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Season 2012-13
Aston Villa (h) Premier League

In association 

Sunday 2nd September 2012, 4pm

Venue: St. James' Park

cloudless blue skies



Newcastle United

Aston Villa

1 - 1



22 mins A Villa corner was eventually cleared as far as Matthew Lowton midway down the vistor's right flank and he played a short pass infield to Ron Vlaar. The Dutchman in turn pumped forward a 
crossfield ball that Ciaran Clark jumped to nod on, ahead of Danny Simpson.

Simpson then scurried towards the corner flag as Barry Bannan took possession, but successfully made himself as small as possible to allow the Villa man to swing over a centre that the unmarked Clark
headed home from a central position five yards out.

Messrs Taylor, Gutierrez and Coloccini left glaring at each other close by, while Santon at the back post had tracked back but failed to pick up anyone. 0-1

Half time: Magpies 0 Villans 1 

22 mins United made their way across the halfway line through Anita, who dug out a deep cross from the right towards Ba who was lurking in a central position on the edge of the area with his back to goal. Wrestled out of the way by Vlaar, his clearing header looped up and then bounced nicely for Hatem Ben Arfa to latch on to, some 20 yards from goal.

Brett Holman invited the Frenchman to cut onto his right foot which he did and smashed an unstoppable drive into the top right corner of the Gallowgate net. Simply stunning 1-1

Full time: Magpies 1 Villans 1

We Said

Alan Pardew commented:

"We have to be happy with a point; a lot of things went wrong for us but we didn't give in, we changed things around and just about deserved a draw. We weren't quite right and we let an opportunity slip.

"Having said that, we won't have many sides here this season who work as hard as Villa, so give them credit. But the bottom line was that we didn't deserve to win, given the indifference of our display.

"There are two teams on the pitch - sometimes you have to say the other team were better than us, and they were. They controlled the game and got a grip of it. They were faster than us and quicker than us. They were quicker into the tackle, and that’s how the Premier League is. We fell on them at a bad time.

"Don’t underestimate that they’re a bad side just because they got beat twice - iIt doesn’t work like that. From our point of view, we weren’t as I wanted. The set-plays were poor and there were one or two
(players) below par. 

"The team lacked a little bit of cohesion - it happens occasionally. Sometimes you just have to take a draw and move on. We looked flat. We actually looked brilliant in training, and I really thought we were going to have a great day. That is football for you – it never pans out for you.

"I do think we’ve had a decent start. Four points from those six games isn’t the worst total. We’ve qualified for Europe, and we now move on to our next game.

(Bigirimana) 18, it's his first top-flight game, we weren't playing well, I took a gamble. But he's paid me back because he was as good as anybody on the pitch.

"It was a
(hamstring) strain and I don’t think Danny (Simpson) will make that (Everton) game.

"We brought Vurnon in purely because he is so versatile - he went to right-back, he's comfortable there, he got two great headers and some of his forward passing took us up another notch. I thought he was terrific.

"He grabbed it by the horns and looked comfortable all game. We have three right-backs here – how many right backs do we need?

"We're hoping to have Chieck
(Tiote) back for the Everton game. I think we're missing him, we're missing his drive and everything about him. He's a big player for us and we're looking forward to getting him back in a black and white shirt.

"We weren't quite right today. Some of our players aren't bang in form and I need to get to grips with that.

"I have some sympathy for the players. They get people, agents who aren't even their own, ringing them up and promising them the world. There are some terrible people in and around the game.

"If somebody says they can get a deal done which is going to double your money, it's going to affect you."

They Said

Paul Lambert:

"I thought we were excellent throughout to be fair, offensively and defensively. It was a wonder goal which pegged us back but the way we played - the football we played - was very good. They were excellent.

"You have to remember they are young! But I have nothing but praise for them. The experienced ones too, every one of them in fact, were excellent. I'd rather play football then not. I know you've got to win as many games as you can but I would prefer to play.

"We have really good footballers in the team. If we keep playing like that and keep working as hard as that? It's a start for us. We're getting stronger.

