Newcastle United vs Aston Villa Preview

The second game of the season takes place on Saturday night against Aston Villa at St. James’ Park on Saturday evening.

After last week’s great opener against Bolton, hopes are high on Tyneside that Newcastle can start their campaign with two wins in a row for the first time in 10 seasons.

It just so happens that the in 1997-1998 season, Newcastle’s second successive win was against Aston Villa, after beating Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in Shay Given’s debut at St. James’ Park.

Will history repeat itself? – we think so.


Martin O’Neil and Sam Allardyce – tough game coming up but a Newcastle victory is probable

Villa Manager Martin O’Neill has surprisingly not made many captures in the transfer market this summer bringing in only West Ham United duo Marlon Harewood and Nigel Reo-Coker to his squad. In January he did buy Ashley Young, John Carew and Phillip Bardsley.

Martin O’Neill is also pleased to have landed Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson on a season-long loan, but does not expect to ever be able to sign the 21-year-old on a permanent basis. Liverpool have made it very clear they don’t want to sell Scott – but O’Neil is willing to have Carson in goal for him this season. Where that leaves their other goalkeepers Sorenson and Taylor is questionable.

The former Leeds United goalkeeper spent last season on loan with Charlton Athletic and O’Neill thinks he has what it takes to be one of the best keepers in the Premier League.

The Villa had a close game last week at home against Liverpool and came out 2-1 losers in a close game. O’Neil told the Aston Villa web-site:

“We got ourselves back in the game after they took the lead,”

“We tried to play strongly against a very fine side, but didn’t quite have real self belief. I think I have more belief in the team than they have.”

“We’re a young side. We’re in the throes of building a team, but we don’t want to take too long about it.”

O’Neill, always the optimist, is confident his team can revert to the form that closed last season strong on the road, where Villa claimed 11 of a possible 15 points in their final five matches.

Martin went on:

“There is no doubt about it, playing away from home is different from playing at home, where the onus is on you to go and attack,”

“But I think the bit of form we showed at the back-end of last season will give us confidence away from home.”

“The confidence has not been knocked by the defeat against Liverpool.”

There’s no doubt it should be a more difficult game for Newcastle than Bolton – but there again we didn’t expect Bolton to collapse under phenomenal pressure from the new Newcastle in the first hectic and brilliant 45 minutes did we?

This is what Big Sam had to say yesterday:

“My focus, and that of Nigel Pearson, has been on the players’ concentration out of possession.”

“Hopefully, we’ve learned a big lesson from last Saturday’s game.”

“What we did for their goal was our own fault. It came a long way from our corner and that sort of thing becomes very, very costly.”

“Fortunately, this time it didn’t hurt us, but the next time it will. We’ve got to cut that sort of ragged defending out.”

“Not just from defenders, but from midfielders on the edge of the box.”

Sam is right and seems determined to right Newcastle of their poor defensive tendencies of the last several seasons. The goal we conceded last week was not good when we were caught short at the back when Bolton attacked quickly from a Newcastle corner. Those things must be eradicated this season and the sooner the better.

Sam told the Official Newcastle web-site this morning:

“I hope we don’t waste our excellent start,”

“It’s only one game and I’ve told the lads not to get carried away.”

“Everyone will be coming to St.James’ Park expecting us to win but unfortunately that’s not how it works.”

“We have to be professional and we are fully aware of what Aston Villa have to offer.”

“We have to nullify their strengths and expose their weaknesses, like we did so well at Bolton last week.”

Sam has been working with his squad this week in a bid to cut out goals such as the one conceded at Bolton as Sam went on:

“We have talked about that goal and are working on it and if we can get that right defensively we will be OK,”

“We have to use our goalscoring ability at one end and then if someone is going to score against us at the other it’s going to have to be special.”

Newcastle stormed to a 3-1 victory at St. James’ Park last season as James Milner and Dyer scored in the first seven minutes and Villa has not won at Newcastle since a 3-0 rout in the 2003-04 season in which three Newcastle players were sent off and Barry converted twice from the spot in the second half.

We would expect the team to be little changed from that which easily defeated Bolton last week but would expect Enrique, Cacapa and Owen to be introduced as substitutes sometime in the second half, depending how the game is going.

But it’s going to be a very exciting time at St. James’ and anything less than a win will be a disappointment. Somehow we think we’ll beat Villa by the same score as Bolton, 3-1, although we’d be very pleased if we can keep a clean sheet this time.

What do you think.

Let us know – comments always welcome.

16 comments so far

  • Darren

    Aug 17, 2007 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #1

    Well I’ve got two Villa fans staying up here for the weekend so I hope the score is 4-0 to keep them quiet.

  • TOON1

    Aug 17, 2007 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #2

    One of my best mates is a mad villa fan,so really hope we beat them to keep him quiet .Villa havent got the best record at sjp ,2 wins in 15 i think ,so we need to give them a thumping ,got a feeling 2-0 win with martyns and viduka to score .Howay the lads!!!!

  • george t

    Aug 17, 2007 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #3

    have just read a piece from bsa about players coming back from injury. He quite rightly speaks of the notion that players think one training session and they are ready for action immediately,but as he says he will decide along with the medical team and the sports phycoligists . I think this is were we have fallen down over the last few seasons by players rushing back and overiding the previous managers who were not strong enough to resist. That was player power. For me big sam will knock all that nonsence and am really pleased that he has started in such a positive manner. Now for Villa on saturday.

