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5 February 2012
• St. James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
Referee: M. Halsey
• Attendance: 48569
D. Ba 30'
P. Cissé 72'
R. Keane 45'+
That's it from me. Thank you for joining Goal.com's LIVE! Commentary of the game be sure to join us again or head over to our breakdown of the Chelsea/Manchester United game. Until next time from me, stay classy Goal.com readers!
Our man Rob Stewart concludes: "This was the stuff that dreams are made of for centre-forwards because Papiss Demba Cisse marked his Newcastle debut with a goal that was in keeping with the best tradition’s of the club’s fabled No9 shirt as he restored the lead after Robbie Keane had cancelled out Demba Ba’s opener in a entertaining contest."
That's it Newcastle win the game thanks to a debut strike from £10m January signing Papiss Cisse and what a goal it was, worthy of winning any game of football. Demba Ba had given the Magpies the lead in the first half before Villa equalised through Robbie Keane. Alan Pardew's side are good value for their win and move above Arsenal into 5th in the Premier League. Villa were decent but as soon a N'Zogbia went off they lacked any attacking prowess and were suspect defensively. Definitely food for thought for McLeish whose side remains in 13th place eight points clear of the drop zone.
The clock's ticking down for Villa as they press for an equaliser Newcastle have the ball in the visitors half and don't look like giving it back anytime soon.
A huge let off for Newcastle as Bannan's cross finds Gardner in the middle who makes contact with the ball but his header is saved by Krul who can't bring the ball under control but fortunately for the Magpies the ball bounces safely into the Dutchman's hands.
McLeish's side are upping the ante here and they should be back in this as Bent lays the ball off to Keane who finds the run of Gary Gardner who takes the ball in stride but can't find the target when well placed in the box. A really poor effort there.
Good chance for Villa as Bent beats the offside trap and lays the ball back to Ciaran Clark who hits the ball first time with his left-foot but his strike is straight at Krul who makes a comfortable save.
Cisse troubles the Villa defence again but this time Cuellar is on hand to deflect his left-footed volley wide of the post as his shot looked to be creeping into the bottom corner. Still only one goal in this though so there is hope for Villa.
Cisse has come to life now and seems desperate to get on the score-sheet again. The Magpies could go to 5th a win could they get into the Champions League places? With this attacking line anythings possible.
Villa have looked lost going forward since N'Zogbia was substituted. Seeing as the Frenchman was their main attacking threat it makes the decision to take him off for Emile Heskey of all people that more baffling.
Our man at the Sports Direct Arena, Rob Stewart says: "And to think that some scribes in the Press box reckoned that Cisse was going to be taken off because he looked tired. Shows how much us lot know. That was a dream start."
Assist Jonas Gutierrez
Goal Papiss Cissé
GOALLLLL!!!! It's a debut strike for Cisse and what a goal it is. A wonderful left-footed volley which soars into the top-corner giving Shay Given no chance. Great finish but the striker had time to bring the ball down in the area under no pressure so questions have to be asked of the Villa defence. Take nothing away from Cisse though fantastic goal.
Yellow Card Darren Bent
Villa get in behind the Newcastle defence as Warnock is put beyond Obertan, he plays a good first time cross to Bent who hits the ball in stride but it's well blocked by Mike Williamson as the ball looked destined for the net.
Our man Rob Stewart reports the Villa fans aren't happy with Alex McLeish: "Villa fans have turned on Alex McLeish with a rendtion of 'You Don't Know What Your're Doing' following the substitution of Charles N'Zogbia and they had a point because the Frenchman was a constant threat to Newcastle."
Newcastle have dominated this half and the possession stats show this as they've had 75% of it in the last 10 minutes. They're having an excellent spell but they need to find a goal while they're on top.
Terrible miss by Cisse. Guthrie puts the ball onto a plate for him to head past Given but puts his header miles over the bar when unmarked and just six yards from goal. He won't want to see that again.
The Magpies are causing trouble for Villa every time they knock a ball into the area it seems this half. Dunne and Cuellar are not dealing with the aerial threat of Ba at all. They need to improve if they're to get anything out of this game.
