Halftime: Aston Villa 0, Newcastle United 2

Stu Forster

Goals from Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye have Newcastle comfortably in front of their relegation foes at halftime.

A strong first half at Villa Park has Newcastle United in front by two goals. The headline of the game thus far will undoubtedly be Yohan Cabaye's perfect strike into the side netting in the 31st minute, but Newcastle supporters will be happy to know that new signings Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran have each had a positive impact on the match.

Sissoko, in particular, has been massive in the center of midfield, finding Papiss Cisse on a nice diagonal run in the 19th minute. Gouffran, who has played a recessed role and appears to be comfortable running sideline to sideline, has shown confidence on the ball, and his presence has been worrying for the Villa defense.

It hasn't been all rosy - Charles N'Zogbia beat Tim Krul at one point, only to be stopped by the woodwork, but it's about as good a half as one could expect. Newcastle have shown no interest in letting off the gas just yet, a positive development from an Alan Pardew team that can sometimes pack it in a little too early. If they continue to play aggressively, the result will not be in much doubt.

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