Wijnaldum, Colback disappointing for Newcastle vs. Aston Villa

And so Newcastle fans anticipate what is likely to be a final Premier League hurrah at St James' Park.

Newcastle's failure to beat the rock bottom side in the top-flight for the second time this season sees them tumbling towards the Championship with Aston Villa. Unfortunately, they will deserve to be there after a dismal campaign, into which they went badly prepared.

It was a lacklustre display from Newcastle in front of goal. Somehow the confidence gained from the four-game unbeaten run built up before this trip drained away when they needed it most.

This time, manager Rafa Benitez was helpless to prevent his side from crumbling in front of goal and for all his attempts to cajole his troop,s their heads dropped. Now the big talk will be about whether Benitez will stay.

Given that he probably feels he is above managing in the Championship, and that Newcastle may not be prepared to offer him the package he needs to turn the club around, it's unlikely that the Spaniard stays at this stage.

If only they'd have approached him earlier in the year or if only they'd signed the players they need in the last two windows. But now the club must begin to face reality. If the umpteenth miracle they've been looking for doesn't unfold, they will need to put together a team to fight its way out of the Championship at the first attempt -- a tough old task.

In typical manner, though, the agony must first be prolonged for another three days.

Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Karl Darlow, 7 -- Was pretty composed but was never truly tested by a shocking Villa outfit.

DF Vurnon Anita, 8 -- Deserves his man of the match award for at least trying to unlock the home defence with a range of crosses.

DF Jamaal Lascelles 7 -- Another steady display but could not escape the attentions of Jolean Lescott on set-pieces.

DF Chancel Mbemba, 7 -- Couldn't be faulted after playing his part at the back and going forward.

DF Paul Dummett, 6 -- As Newcastle failed to pick out a positive pass, he was all too often lumbered with the ball as a last resort.

MF Andros Townsend, 7 -- Just couldn't cut inside despite a number of good runs forward.

MF Cheick Tiote, 5 -- A poor display compared to the last few weeks.

MF Jack Colback 4 -- Missed a great chance at the start of the second half.

MF Moussa Sissoko, 5 -- Failed to build on the last few games where he had looked like his old self.

MF Georginio Wijnaldum 3 -- Doesn't like playing away from home. A key factor in Newcastle's inevitable relegation.

FW Papiss Cisse, 5 -- No service and very few chances.


FW Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5-- Replaced Cisse in the 52nd minute. Missed a host of good chances.

FW Ayoze Perez, 6 -- On for Tiote in the 68th minute. Moved out wide to try to break Villa down.

MF Siem De Jong, NR -- Replaced Colback in the 90th minute. Left to save the day in stoppage time, an impossible job.