FOOTBALL fans have been left baffled after Newcastle made SIX substitutions during their win over Aston Villa.
The Toon thrashed the Villans 4-0 at St James’ Park, their third win on the bounce, as they kept up the pace with the top four.
But eager supporters were left confused after Eddie Howe made his fifth AND sixth substitutions in the later stages of the second half – with a trio of double changes from the 71st minute.
Joe Willock and Sven Botman were the first to be taken off in the 71st minute for Jacob Murphy and Matt Targett.
Then it was the turn of Jonjo Shelvey and Jamaal Lascelles to provide fresh legs for the departing Bruno Guimaraes and Fabian Schar.
Finally, with 86 minutes on the clock, Miguel Almiron made way for Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson was replaced by Chris Wood.
One fan wrote: “I swear Newcastle just made 6 subs.”
While another asked: “How come Newcastle made 6 subs against Aston Villa? Can @premierleague tell us when did the rules change???”
However, there is a simple reason why Newcastle were granted permission to make six substitutions.
In the first half, Aston Villa keeper Emi Martinez had the misfortune of suffering a head injury and had to leave the field for No2 Robin Olsen.
JOIN SUN VEGAS: GET A FREE £10 BONUS WITH 100s OF GAMES TO PLAY AND NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED (Ts&Cs apply)
Premier League rules state that if the opposition make a concussion sub, you are then granted a free substitution yourself.
That gave Newcastle carte blanche to go over the allotted five changes teams are usually allowed to make.
By making six substitutions, Newcastle made Premier League history as the first team to take advantage of that rule.
Two goals from Callum Wilson, Joelinton, and Miguel Almiron saw Newcastle slaughter a desperate Aston Villa side.
The Toon are sitting in fourth spot, three points above Chelsea and just five points off Manchester City who are top.