Aston Villa showed incoming manager Unai Emery the scale of the job on his hands as they were thrashed 4-0 by Newcastle at St James’ Park.

Callum Wilson’s double, a Joelinton strike, and Miguel Almiron’s curling effort give Newcastle a deserved 4-0 win over poor Aston Villa in Aaron Danks’ penultimate game before Unai Emery takes over.

Emery was not in the north-east stands as Aaron Danks stayed in the dugout, his caretaker term finishing on a sad note despite the visitors’ promising first half.

The visitors gave as good as they got in a stop-start opening period including 10 minutes of added time, owing to a number of injury stoppages, before Ashley Young’s handball late on gave Callum Wilson the chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot, and he duly obliged.

The second half proved 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, while 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.

The last time Villa had won a Premier League game at St James’ Park, Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer were both sent off for fighting – and the fact both players have been retired for almost a decade was an indicator of what an unhappy hunting ground it has proven.

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But after a thumping 4-0 win over Brentford last weekend, Danks’ team arrived full of confidence, and held Newcastle at bay for most of the first half, with both sides’ lack of rhythm not helped by two lengthy stoppages for injuries to Emiliano Martinez, who was eventually substituted with concussion after taking a knee to the face from Tyrone Mings.

Almiron manufactured what looked likely to be the only chance of note before the interval when latching onto Kieran Trippier’s through ball and pulling a fine stop from substitute goalkeeper Robin Olsen, but Young’s inadvertent raised arm from the Paraguayan’s next effort minutes later soon undid all their good work.

Wilson sent Olsen the wrong way from 12 yards with Gareth Southgate watching on from the stands, before Villa went in at the break very much still in the game – but well out of it within 11 minutes of the restart.

Not long into the second half, Almiron’s run to support Trippier from a corner was untracked and after a quick one-two, Wilson took advantage of some equally poor marking to guide a pinpoint cross just inside the far post.

Villa’s defence fell apart from that moment on. Wilson drove at Mings and Ezri Konsa moments after the next kick-off with no sign of a challenge, and after exchanging passes with Joe Willock, saw his effort saved straight into the path of Joelinton, who fired into an empty net.

Almiron’s performance always threatened another goal to add to his growing collection and he got it midway through the second half, driving inside from Wilson’s pass before arching the ball past a helpless Olsen from outside the box, as Villa’s good work from last weekend’s win was rapidly undone.

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It could have been more with Wilson denied by the woodwork and a last-ditch challenge from Mings, while Murphy was inches away from adding a fifth himself.

Newcastle’s drive to add to their already impressive score said volumes about how far they’ve come, while Villa’s collapse spoke equally loudly about how far they still have to go. Emery, the new manager at Villa Park, has a big job ahead of him.

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