Newcastle United reached the halfway mark in their Premier League campaign in the same manner that they fulfilled the majority of the previous 18; devoid of enthusiasm, skill or any ideas.
The scoreline was not a fair reflection of the proceedings at Villa Park and the fact the deficit was only two will most likely keep the hapless Steve Bruce in a job for a little longer.
You would have been hard pushed to find a pulse in Newcastle, as they once again shot blanks in the Premier League.
There is not a single part of United's game that warrants any merit what so ever and Aston Villa will not have an easier 90 minutes again this season, until perhaps their trip to St. James' Park in March.
The hosts have shown just how invalid United’s excuse of a covid related layoff is with the Villians recovering to give Manchester City a good run for their money and then rolling the Magpies over with ease.
Villa's goals both came in the first half with Ollie Watkins and Bertrand Traore being the benefactors of Newcastle's complete and utter lack of effort.
Another change in system
Yet again, Steve Bruce shuffled the pack, opting to go back to playing five at the back.
Injuries to Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez meant Newcastle were thin on numbers at the back and yet Bruce was so insistent on playing a back five that he put his most influential midfielder into the three man centre back partnership.
Going with two up top again, Callum Wilson and Andy Carroll had very little in the way of service and opting to play the latter without any wingers on the pitch will raise eyebrows on Tyneside.
It is so baffling as to why Bruce played Carroll for 70 minutes, only deciding to hook him off when bringing on two wingers.
Newcastle are in a relegation battle
Make no mistake about it, Newcastle are in serious trouble.
United are now eight games without a win in the league and continue to slip closer and closer towards a third relegation of the Mike Ashley era.
Despite being part of the only game in the division, The Magpies still managed to move down the table, taking Burnley's 16th place.
Seven points is the gap between Bruce's men and 18th placed Fulham but even that is misleading.
The Cottagers have a game in hand and have two winnable games coming up against bellow strugglers Brighton and West Brom.
it is pointless keeping an eye on the other results around the bottom as Newcastle will not survive on 19 points and there is little hope United improve on that tally any time soon.