Aston Villa striker Jordan Ayew sees plenty of positives in Newcastle draw

The 24-year-old's second-half strike earned Villa a vital point at St James' Park on Saturday.

Aston Villa striker Jordan Ayew believes that Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle United shows that the team are heading in the right direction six games into Remi Garde’s reign.

Villa fell behind at St James’ Park seven minutes before the break after some poor defending from a corner allowed Fabricio Coloccini to open the scoring with a close-range finish, but a much improved showing in the second half saw them fight back to secure a deserved point.

Ayew and substitute Rudy Gestede were both key to the recovery, as the former capped a man of the match performance with a stunning equaliser just after the hour, while his strike-partner’s towering presence up top caused real problems for the Newcastle defence following his 60th-minute introduction for Scott Sinclair.

The visitors could not ultimately find the goal they needed to hand Garde his first victory since replacing Tim Sherwood at the helm last month, but after creating several chances over the final half-hour, their star man insists that a turnaround is not far off.

Speaking to AVTV, Ayew said: “The second half was a very, very good performance from everyone. We could have won the game but one point is better than nothing. We have to continue working hard. It’s getting better and better, so hopefully next week will be three points and we’ll go from there.

“Since the beginning of the season, we’ve been working hard but haven’t been lucky, but you could see that things are changing bit by bit. We have to continue going in this direction and hopefully next weekend will be a very nice present for our supporters and the club.”

 Vs Newcastle GoalsTotal ShotsShots OntargetKey PassesTotal PassesPassing AccuracyTotal DribblesWon DribblesDuels WonDuel SuccessDispossessedMins Played
Jordan Ayew 1 2 1 1 32 66% 11 3 8 27% 6 90

Ayew, meanwhile, has been arguably Villa’s standout player since Garde’s arrival in early November, having earned rave reviews for his attacking flair and tireless running over the past six matches.

After failing to score in his first seven appearances for the club, the summer signing from Lorient now has four goals in his past eight games and his latest effort – a bending strike into the top corner from just inside the box – has been the best of the bunch.

“I do it in training from that angle to try to bend the ball and luckily today I had a bit of luck and got the ball in,” Ayew told AVTV. “It was a very important goal for the club, the supporters and for the team’s confidence, so I’m very pleased.”

Nevertheless, Saturday’s goal did not help move Villa any closer towards safety, as results elsewhere mean the Premier League’s bottom side now sit 10 points off 17th-place after taking just seven points from 17 games.

Their next opportunity to try to close the gap will come on Boxing Day when they host West Ham United, who are winless in their past seven top-flight matches and are coming off three consecutive 0-0 draws against Manchester United, Stoke City and Swansea City, respectively.

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