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A second-half strike from Yoan Gouffran gave Newcastle United their second Barclays Premier League win of the season as they beat Aston Villa 2-1. The substitute struck 17 minutes from time to secure victory for Alan Pardew's men after Christian Benteke had cancelled out Hatem Ben Arfa's early opener.
Villa manager Paul Lambert named an attacking line-up, with Benteke, Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor all included from the start. Loic Remy made his first start for Newcastle after coming off the bench in the 1-0 win over Fulham before the international break, while Yohan Cabaye was named in the starting XI for the first time this campaign.
Newcastle started brightly, going close to taking the lead as Papiss Cisse fired just off target with an acrobatic backheel after good work down the left from Davide Santon. The visitors were rewarded for their early dominance after 18 minutes when Ben Arfa slammed home from point-blank range after Cisse had flicked Remy's left-wing cross into his path.
Both sides continued to push forward following the opener, with Remy at the fore for Pardew's men as his pace caused plenty of problems for the Villa defence. Lambert was forced to adjust his side just before the half-hour when Jores Okore limped off to be replaced by Ciaran Clark.
As they reshuffled, they were almost caught out by Newcastle again on the counter-attack, with the visitors wasting the chance to double their lead when Remy fired over from the edge of the area.
The hosts found their feet shortly before the interval and they were unfortunate not to level, Weimann hitting the side-netting after Tim Krul had failed to deal with a Matt Lowton cross, before Agbonalhor broke through the Newcastle defence, only to shoot well wide. It was Pardew’s side who could have scored the game’s second goal on the stroke of half-time when Cabaye lashed a volley just past a post after collecting a superb pass from Moussa Sissoko.
The second half started in frenetic fashion as Villa pressed in search of an equaliser. Newcastle were struggling defensively and they were lucky not to surrender their lead when Agbonlahor missed with the goal at his mercy following a pin-point cross from Weimann.
The pace of Remy and Ben Arfa was continuing to trouble Lambert's side, the latter denied a second with a curling effort by Brad Guzan’s strong save. Remy was brought off shortly afterwards, with Gouffran coming on in his place, and Newcastle soon conceded the initiative as Benteke levelled matters with a bullet header. The Belgian forward met Ashley Westwood’s excellent delivery to fire home.
However, Newcastle regained the advantage six minutes later and Ben Arfa was heavily involved again. He produced a fierce left-foot shot that Guzan could only parry and Gouffran was on hand to slot into the empty net. That goal stretched the game further, with Cisse and Ben Arfa going close for Newcastle. Fabian Delph almost equalised for Villa late on, but the visitors stood firm.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "We never got going in the first half and that is unlike us, we can't lose goals the way we did.
"We started the second half really well, but the first half we lost a really poor goal and the second one I think was even worse when I watched it back. And then you get back into the game and the ascendancy was with us, but you can’t defend that way."
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew: "We carried a lot of offensive threat. We haven't had enough threat, but we've got it now. Hatem Ben Arfa got a lot of headlines last time he scored against Fulham but I thought he did just okay then.
"He was unplayable (against Villa). Hatem was on fire. He has the ability to hold on to the ball and give us a rest, then burst past one or two players."
|23 Feb 2014||v Newcastle (A)|
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|29 Mar 2014||v Man Utd (A)|
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|03 May 2014||v Hull (H)|