Newcastle come close again as substitute Gabriel Obertan runs at the Villa defence but fires over when he could have squared the ball to Cisse who made a good run off the ball.
Danny Guthrie scored a screamer against Fulham a couple of weeks ago and as he lined up the ball outside the area Magpies fans were hopeful he might produce another, alas this time he fires miles over the bar into the Gallowgate End.
Cisse and Ba are showing signs of linking up well up-front for the Magpies. They've played together before with Senegal but if they can get it right in the Premier League the partnership could be extremely fruitful for Newcastle.
Newcastle nearly regain their lead as a ball into the area isn't gathered by Shay Given and Ba and Cisse try to knock the ball into the net but Richard Dunne manages to hack the ball clear. A let off for Villa.
We're back underway at the Sports Direct Arena.
Half-time at the Sports Direct Arena and it's fair to say it's probably a fair score-line as Ba netted for Newcastle before Keane equalised right on the whistle. Our man Rob Stewart says: "This was just what the fans needed up here on Tyneside because this excellent contest will have taken everyone's minds off the cold weather and it is nicely poised thanks to that deserved equaliser from Villa's Robbie Keane that cancelled out Demba Ba's opener. Advantage Villa - the away-day specialists."
45' + 5'
Assist Charles N'Zogbia
45' + 5'
Goal Robbie Keane
GOALLL!!!! Villa draw level and I told you if N'Zogbia could provide a decent ball into the area they may have success and the Frenchman has picked out Robbie Keane who makes no mistake tapping in from close range. Much better from Villa and a great run and finish from Keane.
45' + 3'
Newcastle are ending the half strongly and it's Ba again causing mayhem for the Aston Villa defence as he flicks on a cross which just loops over Given's bar much to the relief of the Republic of Ireland international.
45' + 2'
Cisse has a a great chance to score on his debut as the Villa defence let a cross run right across the area, the striker looks to pounce on it with his head but Alan Hutton gets his foot up to distract him slightly and Cisse heads the ball wide of the post. May not get a better chance than that today.
Villa are pressing again they've had a lot success down the left with Charles N'Zogbia and Bent down that side. It could be something to watch for both sides in the second half, if the visitors can get a decent ball into the area.
A well worked free-kick from Villa almost ends up in a goal as they feed the ball short to Ireland on the edge of the box and his right-footed effort just curls wide of the post. Unlucky! Rob Stewart reports Pardew is not happy about that either: "Alan Pardew has been turning the air blue in front of the press box after his players were almost caught out when when Stylian Petrov teed up Stephen Ireland to shoot just wide at a free-kick."
Yellow Card Richard Dunne
Yellow Card Danny Simpson
Both managers are not happy with their players as Rob Stewart reports Alan Pardew isn't pleased with Danny Simpson: "It is fair to say that Alan Pardew is not best pleased with Danny Simpson after the full-back was booked for pulling back a Villa player. He made his feelings known to everyone on the bench and who can blame him because the defender is now on a proverbial tightrope."
Villa look a bit shell shocked after the goal when it looked like they were starting to get going. They could look back at those two chances for Bent with regret at the end of the game.
In the build-up to Ba's goal, Taylor was hurt in the incident reports Rob Stewart: "Poor Ryan Taylor. It was the midfielder whose bravery set up Demba Ba's goal and now he is being taken off on a stretcher and straight to the treatment room following a crunching tackle by Stephen Warnock."
Our man Rob Stewart reports Alex McLeish is not happy with the manner of the Newcastle goal and his players appear to facing the brunt of his anger: "Villa manager Alex McLeish completely lost it on the touchline and while it wasn't clear in whose direction the Scot was venting his spleen, what is certain is that Stephen Ireland did not like what he was hearing and made it clear to his manager as he ranted and raved. Could be some half-time words, methinks."
Assist Ryan Taylor
Goal Demba Ba
GOALLLL!!! Who else could it be but Demba Ba for Newcastle. Villa didn't clear the ball from a cross the loose ball lands at the feet of the Sengalese striker and he makes no mistake lashing the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Goal number 16 for Ba this season.
Bent comes close to opening the scoring again and Richard Dunne, would you believe it, dissects the Newcastle defence with a pinpoint ball for the former Sunderland man but he can't get full contact on the ball and Krul makes a good save.
