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Superman Trippier and local hero Burn the inspiration for Newcastle United's battling victory

Chronicle Live logo Chronicle Live 14/02/2022 John Gibson
Newcastle United's Kieran Trippier (right) celebrates with team-mate Dan Burn against Aston Villa © PA Newcastle United's Kieran Trippier (right) celebrates with team-mate Dan Burn against Aston Villa

If he had ripped his jersey open I swear he would have had a SuperMan T shirt underneath.

Kieran Trippier is a true comic book superhero . . . captain's armband which ought to be his for life, injury doubt who refused to be ruled out, free-kick winner, and left the field of battle on his shield wounded once again.

When you lose not only SuperMan but both your full-backs in a two-minute spell either side of half-time you are in Dire Straits - but along came a Local Hero.

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Our own Geordie giant Dan Burn, who used to sit up in the stands with his dad supporting the Toon, stepped forward to throw his 6ft 7in frame into the way of every Aston Villa attack to safeguard a precious but fragile one-goal lead.

The outcome: a third successive victory for United who crucially moved four points ahead of those mired in the relegation dungeon on a weekend when the three below them - Burnley, Watford and Norwich - all lost.

My, it turned out to be a grand day!

Let no one doubt the result. What we saw was the best of both sides of United's game.

In the first half they were magnificent, closing down quickly, harrying the opposition, breaking at speed, and full of ideas.

However the first warning came when Javier Manquillo was forced off in injury time before the break and then two minutes into a new half off went Trippier.

That changed the game completely. Both full-backs gone, skipper Jamaal Lascelles kept home due to illness, and new left-back Matt Targett unavailable because United were playing his parent club. That's a defence torn to shreds.

However Burn on his debut repelled all raiders like United's own Hadrian's Wall. He literally took the shirt off Tyrone Mings' back, took a yellow card for the team to halt Ollie Watkins, and was the proud leader of a defence which kept a clean sheet. This season those have been as rare as a rain storm in the Sahara Desert.

If Trippier and Burn were the centre stage show stoppers then the chorus line wasn't bad either. Ryan Fraser is a wee bundle of energy who epitomises the new Newcastle, Joe Willock continued his welcome surge in form, and Joelinton and Jonjo Shelvey have been reborn since Eddie Howe arrived in town.

The winning goal was a piece of sheer theatre. Referee Craig Pawson at first awarded a penalty when Calum Chambers scythed down Willock. The former Arsenal man failed to enjoy a debut to match Dan Burn.

However a lengthy VAR check came to the correct decision that the offence occurred literally inches outside the box. It mattered not.

The position made it impossible to get the ball up and down or bend it round the wall. Again no problem.

United put two attackers in the wall with the sole intention of them spitting to allow Trippier's shot to whiz through. Villa knew that and placed a defender immediately behind them.

Trippier struck the ball like an Exocet missile, United's pair duly parted like the Red Sea, but the Villa defender only waved a leg at the ball as it flew past him and keeper Emiliano Martinez.

Everyone knew what was going to happen. We did from Trippier's clinching free-kick against Everton four days before, Steven Gerrard because he saw it on TV, and Villa's players because Stevie G reminded them.

So it came to pass that Bravehearts triumphed in the second-half battle, United won the 50th Premier League meeting between the two sides, and so remain unbeaten in the league in 2022 and undefeated in their last five top flight fixtures.

Where once we were spouting forth stats of consistent failure now it is figures of optimism and hope.

Want another? Why not?

The Mags have now lost only once in eight PL games at home under Eddie Howe.

We march on to a new beat, the bedraggled losers confined to history.

Oh, before anyone thinks we are getting ahead of ourselves we know the war is not over but, brother, the tide has turned.

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