Evening all! The team news has just reached us so let's waste no time...
NEWCASTLE XI: Krul; Debuchy, S.Taylor, Coloccini, Santon; Perch, Cabaye; Gouffran, Sissoko, Gutierrez; Cisse
We're actually still waiting on the hosts' starting lineup but let's take a closer look at that Newcastle outfit. Alan Pardew
makes four changes to the side that lost to Reading last time out. Most notably, there are debuts for Moussa Sissoko
and Yoan Gouffran
. Steven Taylor also returns to the centre of defence alongside Fabricio Coloccini, with James Perch earning a starting berth too. The four to miss out are Mike Williamson, Vurnon Anita, Shola Ameobi and Sylvain Marveaux. The latter doesn't even make the substitutes' bench because of a slight knock.
VILLA XI: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett; Baker, Westwood, Bannan, N’Zogbia; Benteke, Bent
The headline news for Villa then is that both Christian Benteke and Darren Bent
start up front. Lambert knows the importance of tonight's game and has gambled on Bent to find his shooting boots.
The two substitute benches are as follows:
Villa: Given, Ireland, Lichaj, Holman, Agbonlahor, Weimann, Bowery
Newcastle: Harper, Yanga-Mbiwa, Williamson, Bigirimana, Anita, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi
Perhaps the most notable name of the 14 players in the dugout is Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. He has been unable, like Sissoko and Gouffran, to earn an instant start under Pardew.
Now that we've rounded up the team news from tonight's match, let me point you in the direction of tonight's other action. There are three other Premier League games and we, of course, have live text coverage of each one. For Stoke vs. Wigan with Barney Corkhill, click here
. Man City vs. QPR with Matt Law is here
and Sian Cowper is all over Sunderland vs. Swansea here
As always, we'll keep you up to date with all the goals as they go in at those matches. All four matches, including this one, are 7.45pm kickoffs.
Right, let's delve a little deeper into the struggling duo on show tonight. Last week was certainly one to forget for Villa as they lost out 4-3
on aggregate to Bradford of League Two! A place at Wembley awaited in the League Cup final but it's now Bradford who will face Swansea for the League Cup. They couldn't turn things around when visiting Championship side Millwall in the fourth round of the FA Cup either, going down 2-1
Newcastle aren't doing much better themselves. They've had a 10-day rest since surrendering
a 1-0 lead at home to Reading on January 19. They didn't feature in FA Cup action as they were knocked out by Brighton in round three. Since signing an eight-year contract with the Magpies, Alan Pardew
has won just three of 18 since (W3 D4 L11).
Briefly away from our feature game, Harry Redknapp has strangely named two goalkeepers on the bench for tonight's game against Manchester City. Does he plan to sneak one or both of them on? Gary Lineker, who returned to Twitter
this week, sees it differently: "Harry with the old 2 keepers on the bench trick. 'Mr Chairman we have to strengthen, just 2 days left'?" Ha!
If you click here
to see our Premier League form guide, you'll notice that Newcastle and Villa sit 18th and 19th respectively, with Lambert's former club Norwich the only worse team at the moment. A relegation battle
was perhaps expected for Villa this term but Newcastle's fall from grace after last season's fifth-place finish has been quite spectacular. The Magpies haven't been helped by almost constant injuries at the back and with their top scorer Demba Ba now a Chelsea player, it's hard to see them escaping the clutches of a relegation battle
However, Pardew can call upon a first-choice back four tonight with Taylor returning from an injury he sustained in November and skipper Coloccini now fully commited to the cause after expressing his desire to leave.
Coloccini's decision to stay could impact on Yanga-Mbiwa's chances of asserting himself in the first team. I've heard only good things about the 23-year-old who signed
a lengthy five-and-a-half year deal last week.
Much has been made of Newcastle's so-called French revolution and Guardian journalist Daniel Taylor has just revealed on Twitter that there is a press representative of France's biggest sports paper, L'Equipe, at Villa Park tonight.
PREDICTION! With just five minutes until the off, it's time for my thoughts. I actually expect quite an open game and am predicting goals. 2-2.
REFEREE WATCH: Tonight's man in charge is Mike Dean.
Newcastle get us underway.
Sissoko and Gouffran have already got their first touches in English football. The latter almost headed into the path of Cisse but Vlaar nicked the ball away.
Newcastle have had the majority of the early possession but it's Villa who almost spring the trap. Benteke goes down under the challenge of Taylor but Dean allows play to go on and Bent almost collects the ball in behind.
Newcastle's new number seven Sissoko decides to let fly from 30-odd yards but that's not so good. Swerving away high and wide.
Nearly an opening for Newcastle as Vlaar's clearance hits his own man Clark but Gutierrez can't get a shot in on goal.
