Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 2

Hatem Ben Arfa

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor

At Villa Park



Aston Villa 1 (Benteke 67)

Newcastle United 2 (Ben Arfa 18, Gouffran 73)



Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran struck either side of half-time to hand Newcastle United a 2-1 win away at Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.


The French pair netted either side of Christian Benteke's header to extend the Magpies' unbeaten run to four games in all competitions and give them seven points from 12 in the top flight.


United were well worth the victory at Villa Park, almost entirely dominating the first period before continuing to offer a goal threat after the break.


Papiss Cisse, Yohan Cabaye and Remy could have all added to the scoreline, while Ciaran Clark and Gabriel Agbonlahor were guilty of missing good chances for the hosts.


And manager Alan Pardew will be delighted with his side's impressive performance and first away league win of the 2013/14 campaign.


Newcastle dominated the early exchanges in terms of possession but the closest they came was Papiss Cisse cleverly flicking Davide Santon's centre narrowly wide at the near post.


However, after knocking at the door they finally got their reward in the 18th minute through Ben Arfa.


Remy won the ball on the left and drove into the box, turning Villa full-back Matthew Lowton inside-out before cutting the ball back for Cisse. Under pressure, the Senegalese front man was unable to get a proper connection but the ball fell kindly for Ben Arfa, who smashed it home from close range.


The hosts attempted a response but excellent defending from Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa prevented Christian Benteke getting a shot away, shortly before centre-back partner Fabricio Coloccini blocked an Andreas Weimann effort.


Villa's cause wasn't helped when defender Jores Okore limped off on the half-hour mark, replaced by Ciaran Clark, and Newcastle continued to press, with Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy both off-target with long-range strikes.


With half-time approaching, Villa were almost gifted an equaliser. Having rarely looked threatening in the opening period, goalkeeper Tim Krul failed to get a firm hand on Lowton's deep cross and, thankfully for the Magpies, Clark could only side-foot into the side-netting.


Wiemann then dragged a shot wide when one-on-one but the Magpies had the final say in the first half, with Cabaye's half-volley flashing across the face of goal and inches the wrong side of the upright following a delightful chipped Moussa Sissoko pass.


Villa made a strong start to the second half, forcing a couple of early corners, and Agbonlahor missed a glorious chance to draw them level on 55 minutes.


Having chased a long ball down the right, Weimann picked out his fellow front man with an inch-perfect delivery. Unmarked, Agbonlahor had the goal gaping but somehow failed to hit the target, with the home supporters already cheering an equaliser.


But United were soon on the front foot and Ben Arfa almost grabbed his second of the afternoon minutes later, racing down the right, cutting inside and unleashing a drive that was destined for the far corner until the intervention of Guzan's fingertips.


They threatened from the resulting corner too, with a move straight off the training ground - Cabaye floating the set-piece to the edge of the box, where right-back Mathieu Debuchy connected with a thunderous volley which bounced just wide.


Having spurned their earlier opportunities, Aston Villa got back on terms in the 67th minute. Westwood's hanging corner from the right invited Krul to come and claim but he was beaten by a huge leap from Benteke, who powered home a header.


Were the Magpies deflated by conceding? No chance, as within six minutes they were back in front. Another trademark Ben Arfa run, cut-inside and shot was parried by Guzan and substitute Gouffran was on hand to sidefoot the rebound high into the net, sending 2,800 Geordies wild.


It was almost three with 12 minutes remaining, the visitors breaking at pace and Cisse heading Gouffran's cross into the side netting rather than the back of it.


As the clock ticked away, Fabian Delph threatened with a low shot for Villa but Newcastle held firm to record all three points in the Midlands.



Aston Villa (4-3-3): Brad Guzan; Matthew Lowton, Ron Vlaar (c), Jores Okore (Ciaran Clark 30), Antonio Luna; Karim El Ahmadi (Libor Kozak 67), Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph; Andreas Weimann (Aleksandar Tonev 88), Christian Benteke, Gabriel Agbonlahor


Subs not used: Jed Steer, Yacouba Sylla, Leandro Bacuna, Nicklas Helenius



Newcastle United (4-3-3): Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Vurnon Anita (Cheick Tiote 74), Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye (Sammy Ameobi 88); Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse, Loic Remy (Yoan Gouffran 63)


Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Paul Dummett, Steven Taylor, Sylvain Marveaux



Referee: Mike Dean (The Wirral)


Bookings: Aston Villa - Delph (33); Newcastle - Yanga-Mbiwa (40), Cabaye (57), Debuchy (71)



Attendance: 37,554 (2,800 Newcastle)

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