Warnock is down for Aston Villa after heading the back of Taylor's head it doesn't make good viewing on replays but fortunately for the left-back he doesn't seem to be badly hurt and looks to be re-entering the field.
Both teams are playing some neat football but as soon as they get within the 18-yard box the final ball has been extremely poor. An improvement is needed if we're going to get goals in this game.
Newcastle look to threaten from a free-kick and the ball comes out to Taylor who's hit some spectacular shots this season but not this time as he blasts the ball over the bar when well placed in the box.
Cisse is straight into the action as he latches onto to a cross hit in from the right from Ryan Taylor but he heads to ball straight at Shay Given. Decent start for the Senegalese international.
Our man Rob Stewart reports Papiss Cisse is receiving a great reception on his home debut after entering the action: "They like their No9s up in this neck of the woods and that was demonstrated by the ear-piercing way that Papiss Cisse was greeted by the Toon Army went he entered the fray in the 14th minute after Leon Best limped off."
Darren Bent nearly gives Villa the lead as he's put through behind the defence and is one-on-one with Tim Krul. But the England's man's shot is well saved by the Newcaslte stopper, great chance for McLeish's side to take the lead.
It looks like Leon Best was injured in that challenge with Warnock and it brings new signing Papiss Cisse into the action. Rob Stewart reports: "Papiss Cisse has been told to get stripped following an injury to Leon Best judging by his warm-up routine, he will become a crowd favourite because he went for a light job behind the goal!"
Alex McLeish is getting quite animated on the sidelines as his team are also seeing a lot of the ball in a very open start to the match. This time they're caught on the break as the Magpies press forward but Stephen Warnock defends well blocking Leon Best's shot and the ball is hoofed clear.
First attempt of the game goes to Villa and Charles N'Zogbia who's also getting booed by the Newcastle support. The former Wigan man raids down the left beating Danny Simpson but his shot flies miles over the bar. More jeers from the home fans follow.
Davide Santon does very well in defence for Newcastle as he cuts out a ball behind the back-four which Bent looked to pounce on. He then calmly rounds the on-rushing Stephen Ireland and clears the ball safety. Well played.
Composed start to the game by the home-side who are looking comfortable in possession knocking the ball around at ease. Villa striker Darren Bent is getting booed by the Magpies fans due to his Sunderland connections funnily enough he also got booed when he played at the Stadium of Light. Not a popular man in the North-East.
Our man at the Sports Direct Arena Rob Stewart reports Shay Given is getting a good reception from the Newcastle crowd: "This will be a major test for Newcastle old boy Shay Given because I can't believe he will be able hold it together after getting a standing ovation from the Leazes End. Emotional stuff."
A win today for the Magpies would lift them above 5th placed Arsenal and move them level on points with 4th place Chelsea, while Villa could move up to 10th with a victory on Tyneside.
Alex McLeish has made no changes from his team that drew 2-2 with QPR on Wednesday. Shay Given makes his first return to Tyneside since leaving Newcastle in 2009 after spending 12 years at the club.
Newcastle have made two changes from their side that beat Blackburn 2-0 in midweek. Demba Ba has returned from the African Cup of Nations and is immediately recalled to the starting line-up. The Senegalese international has 15 goals for the Magpies in the League this season. James Perch is the other change replacing Hatem Ben Arfa in the midfield. While January signing Papiss Demba Cisse starts on the bench in his first game for the Magpies since his move from Freiburg.
Team News: Aston Villa (4-4-2): Given; Hutton, Cuellar, Dunne, Warnock; Ireland, Petrov, Clark, N'Zogbia; Keane, Bent. Subs: Guzan, Heskey, Bannan, Weimann, Lichaj, Baker, Gardner.
Team News: Newcastle United (4-4-2): Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini (c), Santon; Taylor, Perch, Guthrie, Gutierrez; Best, Ba. Substitutes: Elliot, Ferguson, Gosling, Obertan, Ben-Arfa, Ameobi, Cisse.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! Commentary of today's Premier League match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa. I'm Simon Sinclair I'll be taking you through all the action as it happens at the Sports Direct Arena.
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