Newcastle United 2 – 1 Aston Villa
Newcastle United 2 (Ba 30, Cissé 71)
Aston Villa 1
Oh happy days, what a strike force!
Rightly or wrongly, Alan Pardew started with Only Ba of the returning Senegal contingent, keeping Best up front. He also went for what looked like a more defensive midfield as Perch stayed in a holding role where he’d done kind of ok on Wednesday in the second half, whilst Ryan Taylor started on the right in place of Hatem Ben Arfa.
The best laid plans were then thrown in the air as with only 14 minutes on the clock, Best went down under a heavy challenge and our shiny new number nine made his entrance.
Funnily enough, it was Demba Ba who was slightly off his game whilst Papiss Cissé was right on the pace straight away. However, even at 80/90% Demba Ba is some player and with Krul having already made three one on one saves it was his mentor Given who conceded to the Senegal striker.
A brave challenge against the odds by Ryan Taylor saw the ball end up at Ba’s feet to comfortably slot it away. One up but a second player carried off with Taylor looking to have a possible broken leg, though later it was suggested it could only be bruising. Either way Taylor definitely took one for the team and credit to him.
United were playing a bit in and out but almost made it to half-time only for the six minutes of enforced injury time to catch them out as N’Zogbia capped a good first half with a cross that Robbie Keane couldn’t miss.
To be honest I was worried as even though Jonas and Santon were doing ok down the left and Cissé was looking a real jack in the box, Villa were the more threatening.
Whatever happened at half-time and I think you have to give credit to Pardew, Newcastle took control in the second period.
The left side combination tortured Villa and Cissé was guilty of missing a gilt-edged headed opportunity with the goal gaping.
All forgiven though with twenty minutes left, a rapid counter-attack saw Jonas put in a first time ball which Papiss hit with the sweetest left foot volley imaginable, top corner!
Alan Pardew; “Of course he (Cissé) got a dream goal for us, because he’s a new signing and he wanted to do well. It was a fantastic goal”.
I don’t like to claim credit but I will! I had the honour of doing the match preview and tipped Ba first goalscorer at 5-1 and Cissé last goalscorer at 11-2, happy days, though not for BET365!
Only the odd scare as United saw the game out, overall a deserved victory but it’s not often we do it the easy way. Krul and Coloccini were class as usual but credit also to Perch and Obertan who put in good shifts.
The last word must go to our latest number nine, you wear it well!
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon, Ryan Taylor (Gabriel Obertan 34), James Perch, Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best (Papiss Cisse 14), Demba Ba (Shola Ameobi 90)
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Dan Gosling, Hatem Ben Arfa
Aston Villa (4-4-1-1): Shay Given, Alan Hutton, Richard Dunne, Carlos Cuellar, Stephen Warnock, Stephen Ireland (Barry Bannan 46), Ciaran Clark (Gary Gardner 84), Stiliyan Petrov (c), Charles N’Zogbia (Emile Heskey 67), Robbie Keane, Darren Bent
Subs not used: Brad Guzan, Andreas Weimann, Eric Lichaj, Nathan Baker
Referee: Mark Halsey
Attendance: 48,569 (1,300 away fans)
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