Newcastle overcame a lackadaisical first half today when they went one goal down after 22 minutes, but came back strongly in the second half and another simply magnificent Ben Arfa goal – this time with his right foot – got the point for Newcastle but we pressed so much after the goal that the lads were unlucky not to get all 3 points.
The game started out very even with Newcastle passing the ball about well, but then out of the blue Aston Villa went ahead with a headed goal from Ciaran Clark.
Ciaran Clark seemed to be completely unmarked six yards out and he easily headed the ball past Tim Krul, from a good left wing cross from Bannan.
It was poor defending from Newcastle, and Alan Pardew will hardly be happy at that goal.
Then after 37 minutes Danny Simpson went off with a hamstring injury, and 18 year-old Gael Bigirimana came on for his Premier League debut in central midfield and Vurnon Anita went to right back.
This was the second player we had lost with injury in successive games, with Ryan Taylor out for up to six months with a serious knee injury – our squad is already being stretched.
And then Newcastle equalized after 59 minutes – and what a simply fantastic goal it was from Ben Arfa – who from 25 yards out and with the ball on his right hand side rifled the ball home with his right foot – what a player this lad is – and just what Newcastle needed in this game – a goal out of absolutely nothing and it gave Guzan no chance at all.
It was almost against the run of play but the goal put Newcastle right back into this game, when they looked to be struggling.
Ben Arfa after scoring brilliant goal for the Magpies
And the Villa defenders made sure he didn’t move to his left, so he took the opportunity and hit it with his right foot like an absolute bullet – pure technique and brilliance from the Frenchman.
Newcastle then went all out for the winner, but it just wouldn’t come, and Aston Villa had their chances too, with Stephen Ireland missing a sitter after 80 minutes.
And four minutes into injury time Yohan Cabaye almost got the winner for Newcastle, when his free kick was only just kept out by Villa goalkeeper Guzan, who had a good game this afternoon in place of the dropped Shay Given.
But with Newcastle’s second half display it will be looked on as 2 points dropped, but it looks like we now have Danny Simpson out injured along with Ryan Taylor.
18 year-old Gael Bigirimana came on for the injured Simpson and played very well, and he looked a first team player this afternoon – this lad could well become a Newcastle great – and he can be very happy with his Premier League debut so soon after arriving on Tyneside.
Disappointing result for Newcastle this afternoon, but a good display in the second half and with a bit of luck we could have had all 3 points.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson (Gael Bigirimana 37), Fabricio Coloccini (c), Steven Taylor, Davide Santon; Hatem Ben Arfa, Vurnon Anita, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez (Sylvain Marveaux 85); Demba Ba (Gabriel Obertan 87), Papiss Cisse
Substitutes: Steve Harper, Mike Williamson, Dan Gosling, Romain Amalfitano
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Brad Guzan; Eric Lichaj, Ciaran Clark, Ron Vlaar, Matthew Lowton; Karim El Ahmadi (Charles N’Zogbia 73), Barry Bannan; Brett Holman, Stephen Ireland, Andreas Weimann (Gabriel Agbonlahor 64); Darren Bent (c)
Substitutes: Shay Given, Graham Burke, Nathan Baker, Derrick Williams, Jordan Bowery
Referee: Lee Probert