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Premier League

  • 2 September 2012
  • • 16:00
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Referee: L. Probert
  • • Attendance: 48245

Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa: Stunning Ben Arfa strike saves hosts from defeat

Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa: Stunning Ben Arfa strike saves hosts from defeat

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Ciaran Clark's headed effort was cancelled out by a long range effort wonder goal from the French international as Paul Lambert's side pick up their first point of the season

Newcastle United were held at home by a battling Aston Villa side, after Ciaran Clark's first half goal looked to have given the visitors the edge in a tight game, before Hatem Ben Arfa's wonderstrike in the 60th minute put the two teams levelled again.

Alan Pardew made no changes to the side who lost 2-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their last Premier League game whereas Paul Lambert changed five of his starting eleven. Brad Guzan, Eric Lichaj, Brett Holman, Stephen Ireland and Andreas Weimann were all brought into the side following last week's 3-1 home defeat to Everton.

Newcastle started the game on the attack with a Fabricio Coloccini header being struck wide, following Cabaye's delivery from a free kick.

Ten minutes into the game, Villa started to attack more with Weimann passing the ball to Darren Bent as he waited in the penalty box, before Tim Krul saved the home side forcing the ball off for a corner after hitting the captain Coloccini in the rebound.

Lambert's side then continued to press with Darren Bent forcing another save from Kurl, resulting in another corner for the visitors.

Although the ball was headed clear by Newcastle's defence, Barry Bannan was waiting at the edge of the box where he crossed in the ball for the waiting Clark, who stood unmarked in the opposition's six yard box to give the Villans the lead.

After Karim El Ahmadi was booked for a challenge on Danny Simpson, Newcastle started to test Guzan in Villa's goal where Papiss Cisse's shot resulted in the ball bouncing back to Vurnon Anita, before the new signing hit the ball wide of the target.

Ten minutes before half-time Simpson was forced off the pitch with a hamstring injury, which resulted in Anita dropping into defence. Gael Bigirimana was then brought onto the pitch as Pardew's first substitute, moving into midfield.

Newcastle finished the first half the stronger side after Cisse missed a golden opportunity to put his side level. The ball came to his feet in the six-yard box before Guzan made an impressive save to stop the striker netting his first goal of the season.

The second half began with Villa continuing their form, forcing Newcastle into giving away two corners within the first three minutes of the second half but without causing any pressure for Krul.

Newcastle slowly came into the second half but rapidly picked up the pace around the hour mark, when the ball fell to Ben Arfa and after dribbling past Brett Holman, the Frenchman launched the ball into the top right corner of Guzan's net, leaving the keeper without a chance.

Villa tried to respond immediately with Weimann shooting wide from close range, with the Austrian subbed for Gabriel Agbonlahor shortly after.

With 13 minutes to go, a quick run from Demba Ba led to a nasty collision between Guzan and the striker, with the Villa keeper taking a knee to the side of his head.

In the final 10 minutes, Villa continued to play attacking football but Pardew's men did not allow any real chances for the away side, aside from a mis-directed volley from Stephen Ireland just outside the Newcastle penalty box, after substitute Agbonlahor laid the ball off for him.

Bigirimana made a heroic tackle on Darren Bent to prevent the Englishman from potentially scoring the winner, following another great ball by Agbonlahor after the striker raced past Coloccini.

The game became more open in the final stages of the match, which resulted in Eric Lichaj picking up a yellow card after holding back Obertan a few yards away from the centre circle.

With almost the no time to spare, Yohan Cabaye missed the opportunity to put his side in front and secure them the win after his free kick was saved by another brilliant stop from Guzan, who looks set to challenge Shay Given for the starting position.