MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle United v Aston Villa, St. James’ Park, 23/Feb/14, KO: 1:30pm, Premier League.

by • February 21, 2014 • Match previewsComments (18)1633

The bad mood continues and I think those that remained in SJP until the final whistle vs paul LambertSpurs and then slumped out of the Leazes End and down past the back of the East Stand had a very dejected look about them and they were bloody entitled to feel that way too.

Firstly, let’s quickly nail a couple of things. It’s not all 1 person’s fault that we look a very poor side at the moment. Yes, Mike Ashley could have signed a few cheques to maybe tempt a Grenier, a Gomis or a Cabella but that didn’t happen (possibly for a number of reasons, 1 of them being the fact that we involved Joe Kinnear in these matters), but, that doesn’t mean players like Santon can perform the way he has been, or that Sissoko can turn in some absolutely, shit performances, or that Krul can flap the ball 3 times straight to the opponents toe, I’m afraid the players need to be asking some serious questions of themselves for their efforts recently. And then there’s manager and coaching operation too. It’s their job to prepare and motivate players and select the right players in the right systems to win matches, they’re failing in areas under their remit too, currently. Pardew isn’t helping his own credibility by lumping blame on players who only came on when we were already 0-2 down. His treatment of Sylvain Marveaux is fucking pathetic.

I’ll be honest, initially, I wanted fuck all to do with Pardew, but having heard a few of his talk ins and watched us play and I thought, actually, I’ll cut him some slack and started to warm to him, but I last season damaged his reputation, only some of his excuses packed weight, the rest were hot air. But we appointed Kinnear as DoF, I couldn’t help but fear, the next move was to reinstall JFK into the dug out, and that was an absolute no-go. Now he’s gone and I’d say I’v now settled to a position on Pardew where, honestly, I just couldn’t give a fuck about him. If he stays, so be it, if he left tomorrow, then so be it. I don’t envisage Ashley appointing a suitable successor, not least because I suspect he has neither the nous nor the clout to attract one and also, I seriously doubt whether any manager who wasn’t totally desperate would want the job anyway if he did approach them.

But Pardew does need to get a response from the players before it appears he’s taken this lot as far as he can, whether ostracising talent or mismanaging Ben Arfa, whilst Santon can be shit for 18 months and never get dropped or Sissoko can be shit in all bar a handful of games and be made captain, is entirely the right way to go about it, well, errrm, Im not so sure.

But, home to a Villa side 4 points off the relegation places is a genuine opportunity to get back to winning ways. Villa’s January transfer activity was also, solely concentrated on the loans market with Grant Holt and Ryan Bertrand incoming.

Their away form is actually better than their home form, with 4 wins (Arsenal 3-1, Norwich 1-0, Southampton 3-2 & Mackems 1-0), 5 draws (Hull 0-0, West Ham 0-0, WBA 2-2, Liverpool 2-2 & Cardiff 0-0) and just 4 defeats (Everton 2-1, Stoke 2-1, Fulham 2-0 and Chelsea 2-1)

Benteke leads their goal scoring charts with 8. Last ‘away’ time out, they went with a 4-4-2 system. Guzan has established himself as their no.1. Youth and inexperience tends to make up their back 4, Vlaar seems a 1st choice centre half but the rest seem randomly selected to me. Delph and Westwood seem omnipresent in their midfield but the others can vary and up top, Benteke and Abonlahor are their main strike duo.

Team News

Loic Remy’s suspension is over, rumour has it that Tiote and Coloccini will return to the squad although I’d expect the skipper may not come straight back into the team.

Krul, despite being on a run where goals just keep going past him, it’s unlikely we’ll see Elliot displace the Dutchman.

Debuchy should return to right back, although in what frame of mind is open to debate. As for left back, if I never seen Santon in a black and white shirt ever again, then that would suit me fine, but Pardew can’t seem to drop him. Haidara is much better in my opinion. Maybe he’ll end up in midfield again? Taylor, Williamson and Yanga-Mbiwa are available for centre back, Pardew needs to find a combination that can stop the goals raining in.

Tiote should be back to partner Anita however, just who the 3rd centre midfield man should be is a matter for debate. Sissoko is weak as piss, despite being built like a brick shithouse, Gosling is inept, Bigirimana is injured and has regressed. Ben Arfa and Marveaux have guile and technique but maybe lack the temperament for the middle of the park? It appears Padrew fancies neither. Quite how we replace the play making talent of Cabaye really should have been bottomed out before we sold him to PSG.