"Overall, I just thought we were excellent throughout the game at a place where it's really tough to get anything from. We were well worth something, that's for sure!

"They will get better each week and every game. Their enthusiasm for the game is brilliant and we have some really talented footballers too."

"I just thought it was the right decision for the football club (to drop Shay Given). Brad (Guzan) made two world-class saves - the free-kick at the end and the one in the first half. His handling of the game was fantastic. It was a big call but that's the game.

"I just try and pick a team that I think will win a game. That's all I can do. Shay is a brilliant goalkeeper, there's no two ways about it. I had a chat with him the other day."


The Magpies are still looking for their 1,000th Premier League goal since Coventry City captain Peter Atherton turned a Liam O'Brien free kick ball past his own 'keeper Jonathan Gould at Highfield Road in August 1993. Hatem Ben Arfa's special effort today was number 999 and the 612th at SJP (meaning 387 have been scored away from home. Obviously).

That's now 9 goals that HBA has scored for United in all competitions:

18.09.2010 Everton (a) 45mins PL
26.12.2011 Bolton (a) 69mins PL
07.01.2012 Blackburn (h) 70mins FA (Gallowgate)
21.01.2012 Fulham (a) 85mins PL
12.03.2012 Arsenal (a) 14mins PL
25.03.2012 West Brom (a) 12mins PL
09.04.2012 Bolton (h) 73mins PL (Gallowgate)
18.08.2012 Spurs (h) 80mins PL (Gallowgate)
02.09.2012 Aston Villa (h) 59mins PL (Gallowgate)

Gael Bigirimana became the 173rd player to appear for Newcastle in the Premier League.

Villans @ SJP - Premier League Years:

2012/13: Drew 1-1 Ben Arfa
2011/12: Won 2-1 Ba, Cisse
2010/11: Won 6-0 Barton, Nolan 2, Carroll 3
2008/09: Won 2-0 Martins 2
2007/08: Drew 0-0
2006/07: Won 3-1 Milner, Dyer, Sibierski
2005/06: Drew 1-1 Shearer (pen)
2004/05: Lost 0-3
2003/04: Drew 1-1 Robert
2002/03: Drew 1-1 Solano
2001/02: Won 3-0 Bellamy 2, Shearer
2000/01: Won 3-1 Glass, Cort, OG
2000/01: Drew 1-1 Solano (FAC)
1999/00: Lost 0-1
1998/99: Won 2-1 Shearer, Ketsbaia
1997/98: Won 1-0 Beresford
1996/97: Won 4-3 Ferdinand 2, Shearer, Howey
1995/96: Won 1-0 Ferdinand
1994/95: Won 3-1 Venison, Beardsley 2
1993/94: Won 5-1 Bracewell, Beardsley 2, Cole, Sellars

Full record against Villa: 

  P W D L F A
SJP 74 46 14 14 159 89
VP 73 18 18 37 76 134
League 147 64 32 51 235 223
SJP(FA) 2 1 1 0 5 3
PB/VP/W/CP 5 1 0 4 3 15
SJP(LC) 0 0 0 0 0 0
VP 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cup 7 2 1 4 8 18
Tot 154 66 33 55 243 241



Having set them the target of two wins from successive home games in four days, Alan Pardew's side came up short at the second time of asking - and shorn of yet another full back, making it three casualties in quick succession since we tempted fate by opting not to strengthen in that area.

Losing the hamstrung Danny Simpson after the knock to James Perch and the more serious injury to Ryan Taylor meant that Vurnon Anita was quickly called upon to demonstrate his positional versatility (and justify the sniggers caused by the comment in his first interview about coming here to play midfield. That's what they told you, bonny lad....) 

That forced alteration though may have upped his contribution to proceedings, with the Dutchman looking happier in a wider role and perhaps benefiting from having slightly more time on the ball as he continues to make the transition from the slightly less frantic pace of the Eredivisie.