Still no goals in the other three Premier League matches either. Stale start tonight! 'mon the goals.
Sissoko shows off his range of passing by clipping it over the top for Cisse but the linesman's flag goes up straight away. Replays show that the Senegalese may have actually just been on. Tight call.
First real chance of the match for Villa. N'Zogbia steals the ball in midfield and frees Benteke down the left. The big Belgian sends a cross low into the middle and it strikes a sliding Coloccini. The Villa fans call for a penalty but it seems to have struck the Argentinian's chest.
SAVE! The match has suddenly gone end-to-end and it's Santon who forces the first save of the match. The Italian cut in from the left and lashed goalwards but it wasn't good enough to beat Guzan low to his left.
GOAL! Villa 0-1 Newcastle (Cisse)
The Magpies lead and it's a tidy finish from Cisse but he owes it all to Sissoko! Santon was brought down in midfield and the new signing took up the ball before threading an inch-perfect, defence-splitting pass for his number nine. Cisse only needs one touch to get the ball in front of him before slotting under Guzan into the net.
OFF THE POST! This is an unbelievable strike from N'Zogbia. Benteke wins the header and it bounces across the pitch before N'Zogbia takes on the bouncing ball first time. His volley is as crisp as one could ask for and it zips past Krul but smacks off the post. Would have been one of the goals of the season.
Slightly overzealous challenge from Debuchy but he did get the ball and Dean rightly awards no free kick.
Goal at the Britannia! Stoke take the lead against Wigan as Ryan Shawcross hooks home.
Neat link-up between the two Frenchman Sissoko and Debuchy allows the former to get in a cross but he can't pick out Cisse in the middle.
GOAL! Villa 0-2 Newcastle (Cabaye)
WHAT. A. GOAL. I said earlier that if N'Zogbia's had gone in then that would have been goal of the season, well, this one rivals it. Gutierrez's cross from the right is headed out by Vlaar and it falls straight to Cabaye. He takes one touch with his right foot before volleying the ball into the far corner from 25 yards. Wonderful, wonderful goal.
Free kick for Newcastle, very dangerous position. Cabaye will fancy it...
The Frenchman disappointingly bends it into the wall. The ball pops out to Gouffran down the left and he turns well to earn space before swinging in a peach of a cross. Unfortunately for the visitors, there's no one there to put it in.
A nice stat from @OptaJoe on Twitter about Mr Cabaye: "5 - No player has scored more Premier League goals from outside the box since August 2011 than Yohan Cabaye (5). Missile."
SHOT! Villa look for a way back into it as Lowton swings over a cross that Benteke chests down and tries to volley goalwards from a tight angle. He hits it far too hard though and I think someone just caught it now in row Z.
YELLOW! The first booking of the game goes to N'Zogbia for late barge on Cabaye. Stupid challenge.
Soon after, Sissoko stayed down after an aerial collision in the Villa area but he's now back up on his feet and seems OK. Breathe a sigh of relief, Newcastle fans.
Two minutes added on at the end of the first half.
Villa win a free kick on the left and it's a chance for Bennett to put in a good delivery. The young left back can't do so though as his floater is plucked out of the air by Krul.
Newcastle go down the other end and Gouffran drags his shot slightly after being afforded space from 25 yards.
HALF-TIME: Villa 0-2 Newcastle
Boos ring out at Villa Park as Mike Dean brings the opening 45 to an end. It's the same old story for sorry Villa but Pardew will be delighted with his side's performance.
It's amazing that Newcastle are the only team in the top five tiers of English football yet to win an away game in the league. They lead 2-0 thanks to an accomplished Cisse finish that was down to Sissoko's eye-of-the-needle pass and Cabaye's beautiful volley.
Here are the three other half-time scores from tonight's matches in the Premier League:
QPR 0-0 Man City
Stoke 1-0 Wigan
Sunderland 0-0 Swansea
The only other goal has come at the Britannia and that was from Ryan Shawcross in what I hear is a scrappy affair in Staffordshire.
to read our half-time reports from the games tonight.
Villa get the second half underway. Lambert has made two changes at the break, with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann coming on for Darren Bent
and Joe Bennett.
SHOTS! Villa have started the second half brilliantly as Weimann and Benteke both test Krul.
PENALTY TO VILLA! Debuchy adjudged to have tripped Agbonlahor.
GOAL! Villa 1-2 Newcastle (Benteke pen.)
It's been a super start to the second period for Villa and they already have one back. A deep cross is collected by Agbonlahor and, with his back to goal, he tumbles under challenge from Debuchy. It's an awfully soft decision from Dean as Agbonlahor just seemed to crumble under a bit of pressure. Benteke takes the spot kick and sends Krul the wrong way by putting it in the bottom left corner. Game on!