Up front, Remy returns, Gouffran is an option for a wide slot and Pardew has now decided he fancies Sammy Ameobi. Shola is offering little, Cisse, well, fuck knows what’s going on there and De Jong, well, it’s too early to christen him Rob McDonald II, but I’m having dabs on that description in case I decide it’s ideal for him at the end of the season


R Taylor – Knee – out for the season

Bigirimana – Knee

Possible Team (4-2-3-1)

1.Krul: 2. Debuchy, 5. Williamson, 6. Steven Taylor, 3. Dummett: 4. Santon, 8. Tiote: 7. Sissoko, 10. Anita, 11. Gouffran: 9.Remy:


Elliot, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Sammy Ameobi, De Jong, Shola Ameobi, Cisse

Referee: Martin Atkinson

History vs Villa at SJP

1984/85 Won 3-0. Top of the league after 3 successive wins. A brace from Chris Waddle and one for Peter Beardsley. Attendance, 31,591

1985/86: Won 2-1. United were closing out the season in a safe mid table position, Gascoigne and Billy Whitehurst on target for us, with Tony Daley and Steve Hunt netting for the visitors.  Attendance, 20,435

1986/87: Won 2-1. With both sides threatened by relegation it was United who took the 3 points. A slick finish by Tony Cunningham and a cracking strike from Peter Beardsley were enought to seal the win.  Attendance, 21,224

1988/89: Lost 2-1. Roles reversed this time as we tumbled out of the top flight whilst Villa escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth. O’Brien’ with a consolation goal, but we would not win another game for the rest of the season. Attendance, 20,329

1993/94: Won 5-1. Trailblazing our way into the UEFA cup, we battered Villa with a balst of 5 goals after Stefan Beinlech had the nerve to put them in front. Andy Cole scored goal number 40 for the season, but he’d better that later. Attendance, 32,216

1994/95: Won 3-1 Villa twatted again. Pedro inspirational with a trademark, mazy dribble. but a wicked goal for Barry Venison too. No Europe this time, the Cole Sale knocking that right up. Attendance, 34,637.

Beardsley’s goals here 7 mins 30

1995/96: Won 1-0 Sir Les kept the title dream going for another week at least with a close range header. Attendance, 36,546

1996/97: Won 4-3. An absolute classic. Yorke with a hat trick for 10 men, Villa. Shearer, Ferdinand with two and Steve Howey with our goals. This is really a snap shot of Keegan’s style, “We’ll score more than you.” Attendance, 36,400

1997/98: Won 1-0 Johnny Beresford was on a hot streak of 3 goals in 2 games. He got the winner here with a cracking strike. Attendance, 36,783

1998/99: Lost 1-0 A trip to Wembley in the FA cup was on the horizon, but in the league, we would finish lower-mid table. Shearer ended a league goal drought with a sweet header. The Georgian radge with the winner. Attendance, 36,766

Shearer’s goal 6 mins 30

1999/00: Lost 1-0. The day Uriah Renne lost the plot. Sent Alan Shearer off for fuck all. Julian Joachim struck with the winner. Attendance, 36,376

2000/01: Won 3-0 Season was rounded off with a 3-0 win and mid table secured. Stephen Glass, Carl Cort and an OG accounted for our goals although Gary Speed and Ian taylor were both sent off late on. The day was best remembered for David Ginola, being heckled throughout, being subbed and jeered before half time.  Attendance, 51,506

2001/02: Won 3-0 Remembered for Shearer’s top corner volley past red nose. Bellamy got 2 as well. Attendance, 51,057

Shearer’s goal on 12 mins 12 secs

Bellamy 41 seconds

2002/03 Drew 1-1 In our penultimate home game of the season, Nobby Solano’s sweet free kick was cancelled out by Dion Dublin’s header.  Attendance, 52,015

Nobby’s goal on 5 mins 21

2003/04: Drew 1-1 Dublin again for the visitors but Laurent Robert on target for us.Goblin-faced, cunt, Gavin McCann saw red.  Attendance, 51,975

Robert’s goal here on 2 mins 32

2004/05: Lost 0-3. Grim day this. Firstly, we’d fallen behind to an early Juan Pablo Angel goal. Now, seeing as he scored about as often as I did on a Saturday night (I am far from prolific) then you get the picture, Steven Taylor was dismissed for deliberate handball and Gareth Barry who scored from the spot. He scored another pen to make it 3-0 before Dyer and Bowyer had a scrap. Thankfully, Villa packed in and we went home cheesed off. Attendance, 52,306

