Come on now
I hear you're feeling down
I can ease your pain
And get you on your feet again
--Comfortably Numb, Pink Floyd
When you've lost your last three matches by scores of 0-3, 0-3 and 0-4, hopes and dreams are understandably tempered. When you haven't scored at all in 7 of your last 8 matches, you pretty much don't have any hopes or dreams. There were certainly questions to be asked of Alan Pardew's team selection - forced exclusions of Santon and Hatem Ben Arfa through injury were understandable... starting Papiss Cisse over Luuk de Jong and exculding the likes of Sammy Ameobi and Sylvain Marveaux caused more than a little bit of head scratching.
A match between the 9th and 13th place squads in the table is rarely going to inspire lots of excitement. The opening exchanges gave some degree of hope in the same way that a child has hope that they're actually going to go to the Zoo when their parent says "maybe later". Newcastle were clearly attempting to put as many shots toward goal as possible (the pessimist might suggest that it was an on-pitch version of "hey, we tried"). Predictably, this gave way to a period of ascendance from Aston Villa and they really should have done better when Agbonlahor had an effort batted away by Krul midway through the first half.
Remember what I said about hopes and dreams? The first 30 minutes or so were a microcosm of that story. the next 50 minutes or so were as tepid as you might have expected. That's the best I can say about it.
But hey, in the 88th minute, Loïc Rémy hit the post with the goal wide open and Guzan drawn out by Luuk de Jong, so hey... that's something, right?
Mike Williamson was probably man of the match for Newcastle United and that tells you pretty much all you need to know. On the plus side, the Villa front three of Weimann, Benteke and Agbonlahor were rendered
LATE BREAKING NEWS
WE SCORED! WE EFFING SCORED! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT THIS FELT LIKE LOïC RéMY YOU BEAUTY IT'S OK YOU MISSED THAT CHANCE EARLIER BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO WIN AND MY LANDS WE CAN BREATHE NOW AND I NEED TO GET BACK TO MY BEER*
*see what you've done to me, Newcastle? I have been drinking since about 8:45 in the morning.