He and Davide Santon on the opposite flank were among our better performers on a day when too many of our big hitters failed to find form and our pattern of play suffered accordingly: a lack of movement accompanied by some artless upfield hoofs conjuring up unpleasant flashbacks of Jack Charlton's Whitehurst/Cunningham misadventure of the 1980s. Tiote continues to be much missed.   

And as acknowledged later by the manager, our set pieces also left much to be desired, with corners invariably failing to clear the first defender or being hoofed way beyond the far post. However in amongst the swine there was a pearl - or an absolute pearler to be precise.        

Before Ben Arfa's latest exocet, our match highlight had been the half time rendition of Morrissey's miserablist anthem "Everyday is Like Sunday", as two disjointed sides struggled to make an impression and largely fluffed what chances they conjured up. 

The referee meanwhile did little to prevent a typical Paul Lambert side from leaving their foot in and tapping ankles, while seemingly instructing his linesmen to restrict themselves to indicating offsides and throw-ins.

Aside from the new/old role for Anita, the enforced reshuffle brought a top-flight bow for Gael Bigirimana rather more quickly than he - and we - might have expected. Whether it proves to be a bold decision that will fast track the teenager's career remains to be seen, but we were just worried on his behalf in case he made an error that irked the crowd and knocked his confidence (David Beharall, anyone?).    

Needing to adjust to the pace of the top flight game, Bigi did show flashes of the passing prowess that we've already seen, while he also made one timely intervention late on to deny ex-mackem Darren Bent. Like Adam Campbell, it's important to keep some perspective. Nurture is the word.  

In one of too few memorable moments, Bent was the victim of a stinging assault by Ben Arfa - our man finding Bent's hooter with stunning accuracy when hoofing the ball at him from close range. It earned an unexpected corner and left Bent dazed and in need of treatment. Cheered us up though. 

Lambert meanwhile introduced Charles N'Zogbia from the bench and his arrival was greeted with the inevitable "greedy" chants from home supporters. And with Shay Given dropped to the bench, the only other ex-Magpie in evidence was former loanee/shirker Stephen Ireland - who maintained the form that has taken him to the edge of obscurity by missing the target late on when well-placed.  

Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan appeared as substitutes for the closing stages, but deliveries from both never looked likely to produce a late winner; even if the latter did almost live up to his billing as an impact substitute down the right flank and looked to have some fire in his belly, for once.

Demba Ba was withdrawn despite looking far more threatening than fellow striker Papiss Cisse (it did occur to us that Pardew took the view that Ba was wasting his time staying on, with Probert intent refusing to give anything in his favour). 

And salvation so nearly came in the final seconds of five added minutes, when Guzan clawed away Yohan Cabaye's seemingly perfect 30-yard free-kick. Had Given been between the posts, then it's doubtful that he would have reached it.

Four points from the first three games is certainly no disaster, even if the overall performance today was as dispiriting as Thursday's stumble into the Group Stages. Our progress in 12 months means that we risk becoming the victims of raised expectations, but it's important to retain a sense of proportion round these parts, even if clowns elsewhere are quick to leap to conclusions and rubbish the same set of players they fawned over last season. 

A year ago, ten of the fourteen players on show here today played out the most mediocre of 0-0 draws at QPR. That result may have extended our unbeaten start to the season, but came amid a sombre atmosphere prompted  by an unsatisfactory end to the transfer window and some genuine gloom as to our future prospects. That all seems like a long time ago, thankfully.  

Looking for positives in 2012, the spirit which was manifest in the whole team taking to the field clad in tracksuit tops emblazoned with "Ryan Taylor Over the Wall" (Captain Colo's idea) has seen us twice recover from conceding a goal at home to get back on level terms. Not playing well but not losing is an attribute we've possessed on far too few occasions round these parts over the years.

We'll never know whether, as alleged, United turned down big money for their stars (if so, obviously not big enough to meet our price tags). Whatever the whys or wherefores though, the hysteria and hyperbole of the transfer window is now behind us again. High time for an outbreak of football.


Page last updated 06 July, 2013