2005/06: Drew 1-1 Shearer’s pen was wiped out by McCann and Barry fluffed a penalty this time. Attendance, 52,267

2006/07: Won 3-1 Roeder would guide us to mid-table and a 3-1 win over Villa would help that. Milner and Dyer hit early goals before Ashley Young pulled one back. Sibierski settled it late on  Attendance, 49,201

2007/08: Drew 0-0. Fat Sam’s era of science Attendance, 51,411

2008/09: Won 2-0. A mini spell of happiness in a season that would end in relegation at Villa Park. Attendance, 44.567

2010/11: Won 6-0. Revenge for the Villa park humiliation with a 6-0 spanking at SJP.A hat trick for Andy Carroll, 2 for Nolan and 1 for Barton. Carew missed a penalty. Attendance, 43,546

2011/12: Won 2-1 Cisse’s debut and he hit the winner with a sweat left goot shot. Ba had put us in front only for Keane to equalise.  Attendance, 48,569

2012/13: Drew 1-1. It took a Hatem Ben Arfa rocket to spare our blushes as a young Villa side looked like taking all 3 points. Attendance, 48,245

Aston Villa Fanzines

In a forum style format, we have @Heroes and Villains’

More online dealies here at Vital Villa

Danger Men

Benteke and Abohlahor


0-2. Can’t see us scoring at the minute. Love to be proved wrong and win 3-0 but I can’t see it.



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18 Responses to MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle United v Aston Villa, St. James’ Park, 23/Feb/14, KO: 1:30pm, Premier League.

  1. Keiron Young says:

    Is it fair to say you’re not fans of Santon and Sissoko, Chris? I know Santon has struggled defensively but he is good with the ball and can play. I agree Sissoko has been poor in many games mind yet am I alone in not questioning his work rate?
    It’s frustrating watching out of form players but I think we have to be careful not to demonise them collectively. Cisse was hung, drawn and quartered earlier in the season whilst Shola was lauded because he put in a few decent displays. Of course there are grounds for criticism but I just think so much is due to confidence and not so much a lack of effort. Having said that, I’m dismayed by Ben Arfa’s attitude. He’s a player I love to watch but when he’s a stone overweight (all season) in the fastest league in the world, well you just wished he’d take a leaf out of Gouffran’s book.
    As for De Jong, I watched him doing shooting practice before the spurs game. 6 shots, 4 off target,no goals. It’s early days…

    • Chris Betts says:

      Yes it’s fair to say Im not a fan of either of those 2 players. Santon appears to developed a niche for himself as a man who can carry the ball, 30/40 yards down the left flank, before cutting onto his right foot, to expertly give the ball away. His defending is awful. If either of the 2 Milan teams are serious about wanting him, then never mind snatching their arm off, I’d leave nothing but bits of ligament dangling from the shoulder. He’s fucking shit.

      Sissoko….. Dear me, is their a need to have a man in the team who’s sole job appears to be to stumble into opposition players and give the ball away? Maybe I’m missing something?

      Cisse has completely lost his form, but it’s not a recent thing. He’s been poor since returning to pre-season training for the 12/13 season. People said he just needs a goal to go in off his arse and he’ll have a streak, he got it was WBA last season and nowt happened. Then they said, he’ll hit a wonder goal and then he’ll be off and running, he got one vs. Southampton, nowt changed. He’s had plenty opportunities, but he’s just totally lost whatever it was that he had.

      Shola, has given as much as he can for Newcastle, put his body on the line and has been brave enough to take responsibility at crucial times, unfortunately, as a top flight striker, his time has gone.

      I love Ben Arfa, Im not even convinced there’s a weight issue there, he doesnt look fat to me, even though the cool kids are all saying it. but something isn’t right there. I like Gouffran as a wide player, I don’t think he’ll ever make a Premier League centre forward, but I like his attitude when he’s out wide.

      As for De Jong….. Well, let’s just hope he get’s better eh?

      • Keiron Young says:

        I know what you’re saying about Santon, Chris yet I think it’s still harsh. He doesn’t always give the ball away in forward positions, positions he often works himself. When we play one up top he also doesn’t have many options when he gets into attacking positions so he often cuts inside and squares it. He also not as bad a defender as people make out but like so many at the minute, he’s nowhere near top form.

