Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Ben Arfa's compatriot could be just as crucial to Newcastle's success this season
8:00am Monday 16th September 2013 in Sport
Full-time: Aston Villa 1 Newcastle United 2
HATEM BEN ARFA may well have been the inspiration behind this stylish Newcastle away victory by scoring one and creating the winner for Yoan Gouffran, but there was arguably a more significant moment in the West Midlands on Saturday.
With two minutes left of this contest, Yohan Cabaye was substituted after an all-action display where he showed glimpses of his self and what he offered to Alan Pardew.
Mindful of the boos he received at St James’ Park against Fulham a fortnight previous, Cabaye hesitated before giving the Toon Army the traditional handclap after he was replaced by Sammy Amoebi.
In turn the large and vocal travelling support responded with their loudest cheer of the day.
Cabaye was starting his first game since effectively going on strike for two matches with plotted moves to Arsenal and PSG breaking down.
But now with his future appearing to be in the North East, Cabaye promises to be a big player this season.
He, along with fellow Frenchmen Ben Arfa and Loic Remy, making his full debut for the club, made life tough for Aston Villa as the trio’s flair and guile proved too much.
Often derided, Newcastle’s French connection appears to be finding its collective feet on the Premier League stage.
“It is almost a French team, a lot of French players, but that is not a bad thing because there is a lot of quality in the French league and that is why English teams sign a lot of players from there,” said Remy.
“Yohan is a good professional, so it was not a problem for him. He was not affected by what happened. That is in the past and he will look to the future. He is staying here, he knows he is staying here, so that will not be a problem at all.
“I have known Hatem for a long time, so I am not surprised by his quality. He can score goals. He can give good things for the team, so I try to help him and he can help me to score as well. We first met a long time ago, we were at school together, at the same academy in Lyon. He is always the same. He is a funny guy, very friendly, sociable, he is the same.
“This kind of player can change a game in a few minutes. Until the end of the game, when we conceded the equaliser, we had confidence in the quality that we have and that shows in the way we scored.”
Ben Arfa had twice dealt Villa warning shots with incisive passes where Papiss Cisse had failed to beat the offside trap but when Newcastle took an 18th-minute lead, it was extremely well executed.
Remy beat Matt Lowton down the left, crossed for Cisse who in turn laid the ball off to Ben Arfa to strike home.
Villa had immediate no answer as United enjoyed plenty of possession in midfield and were close to a second courtesy of spectacular attempts from Cabaye and Remy.
Newcastle United’s Moussa Sissoko and Aston Villa’s Andreas Weimann battle for the ball during Saturday’s clashs at Villa Park
The hosts though could have gone in level had Ciaran Clark not found the side-netting after Tim Krul had missed Lowton’s cross and Andreas Weimann squared the ball to Gabby Agbonlahor after bursting through.
Newcastle themselves could have scored a second when Cabaye shot wide from Moussa Sissoko’s delightful cross and Remy could only fire straight at Brad Guzan after the break.
The game opened up with chances at both ends and the afternoon could have been entirely different had Agbonlahor not missed the target from six yards out from Weimann’s perfect cross.
Newcastle continued to attack with Ben Arfa’s curling effort from the edge of the area well kept out by Guzan before Mathieu Debuchy close with a volley from a Ben Arfa corner in a similar manner to what Paul Scholes used to do for Manchester United.
United though appeared to undo all their hard work when Christian Benteke rose head and shoulders above everyone else to head in Ashley Westwood’s 67th-minute corner.
It looked as if the pendulum had swung especially when Weimann curled just wide.
But Newcastle showed they had character, not just attacking class and it was Ben Arfa at the heart of it.
There did not appear to be anywhere to run when he picked the ball up 16 minutes from time, but he was somehow able to fire in a shot. Guzan spectacularly saved it but sub Gouffran had an easy tap-in as he ran to the gleeful Toon Army.
The game could have been wrapped up moments later when Cisse headed into the side netting from Gouffran’s cross. Half the visiting fans thought it was in. But it mattered little as Pardew’s side closed out a highly-satisfactory win.
Newcastle United substitute Yoan Gouffran celebrates after firing past Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan
Comments are closed on this article.