BOOKING! Gutierrez becomes the first Magpie to be shown yellow for getting a little too irate. He is claiming that he was studded but Dean doesn't want to know and books him for remonstrating too much.
Cabaye's free kick down one end is a peach but just misses a Newcastle head, with Guzan holding well. Villa romp down the other end and Lowton's searching through ball finds the run of Benteke but Krul just about gets there in time to get a touch on the ball to push it towards the corner flag.
Goals elsewhere! There's been a quick couple of goals at the Britannia as first Stoke move two clear thanks to Peter Crouch before James McArthur pulls one back for Wigan straight away. Follow that match with Barney Corkhill /football/stoke-city/live-commentary/live-commentary-stoke-2-1-wigan_66612.html>here.
CHANCE! So close to a Villa equaliser! Benteke breaks clear down the left, cutting back onto his right foot before picking out Weimann on the right of the area with a fantastic pass. Weimann takes one touch before volleying low but it's brilliantly kept out by Krul. What a turnaround in this game.
BOOKING! Villa goalscorer Benteke is cautioned for a tough tackle. He's really putting himself about now.
Another goal at the Britannia and it's Wigan who have come from two behind to draw level as Franco di Santo finds the net. Can Villa repeat the same feat and overturn a two-goal deficit?
YELLOW! Yet another booking and this time it's Villa's Baker who is noted in the book for a late tackle on Debuchy.
Newcastle sub: Shola Ameobi comes on for James Perch. Expect Sissoko to drop a little deeper to help out Cabaye.
Villa continue to look threatening as Bannan picks out Weimann with a fizzed pass. The Austrian takes a touch before laying it out wide for Lowton. The young right-back can't beat the first man with his cross though and it's out for a corner, of which nothing comes of it.
Benteke thinks he's missed a golden chance but luckily for him, the flag was up. It was a cracking cross from Lowton and somehow the Belgian didn't get a touch on it from six yards out.
Newcastle sub: Yoan Gouffran
's debut comes to an end as the more defensively-minded Vurnon Anita takes his place.
BOOKING! Mike Dean once again produces a card the same colour as his shirt for Lowton's lunge on Santon. That's four Villa players in the book now.
(If you give this page a quick manual refresh, you'll be able to see a picture of Sissoko wearing the black-and-white stripes for the first time.)
Newcastle sub: Just as I say that, the number seven has his night ended by Pardew. He is replaced by another new boy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa - also making his debut.
OFF THE LINE! So close to an equaliser for Villa! Westwood's corner is met by Baker and his header is powerful and low but cleared off the line by Gutierrez. Moments later, Lowton's cross is within inches of finding Benteke's head at the back post. Can Lambert's side nick an equaliser?
Amazingly, still no goals at Loftus Road or the Stadium of Light. It remains QPR 0-0 Man City, Sunderland 0-0 Swansea.
Guzan lumps a free kick into the area and it almost reaches Benteke at the back post. Taylor didn't really have his eye on the ball and was almost undone there.
BOOKING! Yet another yellow card, this time for Ameobi's nasty studs-up lunge on Vlaar. The tackling in this game has been, well, rugged.
Five minutes added on!
Villa are now restricted to hoofing it forward towards Benteke. Newcastle dealing well with it at the moment.
This time the Belgian does win a header and nods it goalwards but unfortunately for the expectant home fans, no-one gets on the end of it.
It's finished goalless between Sunderland and Swansea.
Also 0-0 at full-time between QPR and Man City. Huge point for QPR and a massive boost for United at the top of the table.
Krul leaves his goal to try and punch clear Westwood's cross but doesn't get anything on it! Luckily for the Dutch keeper, the ball bounces to safety.
FULL-TIME: Villa 1-2 Newcastle
It's a first away win of the season for Newcastle! The Magpies win it thanks to the first-half strikes from Cisse and Cabaye. The visitors completely turned the match around after the break and pulled one back almost instantly with Benteke's penalty. However, they were unable to make their dominance count and even though they played well in the second half, it's another loss for Lambert's men.
It finished as a 2-2 draw at the Britannia between Stoke and Wigan. Here are tonight's results in full:
Villa 1-2 Newcastle
QPR 0-0 City
Stoke 2-2 Wigan
Sunderland 0-0 Swansea
The result at Villa Park tonight impacts the Premier League table significantly. Newcastle rise to 15th
and are now four points clear of Villa who drop into the relegation zone because of Wigan's point earned at Stoke.
That's just about it from us tonight. If you're joining us late and don't want to wade through how it all happened, click here
for our match report with full-size pictures from the game. Thanks for joining Sports Mole
this evening, be sure to stay on site for plenty of reaction from tonight's games. Come back tomorrow too for a bumper Wednesday of Premier League action. Good night.