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Newcastle 0 - Aston Villa 0

St James Park


Attendance: 51,049

No goals? No surprise…

As the rabid optimism of Saturday AM is replaced by that usual Sunday afternoon bite of reality, it`s become clear never to let a good performance against a frankly shocking Bolton side be a benchmark for how the season is going to pan out. As we met a side who probably share similar expectations to ourselves, the league has suddenly become a whole lot more difficult.

Plonked down watching Citeh v Yoonited and Victimpool v Chelski it became blindingly clear just how far we have to go. Some of the play in the latter match was tremendous, not least when you look at how quickly Liverpool broke for the Torres goal, whilst Micah Richards leading a rearguard battle for the Blue half of Manchester was an eye-opener. Chuck in some of the one-touch passing by Fergie`s lot and you got a microcosm of just how tough it is going to be to steal into one of the top four slots. Anyone expecting to batter our way in amongst the 'Big Four` had a realism check come 7pm on Saturday.

Sam kept the same line up against Villa that turned out against Bolton and, some might say, rightly so. It seemed a decent attacking line up and that old adage about not changing a winning team came straight to mind. Instantly though you could tell Villa were going to be a different proposition.

Carew was muscling in against our centre halves, Viduka was getting a hammering from Laursen and Mellberg and all over the park they seemed well up for it. Agbonlahor and Young were breaking at pace against Carr and young Chuck.

Opportunities were few and far between but Villa definitely shaded the first half. Our only chance of note was a belting Rozenhal drive that was well stopped by Carson. Villa meanwhile saw Agbonlahor miss a sitter after a strong break, whilst Carew had a chance tipped over and Harper blocked smartly from Laursen.

Half time came and went with nothing changing. Our midfield tackled and scrapped brilliantly but seriously lacked creativity. It meant nowt for the Duke or Oba to feed on and, as both made way for Shola and Owen over the course of the half, the replacements enjoyed little service either. Harper had to save really smartly from Reo-Coker whilst Milner saw a chance go begging.

Other than that Sam could only really take away the positive of an encouraging partnership between Rozenhal and Tayls at the heart of the defence. The Czech fella is looking particularly at home in the Premier League and I think, for the £2.8m we`ve spent on him, he`ll turn out to be a barnstorming summer signing.

Overall then - probably a touch of a let down for the opening game. The lack of a full-house and the lack of atmosphere were a bit of a niggle but, as always, we`ve got a seriously winnable game against the Beasts next week. With an extra weeks rest for most and, hopefully, a creative signing or two in the middle and at right back, we could go into the game with a squad packed with talent and an urge to put right the blank of this week. The goals issue will keep rearing it`s head until we finally break that duck at home. With Sunderland`s slaughterers Wigan up next at SJP let`s hope that`ll be the one at last.

Star Player

James Milner - it's becoming a bit of a recurring theme to be honest, with the lad being dynamite again. Our only creative outlet in the second half.

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The Journalist

Writer: Ross Molyneux Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday August 20 2007

Time: 8:16AM

Your Comments

Every time I see Milner play I curse Shepard for re-calling him when he was on his way down to sign for the Villa. Top player! Was a strange game though wasn't it? Neither side seemed to have any flashes of real inspiration, although I'd say Villa were the unluckiest not to get all 3 points due to the two or three golden chances!
The Fear
Milner was top but we had no creativity whatsoever other than him and N'Zogbia. Need the likes of Deco in asap now Solano seems to have been ostracised.
Well said Ross & les. We need a right back, more creativity (deco) & Smith needs a more attacking role. Milner is an absolute delight to watch. If im honest, O'neils side matched us with. 0-0 fair result.
Yeh agree with you mate 0-0 fair result but i got the feeling that Bsa waa trying too hard to keep certain players happy and the 4 4 2 formation didnt work at all we were bossed about in midfield. Hoping we get things together for Boro.
Agree Millzy - whats the point having all these brilliant forwards if we're not giving them the bullets to fire with.
SA is not a good manager. Hes just a cheat. He illegally trys to get players to join his team. I expect a long reign of boring 1-0 wins to generate very soon.
No service, no goals... exactly. Maybe its a 4-4-2 formation needed at home. RK188 what was boring about our matches under BSA? 4-1 celtic boring? 2-0 juventus boring? 3-1 bolton boring? Even the villa game was end to end. Now fooook off ya robot.
He's probably another of the Bolton Sheep Botherers.
LOL still bitter i think sayin that i wouldnt mind a bet that Sammy lee sends Bolton down this season.

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