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Season 2014-15
Aston Villa (h) Premier League


In association 


Date: Saturday 28th February 2015, 3.00pm.

St. James' Park

Conditions: flawed


Newcastle United


Aston Villa

1 - 0




37 mins Daryl Janmaat's cross from the right flank reached an unmarked Papiss Cisse and after trapping the ball on his thigh, the striker beat Brad Guzan from eight yards at the Leazes End. The Dutchman has now set up six goals in the Premier League this season.

Breaking off from celebrating with his colleagues on the field, United's number 9 made a beeline for the home bench, where he accepted the congratulations of substitute Jonas Gutierrez

Half time: Magpies 1 Villans 0

Full  time: Magpies 1 Villans 0

We Said

John Carver

"We got a battling response (to losing 0-5 the previous Saturday). It wasn't scintillating football but it was two nervous sides. Villa are fighting for survival and we were trying to get off that 32-point mark because people are talking about our season fizzling out.

"It wasn't pretty but it was a nice feeling getting that goal before half-time - it was a godsend. When you've just come on the back of a 5-0 drubbing, confidence is low but we've got a good spirit.

"We kept a clean sheet, which we haven't done too many times. We do have a long list of people who aren't available. We've dug in there and fought every inch of the way to get the result.

"It's been a long week after last weekend. It couldn't come quickly enough. The expectancy of this crowd is massive. I know it's not breathtaking but it was a win and that's the most important thing.

"What you saw wasn't a great passing or team performance, but it was a battling performance. I'm not bothered if it's an ugly win – and it was – because people doubted us after last week. 

"Today is proof that we've got a group in the dressing room who are honest and hard working and even when they're not playing well they'll still give their all.

"I was brave going with two wingers and two strikers – there are not many head coaches or managers in the Premier League go that way, but I did it because I felt it was important to get the three points.

“We talked about getting the ball in the wide areas and  putting the ball in the box because it’s no good  Papiss (Cisse) being the lone striker and trying to play into his feet. He's about getting into the box and putting the ball in the back of the net, and he did that.

“What was disappointing was that in the first half, we didn't put the ball in the box enough, and it just shows you - you put it in the box and he will score a goal for you. Thankfully, he did.

“Unfortunately, because of what happened to Sadio (Haidara), I had to put Ryan on at left-back. I had to make a decision – he (Jonas Gutierrez) is getting closer, he is getting fitter, he is getting stronger, so the time will eventually come, especially if we keep losing bodies.”

“It's his knee (Haidara). He's got an ongoing issue with it, but it's not too serious, so we will see what he's like. Hopefully, he should be available for Wednesday.

"The one thing I will say is we did actually show that professionalism that we didn't show against Stoke City when we conceded the late goal, so maybe the guys have learned from it.

"Let's not hide the fact that today has not been a classic, has it? It's not been a proper classic.

"But I'll tell you what, the thing that's pleased me is we have kept a clean sheet, we have had players who have put their bodies on the line - and I have to mention Fabricio Coloccini in particular.

"His block towards the end of the game was outstanding. That's as good as scoring a goal at the other end."

On goalscorer Cisse:

"His goal ratio is fantastic - but we have got to provide him with the service. If we don't provide him with the service, then he won't score goals, so I need to make sure that the team provides him with service because he is valuable to us.

"This season, he has probably scored more scruffy goals than he ever has, but I am not bothered because he is actually scoring goals. That's why it was important to keep him here and that's why it was important to get him in the team and put him in the right area."

Speaking in recent days, Alan Shearer said this of JC:

“As a temporary manager I know that it is very difficult to get all of the players on board. John Carver is in a difficult position with Newcastle. but their season is very much the same as I expected it to be at the beginning of the season. They’ve gone out of the cup competitions early and finished in and around mid-table - that’s what Newcastle are I’m afraid nowadays.”

He then expanded on that verdict:

"There is no excitement, no anticipation. It takes its toll, even on the most loyal fans in the country. Fans want to dream their team can be successful, whether that's in a domestic cup competition or in Europe.

"Newcastle fans at the minute are showing why they are some of the best around, because they can't dream. They've been told the cups aren't a priority, that finishing 10th in the Premier League is more important.

"Over the last few years, they've been knocked out of the cup competitions early and they've been happy to do that, year after year. When you look at the teams that are left in the FA Cup this year, but also the year before when Hull got to the final and Wigan Athletic before that.

"Bradford, Reading ,West Brom, Blackburn and Villa are in the quarter-finals this year and Newcastle are out. They must look at it now and think 'God, why not us'.

"That's the most disappointing thing. That's where we are now with Newcastle. They told us the league is the main priority and the cups aren't a priority. But that's what fans dream of, a trip to Wembley, of playing in Europe. Newcastle can't win the Premier League.

"I think they are going at the moment because that's what they always do. It's what their parents did, it's what they want to do with their kids. It's the way they've always spent their weekends.

"They save their money up all week so they can go to the football match at the weekend. It's a cultural thing. They want to go and they want to be entertained, but they aren't at the moment.

"I think there are a lot of people thinking about giving up their season tickets. I can only talk about my own experience, but I've got friends who have paid for a box at St James' Park for years and they are talking about giving it up.

