Newcastle United finally recorded their first away win of the season, as goals from Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye inspired the Magpies to a 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park. A penalty from Christian Benteke early in the second half wasn’t enough to earn the home side anything and now Paul Lambert’s side are in the relegation zone.

Much of the talk before the game surrounded Newcastle’s vast French contingent and it proved to be the difference between the sides, as both goals involved one of Newcastle’s French stars. The first was made by a superb pass from debutant Moussa Sissoko, whilst the second was a stunning strike from Cabaye, his second in as many games.

Alan Pardew started with two of his new arrivals, with Sissoko partnering Cabaye and James Perch in midfield. Yoan Gouffran was the other to get the nod, as he played on the right wing with Cisse in his favoured centre forward role.
Sissoko – tipped to fit into the Premier League perfectly due to his playing style – started brilliantly, showing off his physical nature with an all-action display.

And it was the former Toulouse man who created the first goal, stealing the ball in midfield before sliding a perfectly weighted pass to Cisse. The big January signing from last season has been struggling for form lately, but showed no signs of any lack of confidence as he slotted past Brad Guzan to give the visitors the lead.

The home side – who were looking to avoid their third defeat in seven days – almost hit back within minutes when former Newcastle winger Charles N’Zogbia went close with a long range strike. The winger latched onto a knockdown from Benteke and his shot looked as though it was going in before smacking the upright.

However, that moment of quality was out of keeping with the way Villa were playing. Unable to keep possession and lacking any real threat going forward, it was no surprise that Newcastle were controlling proceedings.

The Geordies capitalised on their dominance in spectacular fashion on the half hour, when Ron Vlaar thought he had done enough with a headed clearance. The loose ball landed at the feet of Cabaye, who controlled nicely before unleashing a stunning strike into the top corner and giving the travelling Toon Army real belief that they could win on the road for the first time this season.

A chorus of boos rang around Villa Park at half-time and Paul Lambert made a double substitution at the break. Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann came on and it was the former who gave Villa a sniff of a comeback just four minutes after coming on.

The pacy winger won the ball ahead of Mathieu Debuchy, who clipped Agbonlahor as he tried to clear and referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Benteke stepped up and comfortably sent Tim Krul the wrong way for his third goal in three games.

Much like the Reading game, Newcastle attempted to hang on to their slender lead and close out for three points as they introduced more defensive players midway through the second half. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa came off the bench to make his debut, while Vurnon Anita replaced Gouffran.

It looked like the negative tactics might backfire too, as Villa grew in confidence and threatened with more regularity. Weimann had a great chance to equalise when he got in behind the Newcastle defence, but Krul pulled off a stunning one-handed save to deny the striker.

Nathan Baker had a late chance scrambled away by some desperate Geordie defending but Newcastle successfully closed out the win and eased their relegation worries. They are now four points clear of the drop zone and the victory sends Villa into the bottom three in place of Wigan, who battled to a draw against Stoke.

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  1. Sheriff Hill Lad

    Pardew's got the players now but his tactics are ???? A one goal lead can be wiped out with one silly mistake, keep the ball up their end and attack!


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