Now, it’s important to not get carried away after just one loss. After all, it was Newcastle’s first home game since being promoted back to the Premier League, and they were obviously keen to both put on a show for their supporters and rebound after a 3-0 loss at Manchester United the week before.
But there are other items to consider in this moratorium. As comprehensive as Villa’s defeat of West Ham was, the Hammers have emerged as an early, albeit somewhat surprising, candidate for relegation. If the Newcastle debacle can be classified as a one-off, the West Ham win can be as well. And that’s troubling.
So what happens now? Does owner Randy Lerner speed up the Martin O’Neill replacement process and throw MacDonald under the bus, or does he keep the faith for at least another week? It’s clear that there won’t be any player acquisitions of note, so a managerial change is really the only tweak that Lerner can make.
He’ll probably wait until after Sunday’s match at home to Everton before making a decision. Stoke, Bolton and Wolves follow after that, so there’s certainly a chance to pick up the pieces and salvage a good start to the season.
Aston Villa aren’t as bad as a 6-0 defeat, but they’re not as good as a 3-0 win, either.
Newcastle 6-0 Aston Villa: Observations
-Stephen Warnock was consistently reliable for Villa last season, but was absolutely run into the ground by Wayne Routledge on Sunday. Warnock is a decent player, but this is still a problem position.
-Villa can only dream of having a finisher as clinical as Andy Carroll. The old cliché, “It would’ve been different had he scored that penalty,” is tiresome and overused, but based in truth. John Carew’s effort from the spot was pathetic—a disappointing climax to what had been a nice start for the guests.
-Emile Heskey has progressed from the useless to the absurd. To be fair, however, his ineffectiveness was only partly his fault. Who would ever dream of playing him on the right wing, especially when Jose Enrique had been dominating that patch of the pitch against much quicker Villa players?
-Kevin MacDonald’s assessment of the match was sensible, and he should be kept in the job long enough to see how he responds. If he can make the necessary adjustments ahead of Everton’s visit, he’ll be worth at least another few weeks in his position.