Aston Villa showed incoming manager Unai Emery the size of the task on his hands as they were thrashed 4-0 by Newcastle at St James’ Park.
Emery was not in the stands in the north east as Aaron Danks remained in the dugout, with his caretaker spell ending on a sour note despite a bright first half from the visitors.
They worked plenty of good openings before the break and an opening period including 10 minutes of added time, owing to a number of injury stoppages, looked to be heading for a deserved stalemate before Ashley Young’s blatant handball gave Callum Wilson the chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot, and he duly obliged.
The second half was as contrasting as they come with Newcastle scintillating and Villa calamitous. A training-ground more from a corner saw Wilson nod in a second before Joelinton added a third three minutes later to end the game as a contest.
Newcastle continued to cut their visitors apart at will with Wilson and Jacob Murphy both denied by the woodwork, before Miguel Almiron continued his sparkling form with a wonderful curling effort from 25 yards to add a real shine to a comprehensive home win.
Emery will still have the luxury of taking over a side outside the bottom three but will be concerned after the manner of their collapse, while Newcastle’s win, coupled with results elsewhere, sees them open up a three-point gap inside the top four.