The Boys Are Back In Toon! Newcastle United vs Aston Villa Preview.

Posted on February 4th, 2012 | 21 Comments |

Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba.
The Boys Are Back on Toon!
Venue: St James’Park, NE1
Date: 5th February 2012
Kick Off: 1.30pm
Referee: Mark Halsey

I never used to bother much about Aston Villa. They were just one of those “middle of the road” clubs who chug along season after season with reasonable-sized crowds but nothing particular to shout about. I got a bit annoyed at them when they kept trying to pinch James Milner a few years ago, but I suppose the point at which my attitude towards them changed significantly was in May of 2009.

It was during the game we lost at Villa Park which sealed our relegation from the Premier League. Being relegated was a massive blow to United, the club, the management, the fans – but the puerile chanting and infantile banners on display that day by a section of the Villa support were a disgrace to their club and will live long in the memory. These days I therefore have them in the same list as the likes of Tottenham and Man Utd – teams I just love to see us beat – for various reasons I won’t go into here, but which I’m sure some of you share.

With this in mind, Villa could hardly be arriving at St James’ Park at a better time. United are back in town after three away games on the trot culminating in the win at Blackburn Rovers. Demba Ba is also back from his exploits with Senegal and is raring to get amongst the goals once again. He’s certain to start. This time of course, we also have his Senegalese strike partner Papiss Demba Cisse in the squad, wearing the famous Newcastle United number nine shirt. We don’t know at this stage whether Cisse will start the game. Manager Alan Pardew has been hinting at allowing him to soak up the atmosphere from the bench first, before unleashing him to what would be a certain gladitorial entrance, the likes of which only a Newcastle crowd can conjure up. It’s a judgement call. Personally, the way the weather is in the North East at the moment, especially the temperature, I’d let him on from the start so he can run around and keep warm!

Villa have a good record on the road, having not lost their last 5 games. But then, Manchester United came here with a good away record on 4th January 2012 and left with their tails between their legs after a 3-0 drubbing – so let’s not get too excited about Villa. I’m sure Alan Pardew would say “it’s important to concentrate on what we do and make sure we take the game to them” or words to that effect. The other thing of note to say about Villa’s visit is that we expect to see Shay Given return to St James’ for the first time since he left at the beginning of 2009. Another Newcastle boy back in town! A great servant to the club and a popular player here, I’m sure Shay will be given a warm welcome back by the Geordie faithful, who will then hope he has a stinker between the posts!

We often discuss and criticise players on and that’s fine, everybody is entitled to their opinion. But there’s always a question about whether that criticism should spill over into games when a player is having a bad match, and what impact it has on their confidence. Interesting therefore to hear what Gabriel Obertan had to say about the United fans after his excellent goal at Blackburn:

“It was great to have them supporting me and singing my name. I know they are always behind me, even when it’s been really tough.

“I’d like to thank them for their support – it’s important to me.”

The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1. As usual will be having our match banter feature which will be on this very blog about an hour before kick-off.

Newcastle United Team News

As stated earlier, Ba and Cisse are very welcome additions to the squad who pulled off that away win at Blackburn. Yohan Cabaye will serve the second match of his totally ridiculous three match ban. Also missing will be the injured Steven Taylor, Sylvain Marveaux, Steve Harper, Sammy Ameobi and Nile Ranger. Cheick Tiote is still on international duty with the Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Newcastle United Likely Squad: Tim Krul (G), Rob Elliot (G), Danny Simpson, Ryan Taylor, Davide Santon, Shane Ferguson, James Perch, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Tamas Kadar, Gabriel Obertan, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez, Dan Gosling, Mehdi Abeid, Haris Vuckic, Demba Ba, Papiss Demba Cisse, Leon Best, Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands.

Aston Villa Team News

Villa will give a late fitness check to striker Gabriel Agbonlahor, who missed the QPR game with hamstring and back injuries. Other “old boys” of note are Charles N’Zogbia and Stephen Ireland. As we learned in midweek, Habib Beye has now left the club.

Aston Villa Likely Squad: Shay Given (G), Bradley Guzan (G), Alan Hutton, Eric Lichaj, James Collins, Carlos Cuellar, Richard Dunne, Stephen Warnock, Nathan Baker, Barry Bannan, Ciaran Clark, Stilian Petrov, Stephen Ireland, Marc Albrighton, Darren Bent, Robbie Keane, Gabriel Agbonlahor (?), Emile Heskey, Charles N’Zogbia, Andreas Weimann, Andy Marshall, Daniel Johnson, Gary Gardner, Enda Stevens.

What The Managers Are Saying

Alan Pardew: “They [Ba and Cisse] will make an impact tomorrow. Whether we start with Demba and Cisse, or one of them, they are going to have an impact in this game – 100%. They have already lifted the training ground, so I am looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow.”

