Hatem Ben Arfa put in another eye-catching performance as Newcastle recorded a first away league win of the season at only the second attempt.
Ben Arfa scored one and set up another as United emerged 2-1 victors at Villa Park, with Ben Arfa proving to be tormentor in chief for Paul Lambert’s men.
The away side started brightly and looked the more assured of the two sides in the opening exchanges. United were keeping the ball well and made the most of facing a Villa side which looked disjointed and who struggled to get back into the swing of things after the international break. That resulted in United taking an 18th minute lead when Loic Remy surged past Matt Lowton on the left and crossed for Papiss Cisse who helped the ball on for Hatem Ben Arfa to apply the finish from six yards out.
We could have added more through half chances for Remy, Cabaye and Cisse along with having appeals for a penalty waved away by Mike Dean but it wasn’t to be whilst Villa fudged two decent chances through Ciaran Clark and Andreas Weimann ensuring the away side held the half-time advantage.
Paul Lambert must have had something to say during the interval as his side applied the pressure in second period. Gabriel Agbonlahor saw an effort deflected wide before missing a guilt-edged chance from just six yards out following good work from Lowton and Weimann on the right.
It took until 67 minutes for the Villa pressure to pay off after an error of judgement from Tim Krul saw him fail to claim a corner from Ashley Westwood allowing Christian Benteke to nod home into an unguarded net from eight yards out.
That goal woke the Villa Park faithful up although thankfully it was only for a brief period. United always looked threatening in attack and once again it was Ben Arfa who proved to be the key to unlock the three points as he sauntered in from the left before firing at goal only to see Brad Guzan spill the ball into the path of Yoan Gouffran who fired in the rebound to restore the lead for the away side.
Papiss Cisse headed narrowly wide and Cheik Tiote had a long range effort saved but Villa rarely threatened to equalise again and United comfortably held on to the final whistle to grab three points in an impressive showing far beyond my own lowly expectations.
Howay the lads!
Aston Villa: Brad Guzan, Matt Lowton, Ron Vlaar, Jores Okore, Antonio Luna, Karim El Ahmadi, Ashley Westwood, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Fabian Delph, Christian Benteke, Andreas Weimann
Subs: Jed Steer, Ciaran Clark, Lenadro Bacuna, Nicklas Helenius, Yacouba Sylla, Aleksander Tonev, Libor Kozak
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Fabricio Coloccini, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Davide Santon; Vurnon Anita, Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye; Loic Remy, Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa
Subs: Rob Elliot, Paul Dummett, Steven Taylor, Cheik Tiote, Sylvain Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Yoan Gouffran