Newcastle 2 - 1 A VillaKO: Sun Feb 05 13:30:00 GMT 2012 Ground: St James' Park, Newcastle
Att: 48569 Referee: M Halsey live on sky sports Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 1 HDD Ba 30P Cisse 71R Keane 45+5
Newcastle Manager Alan Pardew Previews Sunday's Match Against Aston Villa
The St James' Park fixture provides a yardstick for the two clubs by representing the impressive development of the home side and, in contrast, the away team's regression.
Newcastle were infamously relegated to the Championship in 2008/09, but, firstly under Chris Hughton and now Alan Pardew, they have made impressive progress.
The fifth-placed Magpies are a part of what looks like a four-way fight for fourth spot in the Premier League along with Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.
Villa, meanwhile, have gone backwards having previously been regular challengers for Champions League qualification during Martin O'Neill's reign.
The Midlanders finished sixth in three successive seasons from 2007/08, but, since O'Neill left at the beginning of last season to be succeeded on a short-term basis by Gerard Houllier before the arrival of Alex McLeish in the summer of 2011, they have slipped downwards.
Ahead of this weekend's lunchtime kick-off against Newcastle, Villa find themselves in the bottom half of the Premier League and they will arrive at St James' Park with haunting memories of last season's 6-0 thrashing on Tyneside.
Villa, though, are better on their travels this campaign and have lost just two of their last 12 league away games, while they will also look for inspiration from Darren Bent, who has scored in four of his last five appearances and now has 100 Premier League goals.
Senegal strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse are included in the Newcastle squad.
Fifteen-goal Ba and new signing Cisse are available following their country's premature departure from the Africa Cup of Nations, with the latter in line for a debut following his big-money January move from Freiburg.
Midfielder Yohan Cabaye serves the second game of his three-match suspension after being found guilty of violent conduct, while defender Steven Taylor (Achilles) and midfielders Sylvain Marveaux (groin) and Sammy Ameobi (knee) continue their respective recoveries.
Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is a major fitness doubt with back and hamstring spasms.
Agbonlahor is to undergo a special fitness programme with the club's conditioning coach, Adrian Lamb, to try and eradicate such problems after missing the midweek home draw with QPR.
Winger Marc Albrighton (thigh) and central defender James Collins are also battling to be fit while midfielder Chris Herd continues to recover from an ankle injury.
Possible starting XIs:
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Ben Arfa, Guthrie, R.Taylor, Gutierrez, Shola Ameobi, Ba.
Dream debut for Cisse As Newcastle Beat Villa 2-1
Senegalese strike duo do the damage for Magpies
Papiss Cisse marked his debut with the winner and Demba Ba was also on target as Newcastle saw off Aston Villa 2-1 at St James' Park.
The hosts edged in front on the half-hour mark as Ba, making his first start since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, bundled home from close range after Villa failed to clear their lines.
A lengthy stoppage followed his opener, as Ryan Taylor was injured in the build-up to the opener, and the delay played into Villa's hands as they levelled in the fifth minute of time added on at the end of the first half.
Former Magpies winger Charles N'Zogbia did well to work a yard from himself down the left and his fizzed delivery across the face of goal was converted by Robbie Keane.
Newcastle looked the more likely to find a winner in the second half and it duly arrived on 71 minutes as Cisse controlled the ball on his chest and lashed high into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Newcastle ran out determined to reclaim the fifth place into which they had climbed as a result of Wednesday night's hard-fought victory at Blackburn.
Villa lost the corresponding fixture last season 6-0, and they returned in determined mood this time around.
Darren Bent may not have enjoyed the best of fortunes on his visits to Tyneside with former club Sunderland - his reception was entirely predictable - although he might have silenced the boo boys within 13 minutes.
Keane's pass put him in behind full-back Danny Simpson and Tim Krul did well to save from a tight angle before fielding Stiliyan Petrov's well-struck follow-up less than comfortably.
In the meantime, Leon Best had left the field having been hurt in a block tackle with Stephen Warnock and was replaced by Cisse, who arrived to rapturous applause.
However, the first goal eventually arrived, against the run of play, at the other end, and the identity of the scorer was no surprise.
Dunne got up well to head Danny Guthrie's cross away from Ba, but when Taylor smashed the ball back across goal, the former West Ham frontman thumped it past Given to claim his 16th goal of the season.
But as the celebrations broke out, the medics rushed on to the pitch to tend to Taylor, who had been hurt in a collision with Warnock in the build-up and left the field on a stretcher with his right leg in a brace.
N'Zogbia fired into the side-netting and Stephen Ireland curled an effort just wide as Villa continued their quest for an equaliser.
However, Ba, full-back Davide Santon and Cisse might all have increased Newcastle's lead in a flurry of activity at the end of the half.
But the game's second goal eventually went the way of the visitors in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Keane met N'Zogbia's cross unopposed in front of goal to volley home.
Villa boss Alex McLeish replaced Ireland with Barry Bannan at the break, but saw his side almost concede the lead for a second time within two minutes of the restart.
Given, who played with such distinction for Newcastle over 11-and-a-half years, uncharacteristically fumbled after Guthrie had crossed, but neither Ba nor Cisse were able to take advantage.
The game was becoming increasingly open with N'Zogbia for the visitors and Taylor's replacement Gabriel Obertan for the home side enjoying acres of space.
The former Manchester United man worked his way into a promising position with 55 minutes gone when he isolated Dunne and created space to shoot, but he sliced his effort well wide.
Villa eventually responded and, as N'Zogbia made way for Emile Heskey, briefly relieved the pressure.
However, Newcastle regained their lead with 19 minutes remaining, and did so in style.
Jonas Gutierrez's left-wing cross was too high for Ba, but it fell nicely for Cisse to control with his chest before dispatching a left-foot volley high to Given's right.
James Perch drilled a long-range effort just wide and Given had to turn away another Cisse volley, but Krul managed to beat away Ciaran Clark's missile before gratefully grasping substitute Gary Gardner's point-blank header to preserve his side's lead.Man of the match: Papiss Cisse. Worked tirelessly following his early introduction and grabbed a spectacular winning goal on his debut.
Goal of the match: Cisse's match-winner gave Shay Given no chance, as he rifled into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Save of the match: Tim Krul did really well to deny Gary Gardner and Emile Heskey a late leveller for Aston Villa.
Moment of the match: Newcastle saw Leon Best and Ryan Taylor pick up knocks that could keep them sidelined for some time.
Talking point: Can Newcastle force their way into the top four? Do Villa need to be looking anxiously over their shoulder?
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