous MOTM displays under his belt in the Premier League Southgate might just have to book him onto that plane.

Conor Hourihane has made it

Having scored at every level of professional football, Hourihane has kept up his goalscoring form at the highest level. Assisting others too, Hourihane's game is all about numbers, and he's proving his worth and some, Bruce bought him for less than £3 million three seasons ago.

 

The technique to set the ball out so far left to Joelinton before it tucked inside Martin Dubravka's post highlighted the quality the midfielder posses from dead ball situations.

Having nailed down a starting spot, Grealish will be used own the left flank more often as Villa settle in the league they fell out of in 2016.

Northern comforts for Bruce

Having returned to Villa Park for the first time since losing his job almost a year ago, Bruce was eager to get one over the club he almost took up through the play-offs. Though it wasn't to be as his Newcastle side were poor on the night.

 

Having lost five times on the road already this term, Newcastle will be relying on a strong St James' support to boost their survival bid come the end of the season.

Villa will look to kick on from their first win in four as they travel to a misfiring Manchester United side in need of a result, on Sunday.

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