Two wins in a row at Villa Park now for United and finally the ghosts of 2009 have started to be vanquished. Nearly 3000 travelling Mags saw Alan Pardew’s men put in their most satisfying performance of the season so far and come away worthy winners. A slightly tweaked starting eleven and formation gave us a front three of Remy, Cisse and Ben Arfa and a tighter midfield of Anita, Sissoko and Cabaye, the result of which was quick incisive and attractive football. The speed at which United moved the ball in the midfield allowed them to dominate possession and getting the ball wide to Remy and Ben Arfa early, put Villa on the back foot. After nearly twenty minutes of comfort, Anita’s tenacity gave Remy an opportunity to attack the full back. He jinked right, then left and fired low across the area and Cisse’s shot was either blocked or scuffed depending on who you speak to and Ben Arfa notched probably the simplest goal of his 12 in Black & White. The mercurial Frenchman was a pain in Aston Villa’s backside all afternoon and he took great pleasure in twisting Antonio Luna into all kinds of shapes. When he plays like this, there are few better than him in the league.
Our midfielders were bossing events and Cabaye was given license to roam forward whenever he fancied. I like Cabaye in this position, still a CM but with the opportunity to play further up the pitch allowing him more chances to play his natural game. He didn’t show any signs of a lack of matches and ran himself into the ground all afternoon. He flashed a chance wide late in the first half when maybe a pass to Ben Arfa might have been the wiser choice.
The back four, unchanged from the Fulham game looked assured and comfortable and were rarely threatened by Villa in the first half. Mapou Yanga M’Biwa appeared to have a advanced copy of the match script, so good was his reading of Villa’s attacks, Mathieu Debuchy meanwhile, had his best game for United since arriving from Lille in January. His performance was “ALL ACTION” to the point you would have been forgiven for thinking it was Bruce Willis hurtling up and down our right had side making tackles and running at defenders. Yipee Kayay Mutherfuckers.
A standard Alan Pardew team talk at half time meant that United took their foot off the gas after the restart. Villa threatened more and Agbonlahor was incredibly profligate, wasting Villa’s best chance of the match by failing to tap in from 6 yards. Oh how we laughed. Ben Afra tested Guzan again and United appeared to be getting back into the game. Five minutes later and Christian Benteke was allowed a free run at a corner, Tim Krul decided he could jump through six players to get the ball and the Belgian nodded home. 1-1.
Pardew responded by hooking Remy and introducing Yoann Goufrann. Goufrann needed to put in a performance after two big misses in as many games at SJP and his response was impressive. After a few nice touches and some good hold up play he was rewarded when Ben Arfa cut inside once again. Guzan palmed his shot straight to Goufrann’s feet and he made no mistake this time. Cue mass hysteria in the away end.
United deserved the win on the day and the away fans were something else. Ben Arfa himself paying tribute in his post match interview;
“They shout, GO GO GO, take him on, take him on! You can fly, you go and you try, because it’s a pleasure to play in front of our supporters.” Brilliant. ONWARD!
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Mathieu Debuchy, Fabricio Coloccini, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Davide Santon, Vurnon Anita (Chieck Tiote 74), Yohan Cabaye (Sammy Ameobi 88), Hatem Ben Arfa, Moussa Sissoko, Loic Remy (Yoan Gouffran 63), Papiss Cisse.
Subs Not Used: Rob Elliot, Sylvain Marveaux, Steven Taylor, Paul Dummett.
Booked: Yanga-Mbiwa, Cabaye, Debuchy, Gouffran.
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