"Unless the club are going to bring in a load of exciting players in the summer, which is highly unlikely when you look at the way it's been run, then I think people might look at giving up. I can only tell you what my mates are thinking about doing because of the lack of hope at the minute.

"I'd dearly love us to have a cup run, I'd dearly love us to get to Wembley again, I'd much rather that than just finish in mid-table year after year.

"It's not going to happen because we've played a weakened team in every cup game. They've been playing weakened teams in cup competitions since 2007."

They Said

Tim Sherwood - who oversaw a 4-0 win for Spurs on his only other managerial visit to SJP:

(The performance) is a consolation, yes, but it's still no points, so I want a really poor performance on Tuesday night and three points, please.

"But listen, two wins this week and we will bounce into the next game. We need a shot of confidence here. There's not a lack of desire in that dressing room. The boys really care, they really do care - they are low in there.

"A lot of managers try to take the pressure off you - I think Paul Lambert has probably been trying to do that to the guys all season. I'm going to try the other way, I am going to put it on them, 'We're under pressure, boys, we are under pressure, this is a massive football club with a lot of good people involved in it and the fans are magnificent'.

"The pressure valve is up already; let's put pressure on ourselves to try to get points in these last few games.

“I saw signs that this team isn’t ready to give up. I’m giving credit to the players’ character for dusting themselves down during the week and working very hard. The performance improved - it was  a much improved performance in fact.

“We had far more attacking options - we’re getting the ball wide, crossing the ball, creating chances for Christian Benteke and it will come, surely. We’ve conceded one shot at goal in the first half and we go in 1-0 down which is obviously a cruel blow.

"It’s important we win football matches and we take something from every game we play. If they perform like that, we’ve got more of a chance to be able to do that. I’m far happier today in defeat. 

"I know it’s zero points still but I’m far happier in defeat today than I was last week. I see an improvement which means they’re listening on the training field and they’re trying to apply themselves correctly like I’m telling them.”

On the enigmatic Charles N'Zogbia:

"Between now and the end of his career it would be a shame if he doesn’t give maximum effort and try to achieve something - he has certainly got the tools. No-one is going to be happy when they’re not playing but with me they’ll soon realise they might not play one game but they will another.

"He’s been really good since I got here. I think he has got valuable experience - experience in the bottom of the division as well with Wigan. He could be valuable to us. I have explained to him that he needs to get himself back up to match sharpness.

"He’s not match fit because he hasn’t been playing games, but the sessions that I put on are pretty much real - they’re out on the big pitch. He’s putting in the workload and if he gets his sharpness back and performs well on the training field then he will play.

"I’ve had good chats with him and that’s why I need to continue having chats with my players. He told me that he felt his best form was when he was at Wigan. He needs to try and recapture that at Villa - I think it’s possible that he can do that.

"In the past whenever I have set up a team and I’m out there coaching, Charles N’Zogbia has always been highlighted as a threat. I’ve been looking from afar so I don’t know what his problems have been.

"He’s had a few niggles and when he had a season out that was a blow. It would be to anyone’s career. My job is to keep him fresh and happy and then we’ll go from there."


The Magpies managed to keep only a second clean sheet in their last seventeen league and cup fixtures - and a first one on home soil in seven attempts.

Papiss Cisse has now scored 11 goals in the Premier League this season (from a total of 32) and is within sight of his previous best haul of 13 (in season 2011/12). Those 11 goals have come at an average of 84 minutes - reportedly the best goal to ratio currently in the Premier League.

United's number notched his 34th Premier League goal for the club, taking him into seventh spot in club's scoring list for that competition, level with Rob Lee. The next name on that list is Nolberto Solano, with 37.

Ryan Taylor
a fifth senior appearance this season in all competitions, and has now completed a total of 180 minutes. United have failed to concede a single goal while he's been on the field.

Newcastle's sixth Premier League home victory of the season means that they've surpassed their worst seasonal total in the competition (five in 2007/08) 

The Magpies managed to be winning a Premier League home game at half time and also at full time for the first occasion this season.

PL home games 2014/15: 
(half time score in brackets)

Manchester City lost 0-2 (0-1)
Crystal Palace drew 3-3 (1-1)
Hull City drew 2-2 (0-0)
Leicester City won 1-0 (0-0)
Liverpool won 1-0 (0-0)
QPR won 1-0 (0-0)
Chelsea won 2-1 (0-0)
mackems lost 0-1 (0-0)
Everton won 3-2 (1-1)
Burnley drew 3-3 (2-1)
Southampton lost 1-2 (1-1)
Stoke City drew 1-1 (0-0)
Aston Villa won 1-0 (1-0)

Scoring 19 goals in 13 Premier League home games (six in the first half, 13 in the second) so far this season, the end split is 11 at the Gallowgate, 8 at the Leazes.

United's lowest home scoring total in an entire Premier League season is 22 (1997/98 and 2006/07).  

