"We never got going in the first half, and you can't lose goals the way we did and expect to get something.

"We started the second half really well. But in the first half we lost a really poor goal, and I think the second one is even worse.

"We had got back into the game, and I think the momentum was with us.

"But we can't defend that way."

On booing from the crowd:

"I'd rather have that level of expectancy on our shoulders. It's important to have that to go and try and win games. I'd rather play with that. The crowd have been excellent since I've come to Villa.

"As a footballer you have to thrive in playing in front of a crowd. It's too big a club not to have a big support, and it's thousands.

"You take the rough with the smooth, that's the game."


Hatem Ben Arfa's thirteenth goal for United (12 in the PL) was the first time that he's scored in back to back appearances.

Yoan Gouffran
's fourth goal for United was the same as his previous three, away from home. Unlike any of that trio though (Spurs away, West Brom away, QPR away), this goal was in the second half and notched following his arrival from the substitute's bench.

Papiss Cisse has now gone ten Premier League games and a total of 882 minutes since last netting for United, at home to Fulham in April 2013.

That's his longest barren run to date, surpassing the 763 minutes between his incredible strike at Chelsea in May 2012 and the one that win in off his backside to beat West Brom at Gallowgate in October 2012.

Toon @ Villa Park - Premier League era:

2013/14 won 2-1 Ben Arfa, Gouffran
2012/13 won 2-1 Cisse, Cabaye
2011/12 drew 1-1 Best
2010/11 lost 0-1
2008/09 lost 0-1
2007/08 lost 1-4 Owen
2006/07 lost 0-2
2005/06 won 2-1 Ameobi, N'Zogbia
2004/05 lost 2-4 Kluivert, O'Brien
2003/04 drew 0-0
2002/03 won 1-0 Shearer
2001/02 drew 1-1 Shearer
2000/01 drew 1-1 Solano
2000/01 lost 1-0 (FAC)
1999/00 won 1-0 Ferguson
1998/99 lost 0-1
1997/98 won 1-0 Batty
1996/97 drew 2-2 Shearer, Clark
1995/96 drew 1-1 Ferdinand
1994/95 won 2-0 Lee, Cole
1993/94 won 2-0 Allen (pen), Cole




It's always good to get a result here.

Their ignorant, fickle fans and the events of May 2009 give wins at Villa Park an extra resonance. Today was no exception but this one had an element of surprise that made it even more special.

Both teams narrowly survived relegation last year but while there has been doom and gloom on Tyneside, there was massive optimism in this horrible part of North Birmingham. The feeling has been - despite two defeats in their first three games - that the Paul Lambert revolution is about to take off. Benteke and the youngsters will be brilliant this season, so they say.

Errr, well not on this showing they won't. They were as poor as Fulham were a fortnight ago and although Villa squandered better chances, United were far more comfortable in securing all three points, despite an equaliser that the home fans expected to spark a successful comeback.

Alan Pardew raved about his side after the game, especially Hatem Ben Arfa's performance, but to these eyes neither were anything special and made to look better than they were by some shocking defending and sloppy passing from the home side.

Our passing wasn't fantastic either. If it had been and we'd had a centre forward in any sort of form, then we could have won by a far greater margin. Papiss Cisse looks terrible at the moment. Still forever offside, his touch is non-existent and his passing woeful. It's incredible.

Regardless of that though, we secured our first away win of the season as the Gallic contingent came good to deservedly claim victory.

Ben Arfa and substitute Yoan Gouffran found the net, but revitalised displays from fellow Frenchmen Yohan Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko and Matthieu Debuchy did much to achieve United's second successive league victory.

Selecting the strongest starting XI available to him, Pardew's side were on the offensive from the first whistle thanks to a front three that hassled and harried an out of sorts home side without a clean sheet in 2013.

It took twelve attempts to register victory on the road last season when another 2-1 win here improved the mood and offered hope for the future, in the shape of debutants Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Sissoko and Gouffran.

Today much of that optimism came from Loic Remy, who made his first start on the left and echoed the threat of Ben Arfa, marauding menacingly down the opposite flank.

Backing them up was an industrious midfield including Cabaye for the first time this season and Sissoko, who seemed to relish the battle in the centre of the park and had the stamina to contribute right through until full time.

Putting aside the reasons for club and player to have departed in the transfer window, Cabaye's return and positive display did much to inspire victory.

That was in stark contrast to his interest levels and demeanour on our last visit to this part of the world, when our hoof ball tactics at the Hawthorns last April left him visibly disenchanted with team and manager.

There was also a vote of confidence in Vurnon Anita from the manager, the Dutchman keeping his place despite the availability of Cheick Tiote.

That was echoed in central defence by the decision to retain Yanga-Mbiwa and consign Steven Taylor on the bench on his return from suspension.

United went in front when excellent work from Remy down the left saw him reach the byline and pull a pass back for Cisse to make contact before the ball fell invitingly for Ben Arfa to steer home left-footed just six yards.

More goals looked likely against a stuttering Villans side who had lost their last three games and struggled to bring their main goal threat Christian Benteke into the game.

Half chances for Cabaye, Remy and Cisse and a penalty appeal denied when Remy was impeded failed to add to our tally however.

After the break, Villa emerged strongly and quickly put the visitors under pressure, winning some early corner kicks. Antonio Luna should have equalised but elected to cross but his error was nothing compared to Gabriel Agbonlahor who missed a virtual open goal.

United looked to ease the pressure by pushing forward and one run and shot from Ben Arfa ended with 'keeper Brad Guzan blocking and managing to push the ball away from the lurking Cisse.

Paul Lambert threw on forward Libor Kozak in an effort to find an equaliser but it was Benteke who got on the end of a corner to nod home - Tim Krul punching at fresh air and our marking all at sea.

That awoke the slumbering home fans but only for a matter of minutes when a smooth passing sequence set up Ben Arfa to skip forward and bear down again to inflict further torture on the Antonio Luna

Guzan again parried the shot, but this time Gouffran reacted first to gleefully side-footed in from 12 yards before celebrating with the away contingent.

Cisse headed narrowly wide and Tiote, on as substitute, had a long range effort saved while yet another Ben Arfa run into the area was halted by an illegal body check, but widespread spot kick calls went unheeded.

Villa rarely threatened a second equaliser though and United comfortably held on through four minutes of added time, Debuchy and late replacement Sammy Ameobi both retaining possession to run the clock down.

Players and fans then both celebrated wildly on another memorable day out at this venue - our eighth Premier League victory on this patch - and what can truly be called out most cohesive and convincing performance since beating Chelsea 3-2 at Gallowgate in February.

Some unpleasantness in the ground translated into blows being exchanged outside with one home fan picking on the wrong youngster and having his jaw seemingly broken by the lad's family. Not good but a lesson learned the hard way for the local agitator.

The feistiness in the ground wasn't dealt with brilliantly by the stewards and police with huge numbers of both required to deal with individual trouble makers who were allowed to return to their seats. Incidentally at one point in front of me stood three stewards and three coppers - ALL bearded. What's that all about...?!

But on a day when a point would have been gratefully accepted, three were deliriously savoured as surprise turned to sheer delight. Marvellous.

Niall MacKenzie