  • Mart

    Aug 17, 2007 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #4

    Nail biting as it might be I’ll take a 1 – 0 – but 3 would be very nice.

    Hoping for a good atmosphere tomorrow – first home game for BSA, extra time for pre-match beers, hopefully a nice warm evening ( or night !)

    Very excited at the prospect. See you there lads n lasses. Dont forget yer scarves….

  • roscoe

    Aug 17, 2007 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #5

    no enrique or cacapa

    only owen new in the squad!!!

  • Luke

    Aug 17, 2007 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #6

    will snap your hand off for 1-0. it’ll be completely different game I feel.

    fortress st james’ and a decent away record and moncur’s your uncle.

    still need a couple of signings!

  • jh

    Aug 17, 2007 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #7

    Think we will win 2-0. Goals from Martins and Taylor. Owen will feature late in the game replacing Martins, who will get the mom award.

    my two pennies – JH Denmark.

  • Chappa

    Aug 17, 2007 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #8

    i think this will be a close call 2 say the least.if we play the entire match like we played in the first half away at bolton i think we will come out on top 😀
    my prediction 3-2 win 4 the toon!
    martins,viduka x2
    haway the lads!!

  • sean

    Aug 17, 2007 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #9

    with the cinfidence that the team has now got and they would have been working on the things that they did bad in the bolton game and cuz we didnt pay on wednesday they wud have been training all week i expect a comfortable 2-0 victory!! BIG SAM’S BLACK WHITE ARMY

  • david veitch

    Aug 17, 2007 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #10

    I don’t know what the score will be although judging by Villas performance against Liverpool it will be much harder.
    As long as we continue to develop our defensive game we will be up near the top in May.
    Martins to make rapid improvement in his play this year with the help of the older lads in the squad.

  • KevinHann

    Aug 17, 2007 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #11

    The game will be very exciting and quite hard to predict. Let’s not forget it is at St. James’ so the expectations will be for us to attack.
    In the recent years it would have been quite predictable – awesome attacking football, the score depending on our luck in front of goal and their successful passes to some of their strikers against Bramble. 3 goals minimum.
    But what about THIS season? Villa don’t have Bramble… Well, you know what I mean. And our defence seems much tougher now. I see the clash between their young attack – Young, Agbonlahor, and then Carew – and our new defence – as the most interesting of the game. This won’t be a “they may score but we will score one more” match. Expect a much more tactical approach – maybe not so spectacular – but not less intriguing.
    Let’s introduce another interesting positional clash – the center of the park. We got Geremi and they got Petrov. I am bulgarian and have kept a very close eye on him during the years. For Martin O’Neill he is what Momo Sissoko is for Benitez – the lucky discovery. In fact, he is a tireless player and could be a great threat when in the right mood. If we let him dominate the middle, we will have lot’s of trouble. But since his first games in the league, he is greatly unsettled and it is obvious. He hasn’t had a decent game for our national team, either (he even quit at one stage and then returned…) – all this speaks of a poor discipline, lack of match winning mood and should have disrupting effect on the team as a whole. He is a rough player, so my suggestion is keep him isolated. They will count on him to play the ball alot – kick him a little, maybe one or two fouls, press him all the way and he will lose his temper.
    Same applies for Barry. Cut his passes out and we will win the midfield!
    Another thing I want you to pay attention to is that our flanks still seem unstable and we may pay for this. Agbonlahor and Young are fast players and Carr and any unnatural LB – even N’Zogbia – would feel under great pressure. Especially Carr. We could oppose by cutting the supply from midfield, keeping them closely marked or cover them with at least two players every inch when they attack. This would take great tactical discipline though. But both Agbonlahor and Young are most dangerous when on counter. So the most important thing is not to give the ball away in attack and quickly change positions from attack to defence.
    I expect us to put them under pressure all around the field from the start and look for an early goal. If we get it, we will fall back and play on the counter, isolating their strongest part of the game.
    No matter how much I want it, I can’t see us winning by a big margin. It will be Big Sam’s first game on St. James’ so he will want the win too hard to let us play attacking football if we take the lead. Maybe a 2-0 or 2-1.
    Please Sam, prove me wrong! 🙂

  • Ed Harrison

    Aug 17, 2007 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #12

    george t – fully agree – we have a piece on that today – Sam is so sensible – no wonder he has a good injury record at Bolton – and soon at Newcastle..

  • Ed Harrison

    Aug 17, 2007 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #13

    Kevin – the air is going to be electric at KO time – don’t be surprised if we run Villa off their feet – but they’ll be ready for the onslaught. A win is a win – we need the 3 points first and foremost.

  • Sean

    Aug 17, 2007 at 6:59 PM

    Comment #14

    will enrique be playing tommorow? why wasn’t he playing last saturday?

  • Ed Harrison

    Aug 17, 2007 at 8:32 PM

    Comment #15

    Sean – Sam is holding Enrique back so he can settle in before he has to play. It does seem he’s had enough time but Sam is being very consistent about giving the players (especially the youngsters – he’s just 21) enough time. On the other hand Cacapa is in the squad – he may even get a run out – methinks he’s probably our best CB when you consider experience etc. 3 great CBs and Bramble nowhere to be seen 😀

  • Iris

    Sep 3, 2007 at 3:04 PM

    Comment #16

    First time here on your site. I am delighted to find your wonderful website online.


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