Villans @ SJP - Premier League Years:

2014/15: Won 1-0 Cisse
2013/14: Won 1-0 Remy
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 76 48 14 14 161 90
VP 76 20 19 37 80 136
League 152 68 33 51 241 225
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 159 70 34 55 249 243





A week on from their heaviest defeat of the season, United recovered sufficiently to record a win that plunged Villa further into the relegation mire - but did little to advance the claims of John Carver to lead the side beyond the end of this campaign. 

A 37th minute strike from Papiss Cisse secured the points on a day where neither side excelled but both created - and wasted - numerous good chances. The win pushed United firmly into mid-table and further away from relegation trouble as Premier League security was all but achieved. They now sit on 35 points - one more than the miserable total that saw them rightly relegated six years ago.

It's a different story for Tim Sherwood's Villa side though, who remain second from bottom and winless in the league for a dozen games stretching back to last year.

Having witnessed our demotion with glee at Villa Park back in May 2009, the boot was firmly on the other foot for the travelling support on Saturday - with the loudest shout of the day from home followers a late chorus of "you're not laughing any more" as Level 7 emptied. 

Some gallows humour from the Villans was also evident, with another attack petering out in the closing stages prompting a chorus of, "that's why we're going down". The bedsheets displayed by the Villa contingent this time round called for the departure of owner Randy Lerner and supported returning Magpie Jonas Gutierrez. Mentions of messiahs were in distinctly short supply.....

With just a solitary win from seven Premier League games in 2015, John Carver made four changes - one forced on him. Jack Colback's suspension resulted in a first start for Mehdi Abeid since December while Vurnon Anita, Yoan Gouffran and Ayoze Perez all dropped to the bench as Gabriel Obertan, Sammy Ameobi and Emmanuel Riviere returned - the latter partnering Cisse for the first time.

The lowest scorers in the division, Villa's inability to convert in front of goal was evident when their first half superiority failed to see them net, Gaby Agbonlahor netting after 15 minutes but rightly flagged offside.

At the other end, a rare excursion into the Villa area saw Janmaat's cross from the right finding Cisse, only for his chest down to allow Alan Hutton to intervene. Continuing to look the more dangerous, Villa's pressure created another chance that saw Benteke produce a spectacular overhead kick that Tim Krul parried.

But against the run of play, another Janmaat cross from right reached an unmarked Cisse and he reacted first to rifle home. The scorer ran to the Newcastle bench to celebrate with Jonas Gutierrez - back in the squad for the first time since 2013 - and there had been a great ovation for the Argentinean when he was sent out to warm up in the 18th minute - a neat touch from Carver.

Riviere missed a good chance to double the lead and break his Premier League scoring duck three minutes before half time, rising unchallenged to meet Ameobi's accurate corner from the left but heading wide. That in itself was an improvement on a previous attempt from an identical situation - when he missed the ball completely.

Cisse went close to grabbing another when he headed narrowly wide from a 58th minute free-kick, but Villa should have levelled just four minutes later when Tom Cleverley was put through by a Benteke flick-on. However the on-loan Red Devil continued his scoreless run when shooting towards Krul, who still blocked well.

United left back Massadio Haidara was stretchered off on the hour with what looked like a bad knee injury - yet another defensive headache following the loss of Steven Taylor and Paul Dummett to injury and the banishing of Davide Santon and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to Italy.

Fit-again Ryan Taylor appeared in his place amid warm applause, but once again the ground was eerily silent for significant parts of the game. Sammy Ameobi played in Moussa Sissoko but Guzan saved and then Gabriel Obertan should have done better when he broke clear but dwelt on the ball and was denied in similar circumstances to his miss here against Stoke.

Ex-Magpie Charles N'Zogbia came on from the bench to a chorus of boos and within a minute Benteke converted a cross but was rightly flagged offside once again - Fabricio Coloccini making a timely clearance from within his own six yard box earlier in the move. 

Taylor then had the perfect opportunity to get a decisive second with a free-kick from just outside the box but Guzan saved low down at the expense of a corner. Newly-arrived substitute Ayoze Perez then instinctively headed against the post, as Guzan inadvertently helped Ameobi's flag kick to the back post with his fingertips.

Villa pressed for a late equaliser and Coloccini was well placed to block Ashley Westwood's shot but the visitors failed to threaten Krul's goal, as a generous six minutes of time was added on by referee Lee Mason. United played that and the final 10 minutes with an ailing Gouffran after he was introduced as our final change but quickly picked up an injury that restricted his movement (some people may not have noticed any difference....)

And with only a few seconds remaining, a poor clearing header from Coloccini landed invitingly at N'Zogbia's feet. Thankfully though he ballooned his effort over the bar before Mason blew for full time amid general relief.

The win left Newcastle firmly in 11th spot, four points behind Stoke and five points clear of Crystal Palace. Far from being the hoped-for statement of intent and resounding success against a side hopelessly out of form, this was a gritty but grim struggle when isolated pieces of skill were almost instantly followed by avoidable lapses.

Time after time Newcastle looked certain to catch Villa on the break via sweeping counter-attacks, but singularly failed to test Guzan with accurate shots. If we're to achieve back to back victories by beating the Red Devils here on Wednesday night, then far greater decisiveness in front of goal is essential - regardless of whether the defence can hold out.


Page last updated 03 July, 2015