Aston Villa vs Newcastle match report: Honours even in dull draw at Villa Park
Aston Villa 0 Newcastle 0
Saturday 23 August 2014
It says everything about Aston Villa’s lack of menace yesterday that the most dangerous moment conjured up by a man in home colours came when Roy Keane (below), their new assistant manager, accidentally flung a water bottle straight at manager Paul Lambert’s private parts down in the technical area.
That symbolised the lack of cutting edge from a Villa side who, still missing the injured Christian Benteke, did not manage a single shot on target and owed the point gained against Newcastle United to Brad Guzan’s second-half saves from Daryl Janmaat and Siem de Jong.
Yet to suggest this was a straight rerun of last season’s home woes – when Villa suffered a record 10 defeats in Birmingham – would be unfair as Lambert was quick to point out afterwards. “That was a game that we’d have lost last year,” he said. “It’s a great start for us after the doom and gloom towards the end of last season. We were resolute, had another clean sheet and some really big performances.”
Villa now have four points and their first back-to-back shutouts since last November, following their opening-day win at Stoke. Not a bad start and the home fans who did turn up in the disappointingly low 30,267 crowd – a consequence partly, perhaps, of the early kick-off and the T20 finals taking place at Edgbaston – will have seen a particularly dynamic performance from Alan Hutton on his first appearance at Villa Park since May 2012. Lambert was delighted with both Hutton and his new left-back Aly Cissohko, saying: “I thought he and Cissokho were outstanding.”
It was a day for full-backs to shine given the equally impressive display from Newcastle’s £6m summer recruit Janmaat. A member of Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands World Cup side, he was up and down the right all afternoon and came as close as anybody to breaking the deadlock in the second half when he had a flying header turned over by Guzan and then shot just wide following a surge into the box.
An early run by Janmaat led to the best opening of the first half too when Yoan Gouffran’s deflected shot fell to Rémy Cabella close to goal but the French winger slipped as he shot and the ball trickled wide. With Jack Colback helping Newcastle gain control in midfield in front of watching England manager Roy Hodgson, the visitors looked increasingly likely winners.
“We absolutely dominated the second half,” said Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager. They should have won it but centre-back Mike Williamson – sent off late on for a second booking after obstructing the lively Fabian Delph – missed his kick when unmarked at the back post. Then De Jong, on his debut, failed to beat Guzan with a fierce shot after being put clear by fellow substitute Ayoze Perez. “Willo should have headed it instead of trying the left-foot volley and then Siem had a massive chance,” added Pardew, who has yet to see a Newcastle goal this term. “We’ve got a good solid team and it’s just about getting the goals.”
Lambert could say the same. Villa’s only real threat came in the first period with a Charles N’Zogbia header on to the top of the net and free-kick narrowly wide. He was able to give Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez his debut as a second-half substitute yet what Villa need above all is Benteke, whose anticipated return next month cannot come soon enough.
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
Latest in Sport
Manchester City vs Manchester United combined XI: No place for Yaya Toure... or any United defenders
Sami Khedira transfer news: Arsenal can win the Premier League if they sign Khedira in January, says Perry Groves
Paul Scholes: At last! Some credit for Sam Allardyce
EXCLUSIVE: F1 heading for eastern revolution as new team emerges from Romania
Impressive Kurt Zouma may save Chelsea millions by replacing John Terry
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything