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West Ham United
2 September 2012
• St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 48245
H. Ben Arfa 59'
C. Clark 22'
So that's it from me after an entertaining afternoon at St James' Park. Paul Lambert's men have their first point of the season but its Hatem Ben Arfa who will grab all the headlines as he spared Newcastle's blushes with an extraordinary strike. This is Nicholas McGee signing off!
Full Time: Its a point apiece on Tyneside. You suspect Villa will be the happier of the two teams but after a dismal first half display Alan Pardew should be satisfied to come away with a point.
90' + 5'
A free-kick from Cabaye is brilliantly saved by Guzan. The American keeper looks to have earned a point for his side.
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Brett Holman
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Bradley Guzan
90' + 1'
Can either team snatch a late winner? Newcastle look the more likely but this one could go either way.
Yellow Card Eric Lichaj
There will be five minutes of added time at St James' Park.
Double substitution for Newcastle as Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan replace Gutierrez and Ba.
Yellow Card Jonas Gutierrez
Bigirimana has saved a certain goal! Agbonlahor picks the ball up from deep and races past Coloccini, the former England u-21 international plays in Bent but the Burundian produces a fantastic tackle to deny the visitors a potential winner.
Glorious, glorious chance for Villa, Agbonlahor lays the ball off for Ireland at the edge of the Newcastle box but the midfielder fluffs his lines and fires well over the bar.
Villa are still very much in this game and they force a corner after Anita heads a dangerous looking cross behind goal. Newcastle eventually clear and the visitors look to have weathered the storm a little.
Its all Newcastle and has been ever since Ben Arfa's equaliser. Ba heads just over from a Bigirimana cross.
Karim El Ahmadi
Charles N'Zogbia receives a hostile reception as he replaces the injured El Ahmadi.
A painful moment for Darren Bent, as Ben Arfa smashes the ball directly into his face. The Newcastle fans a less than sympathetic and proceed to taunt the ex-Sunderland man.
Its a return from injury for Gabriel Agbonlahor, who replaces Weimann up front. Paul Lambert is clearly not prepared to settle for a point.
This game is wide open now, Villa nearly provide an instant response as Weimann fires wide from close range. Gaps are appearing in both defences and I wouldn't like to pick a winner in this one.
Goal Hatem Ben Arfa
Newcastle have their response and its a thunderbolt from Hatem Ben Arfa! The ball falls to the Frenchman on the edge of the area and he lets fly with a rocket that flies past Guzan and into the top corner!
Periods of dominance have been few and far between for Newcastle, the visitors are continuing to dictate play and control the tempo of the game.
The Newcastle fans begin to show signs of real frustration with their team's performance. The home side try to respond and a Cabaye header is comfortably saved by Guzan.
Really positive start to the second period from the visitors, as they force two early corners, Newcastle manage to clear the danger but Paul Lambert's men look dangerous going forward.
Newcastle get the second half up and running.
Newcastle earn a corner just before the break but it falls to nothing. A disappointing half for Alan Pardew and his side but Paul Lambert will be delighted with how Villa have acquitted themselves so far.
45' + 1'
A late first chance for the Magpies as Cisse heads over from an Anita cross.
Demba Ba has found a little bit more success against the Villa defence in the last few minutes, the Senegalese striker has fired a shot across the face of goal from a tight angle and had an effort from distance easily saved by Guzan.
Bigirimana slots straight into midfield, with Vurnon Anita moving to right-back.
More worrying moments for Newcastle as Danny Simpson limps off with a hamstring injury. He is replaced by 18-year-old Gael Bigirimana.
Villa have begun to sit very deep in defence and are allowing Newcastle more and more of the ball. You sense they may try to frustrate the Magpies now they have the lead.
And just as I say that Cisse forces Guzan into a superb close range save. Vurnon Anita then fires a long-range effort just wide from the resulting corner.
Newcastle, for all their play, haven't created much. That needs to change pretty quickly if the Magpies are to get back into this game.
Yellow Card Karim El Ahmadi
Newcastle almost offer an instant response, as Steven Taylor meets a Cabaye free-kick but can only divert it wide of the goal.
Assist Barry Bannan
Goal Ciaran Clark
Villa have looked threatening, and they are rewarded for a strong start as Ciaran Clark nods home from a fantastic cross from Barry Bannan. St James' Park is silenced.
Big chance for Villa, the ball falls to Darren Bent six yards from goal, but his effort is well saved by Krul. Andreas Weimann tries to slot home the rebound, but his shot is deflected over the bar.
Hatem Ben Arfa has looked very bright early on. The dynamic Frenchman is darting inside at every opportunity and is asking questions of the Villa defence.
The contest has a little bit more pace about it now. Newcastle are doing most of the pressing, but Villa look good in possession. This one is nicely poised early on.
Its all a bit scrappy at the minute with neither team able to gain a real foothold in the game.
An early chance for Newcastle as Fabricio Coloccini gets on the end of a Yohan Cabaye free-kick, but his effort is deflected wide of the goal.
Aston Villa get us underway.
The two teams walk out to a typically raucous reception at St James' Park.
Newcastle make a string of changes from the side that beat Atromitos in the Europa League in midweek. Fabricio Coloccini, Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye among those to return.
So the big news for Villa is that Shay Given drops to the bench against his former club. Fellow former Magpie Charles N'Zogbia is also a substitute.
Subs: Given, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Baker, Burke, Williams, Bowery.
Aston Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Lichaj; Holman, El Ahmadi, Ireland, Bannan; Weimann, Bent.
Subs: Harper, Williamson, Gosling, Bigirimana, Marveaux, Amalfitano, Obertan
Newcastle: Krul; Simpson, S.Taylor, Coloccini, Santon; Ben Arfa, Anita, Cabaye, Gutierrez; Ba, Cisse.
We start, as always, with the two line-ups.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of Newcastle vs Aston Villa. I'm Nicholas McGee and I'll be here to take you through the next 90 odd minutes as Paul Lambert looks for his Premier League win as Villa boss.
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