“They are both slightly tired because they had a long trip, but they trained well. “Some of our players are tired too, though. That was a tough game at Blackburn.I need to look at training to see who I am going to play.”

“Demba coming back, for his character and the quality he brings, is a massive thing – forget about Cisse for the moment.”

Alex McLeish:“That’s what I want to do [climb the table]. I’ve got to trust the players on the pitch to do that for us and they are certainly within their capabilities. We’ve thrown a lot of points away already so I’m encouraged there is still improvement potential in this bunch. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag. There were definitely points that got away.

“There’s no doubt we should have more points. It certainly could have eased a few of the tensions. But where we are, we have just got to keep talking to the lads and working on it and setting targets to climb the table as high as we can.”


Can’t see anything but a home win for United here. Anything else would be disappointing in the extreme! We need to be wary of Darren Bent and Robbie Keane however, both of whom can score a goal from nothing on their day. What do you think? Comments welcome below.

NUFCBlog Author: UTD111 UTD111 has written 59 articles on this blog.

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21 Responses

  1. stephen says:
    February 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm
    could you sound any more bitter towards villa?

    I said what I think. The 6-0 in August 2010 paid them back really, but the memories linger on….

  2. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the Dembas play together well. 2 goal scorers could spend lots of time getting in each others way. My snese is AP will have a way to set up on the pitch, and then hope they follow the plan.

  3. Slightly off topic but I had a pretty amazing day last Wednesday. I’m from N.Ireland but managed to get a work trip arranged around the game..
    It turned out that the team were staying (not overnight, travelled down that morning then headed to the game from the hotel) at the same hotel as me. I was leaving the hotel after work to head to the game and the players were getting on the coach. Got to shake hands with most of them wishing them good luck and also Pardew.
    Then after the game I was in the hotel but unfortunately the coach must have headed straight back to Newcastle. However was surprised when I was in reception and Colocinni walked in! Managed to get him to sign my shirt and got a photo with him. He was in a taxi so must have been heading somewhere different than the others or forgot something and had to make a detour. Seemed to be in a bit of a rush but took the time to get the photo and sign my shirt. Top player and top lad.

  4. tez

    as far as im aware they fly,

    the coach picks them up at airport and takes them to the hotel.

    they drive to Newcastle airport and store their cars there until they get back.

    im guessing collo probably left his ipad there and got a taxi to the hotel, he would probably be rushing back to get his flight.


    he was off to Argentina to talk with his agent.

  5. He was with some guy, not sure if it was his agent but the guy was speaking with him in Spanish I think.

    Utd_111 I will tweet it to you now…

  6. Of forgot to mention the coach was Tynedale so presumed that was a Newcastle company?
    From Newcastle?

  7. tynedale is a north east company.

    the boss of the company actually drives the coach for free.

    well in exchange for a box at Sj. James like

  8. Prediction scores are now updated

    Hugh de Payen leads the charge so far with 32 points but he’s the gaffer of the competition so he doesn’t count.

    Sir Jason Gloomndoom is the real leader so far with 30 points, Rob Averies is in second with 29 points and finally, maze202 and Derek Llambias are in joint third with 27 points each so far.

  9. C’mon Worky, just coz Hugh, the prediction leader, happens to be the gaffer, doesn’t mean he’s disqualified. That’s almost like stripping of his knighthood!

  10. has to be looking like a toon win, with perhaps a slight scare… 3-1 the toon. one from demba, one from obatoon and one from a colo!

  11. He came from Sengal Cisse Cisse
    To play Footbaaalll Cisse Cisse
    Demba says he scores in his sleep
    All the Geordies jump and leap
    Demba Cisse Newcastles no 9!!
    Tra la la la la la la

  12. Looking forward to seeing a number 9 on a black and white shirt…been a while!
    Let’s hope it is worth the wait.
    Howay the Lads!

  13. sirjasontoon says:
    February 5, 2012 at 9:15 am

    “Looking forward to seeing a number 9 on a black and white shirt…been a while!
    Let’s hope it is worth the wait.”

    Hasn’t bothered at all SJT, if anything, this “number 9 shirt” stuff is a negative thing for the club.

    Congratulations on topping the prediction league BTW. I know Hugh’s slightly in front but you’re in the first prize position for the moment.

  14. news of colo’s contract hitting another snag starting to drag on a bit now i am in no doubt he will sign up

  15. HULLGEORDIE says:
    February 5, 2012 at 10:35 am

    “Is there any pitch inspection?”

    I haven’t seen or heard anything about a pitch inspection HullGeordie, just warnings that travel may be disrupted.

  16. Come on lads, lets have the 3 points today, especially after the mackem’s beat stoke yesterday :-( I reckon the mackem’s should bring back the ugly dinner lady!