        Cisse looks to have shot his bolt but you know he scores against Stoke and gets dropped again…Shola, body on the line? He’s rocked up when not fully fit and played like he’s not fully fit. Truth is Shola should be nowhere near our starting eleven. It’s not that I don’t like him as a guy and I’ll be cheering him on in the world cup but he has no pedigree in the premiership, at least Cisse has scored those goals and even last season notched what? 12 in all competitions? Tough ask for Cisse to find form this season when it’s clear the manager and the support have no faith in him.
        Anyway don’t worry we’ll be spending at least £60 million in the summer to ‘rebuild’ the squad.

  2. Tom Bates says:

    Good article, but parts of the history v Villa make no sense? Santon certainly needs dropping. 85-86, four goals but we won 2-1? And 98-99, I think I went to that game if it was under Gullit,we won 2-1, though we might have lost 1-0 at Villa Park, might have been Solanos full debut?

    • Chris Betts says:

      ……. Erm….. they were this week’s deliberate mistakes (you can;t get away with owt these days)….. well spotted, this week’s prize is, you get to buy me a pint and tell me to get my facts right in future………. *Turns and threatens (with a shakey fist) the monkey I use to type this shite out*

  3. anton says:

    I would agree with Keiron – I really dislike these sort of vague criticisms around lack of passion/effort. To me, these terms mean nothing: there is bog-all point in employing triers who will run up and down the field for 90mins and will slide and jump into tackles (Alan Smith anyone?).
    We need a bunch of well-trained, well-drilled players and a coach who can put together a plan to counter the opposition and who can communicate this plan to his players. This is not rocket science.

    We lined up against Sunderland at the SoS with no attackers. We failed.
    We tried to outpass a £200m team (Tottenham). We failed.
    We tried a counter-attacking strategy playing at home against a weakened Cardiff. We failed.

    There is nothing weird about any of these results – we just played to our weaknesses instead of our strength and we lost. As a result, our players are losing faith in the manager and this generates:
    – Ben Arfa-style resentment and petulance (he is already starting to resemble Eric Cartman, so he looks like he is about to start screaming “screw you guys, I’m going home”)
    – Sissoko/Santon syndrome of over-egging the pudding: they are trying so hard, they are not doing the basics right
    – Marveaux and Debuchy are now lost souls: potential football power-houses, but their nerves are shot.

    And the truth is that getting the heads of these guys’ straight is Pardew’s job.

    • Chris Betts says:

      I’d like to think I’m questioning their ability more than I am their attitude per se. However, during the latter stages of the Spurs game, I think it was quite apparent that only Dummett and Krul were still carrying out their duties in a professional manner, the rest had knocked off.

      Yes, there are arguments about whether holding centre mid, is an appropriate place to play Ben Arfa, but his effort/attitude was questionable at best (and he’s my favourite player)

      Marveaux could/should be a real asset to our team, Pardew has failed with him, badly!

  4. Charles Scott says:

    Pundits agree that likes of Kevin Keegan and Bobby Robson had the knack to get more out of a player, something Pardew probably isn’t good at. It could be difficult to find a willing and better manager to come to the Toon under the MFA regime.

    Since MFA cashed in on Cabaye the supporters, players and most of the staff are demoralised and lacking confidence simply because they know we can never compete and strive to do better in the league position at the end of the season or get silverware or champions league. About 7 players missing from the Cardiff FA cup game probably done on purpose by MFA so we exit the cup early. The good players leave without a replacement, thus NUFC can’t climb the ladder. Shearer, Bernie Slaven and Malcolm McDonald condemning MFA actions, saying other clubs in the premier have a replacement lined up.

    Sadly I don’t see MFA leaving while the money rolls in from FREE advertising sports direct and from the club profits.

    • Chris Betts says:

      Charles, I think you’re spot on. Ashley will not look to kick start his exit from this investment until he feels the time is right, not when a few disgruntled Newcastle fans are shouting sweary songs about him.

      And right now, the money is simply too good and too easy to let someone else have it. Add that to the advertising platform he has, he’d be a fool to want out before the TV money dries up

  5. STEPHEN says:

    Spot on re Pardew. Three years on from taking over from Hughton and he has taken us no further forward, it’s his team and his responsiblity to get whats available to him up for each game. He has overseen the departures of strong characters like Nolan and Barton, players who despite their faults are leaders on the pitch and do not hide. No-one has replaced them, more difficult it is to replace players of the calibre of Cabaye than it is Nolan and Barton. We need players like them two at this time.

