Newcastle’s poor start to the new season continued yesterday as they were held to a goalless draw by Aston Villa in what was largely a dreary encounter.
Neither side could muster any quality in the final third, with a host of chances spurned when goals were in the offing, as both defences had relatively easy afternoons.
It was Yoan Gouffran who had the best of the early chances, and the Frenchman’s effort in the 12th minute was carried through much of the match.
With a corner headed at the near post, the ball dropped to Gouffran who, under little to no pressure, was simply unable to make contact with the ball at the back post.
Charles N’Zogbia produced a decent free-kick as the first quarter approached its end, but the winger was unable to find the target.
He was not alone in failing to do so – Villa managed just one shot on target in their opening league match against Stoke last weekend and they would not be able to even equal that total on this occasion.
However, Newcastle’s strikeforce looked even meeker than that of their hosts; Villa can at least point to the absence of the injured Christian Benteke as an explanation for their blunt attack.
Rémy Cabella was the next to demonstrate a distinct lack of killer touch – the midfielder somehow conspired to pull a weak effort across the face of Brad Guzan’s goal when the Villa defence had afforded him the time to do better.
Andreas Weimann and Emmanuel Riviere traded attempts as the first period meandered to an uninspiring close.
Newcastle appeared to be galvanised in the opening stages of the second half, seeing off a brief spurt of energy from the hosts before beginning to assert their authority.
But an increase in possession didn’t see more quality final balls produced, with the Magpies continuing to struggle in front of goal.
As the match ticked into extra time, Newcastle’s Mike Williamson was given his marching orders after picking up his second yellow card, but it was of little consequence as a late downpour sent the fans rushing for the exits – in truth, they had probably been looking for a reason to do so for some time.
– Aston Villa did not manage a shot on target against Newcastle
– Aston Villa have managed just one shot on target thus far this season
– Newcastle have scored just four goals in their past 10 Premier League matches
– Mike Williamson picked up his first red card in 13 years as a professional
– TEAMtalk Media