The Warm Down: Lascelles header ensures Newcastle get a share of the spoils at St James' Park
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Jamaal Lascelles  94th-minute header secured a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa

The Newcastle United captain rescued his side with one of the last kicks of the game as The Magpies salvaged their blushes against a tepid Aston Villa side who were not at their best. 

This point leaves Newcastle two points outside of the bottom three. All eyes will be on other fixtures to help the North-East side as fellow relegation strugglers Brighton and Hove Albion take the short trip to Southampton and Fulham have a visit from league leaders Manchester City. 

But with Villa not looking at their best many fans see it as two points dropped rather than one point gained for the second consecutive week. 

A aame plan not to suit personnel

In the 90 minutes against Aston Villa, The Magpies threw 28 crosses into the box, with a front three of Dwight Gayle, Ryan Fraser and Joelinton

Gayle has scored 12 headed goals in his entire career, Fraser has never scored a headed goal, and Joelinton hasn't scored one since 2018. 

Andy Carroll came onto the pitch in the 85th minute and won five headers. Including a ball in to set up the other cross for Jamaal Lascelles last-minute goal. 

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With a front three of Gayle, Fraser and Joelinton ball in behind, Villa's defence would make more sense using the considerable pace they possess. 

Or when crossing the ball is seen to be ineffective, bring on an ariel threat such as Carroll earlier to make a more sudden impact onto the game, especially when 47 per cent of his career goals are headers. 

Newcastles set-piece troubles

A lot can be said about Newcastle United this season, sloppy, indirect, thin, uninspired, but the one that jumps out is effective from free kicks.

Newcastle United have created three chances this season from free kicks, resulting in two goals. One was a direct goal with Jacob Murphy sneaking in a free-kick against Wolves back in October. 

The number of set-pieces in dangerous areas last night against Aston Villa was six. Which was 60% of all of Newcastle's free-kicks; not one chance was created from them. 

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This is down to many reasons; Jonjo Shelvey taking them is one, the other happens to be that Aston Villa is a top ten defence in defending set-pieces. This problem, however, extends past last nights draw. Fixing this problem is a training ground exercise. 

Opportunities were there for the taking

The game finished 1-1, and that was a fair result as neither side had the quality to secure all three points. Villa looked to have rubbed their luck with Ciaran Clark deflecting in Ollie Watkins header into his own goal, Jacob Murphy hitting the crossbar and Joelinton opting not to shoot when one on one for the second week in a row. 

With a bit more quality in either team and the game could have flipped either side. Jacob Murphy and Andy Carroll changed the game for Newcastle. 

Whereas Morgan Sanson and Ross Barkley added some directness for Villa. The injury to Bertrand Traore was a huge blow early on for Aston Villa as the winger has struggled with injuries all season, but he's been a danger man for The Villains when fit. 

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Injuries for both sides seem to have neutralised all parties to as many players on both seemed shot of confidence and only able to create a few chances.