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Premier League

  • September 2, 2012
  • • 11:00 AM
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Referee: L. Probert
  • • Attendance: 48245
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Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa: Stunning Ben Arfa strike saves hosts from defeat

The French international rescued his side as the visitors were denied the win after Ciaran Clark's headed effort was cancelled out

Ciaran Clark's first half goal gave Aston Villa the edge at the end of 45 minutes, before Hatem Ben Arfa's wonderstrike in the 60th minute put the two teams level again.

Alan Pardew made no changes to the side which 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 Coloccini header being struck wide, following Cabaye's delivery from a free kick.

Ten minutes into the game, Villa started to attack more with Andreas 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 Aston Villa. Although the ball was headed clear by Newcastle's defense, Barry Bannan was waiting at the edge of the box where he crossed in the ball for the waiting Ciaran Clark, who stood unmarked in the opposition's six yard box.

After Karim El Ahmadi was booked for a challenge on Danny Simpson, Newcastle started to test Brad 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 defense. Gael Bigirimana was then brought onto the pitch as Pardew's first substitute, where he took up Anita's position.

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 its 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, where the ball fell to Hatem Ben Arfa and after dribbling past Holman, the Frenchman launched the ball into the top right corner of Guzan's net leaving the keeper without a chance.

Aston Villa tried to respond immediately with Weimann hitting the ball wide from close range, followed by the Austrian being taken off the field to make way for Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Both teams continued to press with 20 minutes to go with Newcastle working deep into Aston Villa's half, resulting in the visitors conceding numerous corners, but without any trouble for Guzan.

Charles N'Zogbia was then brought on for El Ahmadi who was the second player of the game to go off the field injured but was received with a few boos.

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 ten minutes, Villa continued to play attacking football but Pardew's men did not allow any real chances for the away side, aside from a misdirected 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, after another great ball by Agbonlahor after the striker raced past Coloccini.

With five minutes to go, Pardew brought off Gutierrez due to his reckless challenges giving needless free kicks away to Villa as well as earning himself a yellow card, and replaced Jonas with Sylvian Marveaux. Moments later Newcastle's final substitute was made as Demba Ba was replaced with Gabriel Obertan.

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 center circle.

With almost the no time to spare, Yohan Cabaye missed the opportunity to put his side on 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.

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