Match Analysis: Newcastle United 1-1 Aston Villa

Match Analysis: Newcastle United 1-1 Aston Villa
© PA Photos
Sports Mole takes a closer look at today's Premier League clash between Newcastle United and Aston Villa at the Sports Direct Arena.

Aston Villa recorded their first point of the Premier League campaign with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United.

A spectacular second-half strike from Hatem Ben Arfa cancelled out Ciaran Clark's 21st-minute header to ensure a share of the spoils at the Sports Direct Arena.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look to see if the result was fair.

Match Statistics:

On target: 4
Possession: 52%
Fouls: 6

Aston Villa:
On target: 5
Possession: 48%
Fouls: 21

Was the result fair?

Yes. Newcastle had plenty of possession in the first 20 minutes but did very little with it. Aston Villa looked dangerous on the counter attack and went ahead through Ciaran Clark. Ron Vlaar marshalled the back four excellently and it looked like it would take something special to break their resistance. In the end it did, and it was Hatem Ben Arfa who equalised with a stunning right-footed shot.

Newcastle's performance

They worked hard enough, but lacked creativity in the final third. The defending was poor for Villa's opener, as Clark more or less ghosted into the box before powering a header past Tim Krul. After that, the Magpies' defending was much better. The midfield was industrious, but there was no cutting edge going forward. Demba Ba looked lively in the first half, but faded slightly in the second. Papiss Cisse was nowhere to be seen, but still nearly popped up with a goal.

Aston Villa's performance

Villa looked very solid at the back and worked hard for their point. Paul Lambert seemed to have them organised, which they needed to be after disappointing results against West Ham United and Everton. Barry Bannan played well down the left-hand side for the visitors, while Karim El Ahmadi did a good job of sitting in front of the defence and clearing up any loose balls.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Ron Vlaar: He was a rock at the back for the Villans and did not allow Cisse to have a kick.

Biggest gaffe

Steven Ireland might have won the game for Villa had he put away his chance in the 79th minute. The midfielder took one touch to tee himself up when the ball had broken to him inside the penalty area, but his shot was blazed high and wide. He should have burst the net.

Referee's performance

Lee Probert had a good game. Newcastle twice appealed for penalties that were not given and replays showed that both were correct decisions.

What next?

Newcastle: The Magpies travel to Goodison Park on Monday, September 17. Alan Pardew's men will need more attacking guild if they are to break down a sturdy Toffees defence.

Aston Villa: The Villans welcome Swansea City to Villa Park after the international break, but they will have to be every bit as organised if they are to repel Michael Laudrup's free-flowing side.

Hatem Ben Arfa
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