    Three years to assemble a squad fit for purpose no matter what the restrictions on him from above. He is responsible for that ‘Derby’ 3-0, it was his team, his tactics, his instructions and his motivation that failed miserably.

  6. Bob says:

    Agree on Pardew. One good season, one bad and so far one good in 1st half of season then crap in 2nd. As far as Cisse is concerned that, to me, is down to Pardew. Preferring Ba when we all knew he would be off, playing Cisse on the wing then keeping him out of pre-season. As he is (still, so far) “our” player and only striker who is likely to be here next season then I would play him every game now in an effort to get his confidence back. Shola is away (rightly), Remy is unlikely to sign, De Jong – who knows? Once we get a few more points I would also be inclined to drop Remy unless he is prepared to commit. Why should we help to drive his price up for QPR and keep him match fit for Arsenal, or whoever. A lot of the players have gone backwards under Pardews coaching and I tend to agree with one of your scribes who wrote about this recently.

    • David Rutherford says:

      If Pardew had anything about him he would have dropped Santon and Sissoko about a month ago. Instead, what does he do? Puts one of them – a player going through a woeful run of form – in an unfamiliar position and gives the other one – perhaps our worst player in the derby – the captain’s armband. Just like last
      season when he consistently picked Tiote and Jonas despite both playing the worst football of their career. I’ve defended Pardew a lot in the past but Jesus, does he actually watch the same games as us?

  7. gavnufc85 says:

    Ben Arfa is by far and away the biggest talent at NUFC. I cannot see why Pardew can’t use a system to utilise HBA where he doesn’t have to defend, especially as Gouffran gives so much as a wideman. Just play him off the frontman, especially at home. That’s what people pay too see.

    Sissoko has such a heavy touch, and Pardew again has no idea where to play him. Santon is crippled with no confidence, as is Cisse, which is unsurprising behind behind Shola in the pecking order.

    Defensively, Steven Taylor is still the player he was at 18, a prime example of unfulfilled potential and a total liability. Mbiwa needs games, he’s captained in the Champions League but obviously totally undervalued by our illustrious leader, again confidence shot. He’s also been unlucky being brought into the line of fire when the chips are down, remember against Liverpool he was class up until the red card.

    Sick of hearing the clamour for Marveaux. Hes been Pardewed aswell but obviously isn’t cut out for the PL, remember he arrived 3 years ago now and has produced nothing of note.

  8. STEPHEN says:

    Pardew is banging on about the Tottenham defeat, fuck that man ! yes it was not pleasant but what about Sunderland Pardew ? A disgrace and WE’VE got to live with the fucker for god knows how long. Tottenham 4-0, so what man, that’ll be forgotten at the start of next season. Sunderland won’t. Pardew is totally out of touch too. Trying to save his own hide because he knows he’s on the ropes now.

    There is only so much Ashley can be blamed for. The owner is probably right not to give him money to spunk, £9m on a centre forward who was a goal machine and who Pardew has turned to shit !

    • David Rutherford says:

      Not sure about that – as much as I think Pardew’s full of shit and tactically inept, let’s not forget the only reason he’s still here is because of the owner. Everything wrong with the club is ultimately down to Ashley.

  9. STEPHEN says:

    There are plenty of shit owners in football and ofcourse our manager is working under one of the worst. However it was not Ashley’s fault that Pardew failed to have the players available to him ready to compete with Sunderland. It is acknowledged that we have beeter players than Sunderland, that performance is unforgiveable. Our biggest game and the manager failed miserably, (for the third time in a row i may add)

    Pardew has had three years to shape a set up and squad that granted has not cost the fortunes of others but that does not excuse the lack of coaching, tactics, application and motivation that is all too evident for considerable periods. Three years in charge, he’s a lucky man some Managers get weeks now. Three years and what progress has he made on where Hughton had us ?

    • David Rutherford says:

      I agree with everything you’ve said about Pardew but I still blame Ashley because any owner with an ounce of sense or ambition (or indeed one who hadn’t handed their manager a belief-defying 8 year contract) would have sacked him last season.

  10. andytaylor says:

    Alan Pardew is doing the best he can with the players at his disposal and the fact that we are 8th in the premier league is in my book a great feat,now that we have got a win will boost the confidence of the team and I am sure that they will go to hull and come away with 3pts,.