ASTON VILLA 2 NEWCASTLE UNITED 0
ASTON VILLA: Sorensen, Hughes, Mellberg, Ridgewell,Whittingham, Davis, McCann, Barry, Moore, Angel, Agbonlahor.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Delaney, Laursen, Hendrie, Djemba-Djemba.
NEWCASTLE UTD: Given, Carr, Bramble, Moore, Babayaro (Luque 45),Solano (N’Zogbia 45), Parker, Emre (Butt 56), Duff, Milner,Martins.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Taylor.
2-0 down, changes had to be made, by why send out Stephen Taylor to warm up during the break … then send on Albert Luque? Why was ‘Charlie Boy’ on the bench when James Milner wasn’t up to the task of facing the club he so nearly joined in the summer. And why play Barayaro at all, when he put in his usual ‘away day’ performance and failed to defend, which surely is the priority of any full back?
Luke Moore and Juan Pablo Angel took Villa to second spot in the Premiership, and had me wondering just what we can expect this season from Roeder. There was a time when we seemed to have Martin O’Neil in the bag, but something stopped the Irishman from coming to Tyneside. Some say he didn’t want to work with Fat Fred, but only one man knows the truth behind that. But one thing is certain, O’Neil is streets ahead of Roeder as a manager, and perhaps that is Villa’s gain … our loss.
Perhaps this proposed Newcastle take over could be a blessing, because billionaire and new club owner Lerner was given a rousing reception by Villa fans when he took his seat in the directors’ box. They seemed perfectly happy, so getting rid of the dastardly duo Shepherd and Doug (who have taken more out of the club than any chairman-ass chairman in the Premiership) could be the best thing to happen.
Newcastle’s misery was complete when new signing Obafemi Martins was carried off on a stretcher after the interval with what looked like a knee injury and long spell out of football. But was later described as ‘a dead-leg’ and only two weeks out at the maximum.
Moore gave Villa the ideal start after only two minutes when Barry was brought down by Scott Parker. The Magpies failed to deal with his floated free-kick from midway in the Newcastle half. The ball eventually broke to Moore on the edge of the box and he steadied himself before planting a low drive past Shay Given into the corner of the net.
Former Villa player Nobby Solano was booed every time he touched the ball but he nearly set up a equaliser for James Milner who had spent last season on loan at Villa Park. Solano’s corner found its way to Milner at the far post but after turning sharply he was unable to keep down his shot, which flew over ex-Mackem Thomas Sorensen’s crossbar.
But Newcastle enjoyed more than their share of possession and Damien Duff was not far off target with a 20-yard drive from the left of the Villa area. With the depth we have in midfield it was hardly surprising they were in the hunt, but you don’t need me to tell you our problems are in defence and attack. One – we gift stupid goals; Two – we struggle to convert chances in front of goal.
After 38 minutes a clinical piece of finishing by Angel doubled Villa’s lead.
The Colombian international timed his run perfectly to seize onto a pass from Gabriel Agbonlahor and get in behind the dozing Titus Bramble before slotting the ball into the corner of the net.
Roeder opted for a double half-time substitution, bringing on Albert Luque and Charles N’Zogbia replacing Solano and Babayaro, and it did stem the Villa attack for a while.
Sorensen went down to cling onto a low drive from Duff after Martins had found him in plenty of space to the left of the Villa area. But the home side retaliated and a floated pass from Barry picked out the run of Angel only for his touch to let him down and enable Bramble to make a vital interception.
Roeder made his third substitution after 56 minutes, Nicky Butt taking over from Emre in midfield, but ‘Sod’s Law’ … Martins, signed for £10million in midweek from Inter Milan, landed awkwardly after an aerial challenge with Liam Ridgewell and was carried off.
That effectively signalled the end of Newcastle’s challenge and in injury-time Moore came close to grabbing a second goal when his cross-shot hit the bar.
Aston Villa 2 Newcastle Utd 0
ASTON VILLA 2 NEWCASTLE UNITED 0