Barclays Premier League
West Bromwich Albion 1-3 Newcastle United



Papiss Demba Cisse (above centre) is congratulated by team-mates after scoring his first away Premier League goals since his move 



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor from the Hawthorns


Newcastle United moved level on points with fifth-placed Chelsea in the Premier League as a classy performance saw off West Brom in an open and engaging contest.  

The Magpies front-three of Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Demba Cisse and Demba Ba proved to be a real handful for the Baggies defence and the man of the match Ben Arfa was involved by setting up one and scoring one in the first twelve minutes. First the Frenchman squared unselfishly for an offside-looking Cisse to roll home before finding the net himself with a left-footed finish past Ben Foster. The visitors added a third before the first half was out with Cisse adding a second with a sweeping finish near the penalty spot. Shane Long reduced the arrears early in the second half for the Albion after a defensive mix-up between Tim Krul and Mike Williamson.

It has been a memorable season for the Magpies exceeding expectations and, on this evidence, they remain capable of challenging for a top-four finish mathematically and are very much keeping tabs on the two positions above them in the table. Key to their chances are the attacking trio of Ben Arfa, Cisse and Demba Ba - none of whom Albion could live with in the first half.

The Baggies are now without a win in three matches- having won their previous two at home- but remain eleven points clear of the relegation zone in 14th. Although just 14 of their 36 points this season have come at home and it was clear why as Newcastle were afforded too much time and space early on.

Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye were enjoying particular freedom in key areas while Ba dragged defenders out of position to create gaps for Cisse on numerous occasions in the first period.


West Brom won this fixture last season by the same scoreline- 3-1- in January 2011 which contributed to the dismissal of Chris Hughton as Newcastle manager.

Newcastle signalled their intent from the fourth minute onwards when the Baggies failed to clear their lines properly with Olsson missing his kick and Ba's drive was tipped over the bar by the alert Ben Foster.

It was a vibrant start from the visitors and Albion, looking most unlike a team organised by England managerial contender Roy Hodgson, soon fell behind. Newcastle worked the ball to the left with Gutierrez involved and then Ben Arfa slid a low centre across the face of goal, where Cisse was waiting to convert from close range after six minutes despite looking to be stood in an offside position but the referee's assistant kept the flag down.

The home fans expressed frustration and their day took another turn for the worse when Newcastle struck a second on the counter-attack just six minutes later. Argentine defender Fabricio Coloccini headed a clearance to Ben Arfa carrying it forward, who played a one-two with Cabaye and exchanged passes with Cisse before cutting in onto his left and firing past Foster all in the blink of an eye.

Albion worked hard to muster a response with James Morrison drilling wide on the half-volley before Marc-Antoine Fortune headed over and Morrison had an effort disallowed after a colleague was flagged offside beforehand.

Their disappointment was compounded by conceding the third which surely ended their chances of getting something from the match when Ben Arfa led another breakaway upfield, combining well with Ba who crossed for the other member of the deadly trio- Cisse- to sweep home from twelve yards for his fifth Premier League goal.


The defeat was West Bromwich Albion's ninth defeat at home this season in the Premier League- only Wolves have lost more.

In an attempt to redress the balance which had more than definitely swung the away side's way, Hodgson introduced Chris Brunt and Shane Long for Jerome Thomas and Keith Andrews at half-time while Alan Pardew was forced into taking off key defender Coloccini through injury and bringing on Davide Santon.

The move sparked his side into life and, after Foster had made a crucial save when one-on-one with Cisse, Albion were given a fortuitous lifeline.

Peter Odemwingie chased a long pass over the top and confusion between keeper Tim Krul and centre-back Mike Williamson saw the pair collide and present Long with a tap-in.

Albion were suddenly in the ascendancy and Odemwingie tested Krul from a tight angle before Williamson blocked Fortune's fierce strike.

But Newcastle continued to carry a threat of their own and Foster made his latest save to deny Ben Arfa following a fine solo run.

Hodgson urged his men forward but, with all three substitutions used, Morrison suffered a foot injury and with him went the Baggies' chances as they played the final few minutes with just ten men as the Magpies saw the rest of the game through. West Brom had come from 3-0 down to draw at Newcastle on the final day of last season at St James Park with Somen Tchoyi scoring a hat-trick but there was to be no repeat this time round as they restore their comfortable midtable position with Newcastle's chances of fifth still high and mighty. Both sides are playing Merseyside opposition next week- the Baggies travel to Goodison Park on Saturday while Newcastle host Liverpool with sixth vs seventh going head-to-head on Tyneside.  



Sunday 25th March 2012

Barclays Premier League

The Hawthorns


West Bromwich Albion 1-3 Newcastle United                        KO 4pm              (HT 0-3)

Long 52                         Cisse 6, 34
                                   Ben Arfa 12


West Bromwich Albion:  1 Foster- 7/10, 28 Jones- 6.5/10, 3 Olsson (C)- 6.5/10, 23 McAuley- 6.5/10, 6 Ridgewell- 7/10, 7 Morrison- 8/10, 21 Mulumbu- 7/10 (Scharner 73- 2.5/10), 8 Andrews- 5/10 (Long 45- 6/10), 14 Thomas- 5.5/10 (Brunt 45- 6/10), 24 Odemwingie- 6.5/10, 32 Fortune- 6.5/10.

Subs not used:  19 Daniels, 25 Dawson, 20 Shorey, 31 Cox

Booked:     None


Newcastle:  26 Krul- 7.5/10, 5 Simpson- 7.5/10, 2 Coloccini (C)- 6.5/10 (Santon 45- 5/10), 6 Williamson- 6/10, 14 Perch- 7/10, 4 Cabaye- 7.5/10, 8 Guthrie- 7.5/10, 18 Gutierrez- 8/10, 10 Ben Arfa- 8.5/10 (Shola Ameobi 75- 2/10), 9 Cisse- 8/10 (Ferguson 79- 1.5/10), 19 Ba- 7.5/10.

Subs not used:  35 Elliot, 13 Abeid, 15 Gosling, 29 Vuckic

Booked:     Williamson (68)


My Man of the Match:     Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United)- Rating 8.5/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:     Keith Andrews (West Bromwich Albion)- Rating 5/10


Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)- 9.5/10
Attendance: 25,049



Match Facts

West Brom- 42%            Newcastle- 58%

Shots: West Brom- 14             Newcastle- 10

Shots on target: West Brom- 6              Newcastle- 7

Shots off target: West Brom- 8               Newcastle- 6

Corners: West Brom- 10                  Newcastle- 4

Fouls: West Brom- 10                Newcastle- 4

Offside: West Brom- 5               Newcastle- 4

Assists: West Brom- Mulumbu             Newcastle- Ben Arfa (2), Cisse



West Bromwich Albion manager Roy Hodgson

"The main problem for us at half-time was being three goals down, having lost James Morrison to injury having made all three changes it really took the wind out of our sails so to speak. We were beaten at a couple of swift and very quick counter-attacks in the first period by Newcastle. The first goal came about after defending a corner which we couldn't clear afterwards. Obviously we were poor in the first half, we don't need to be told that and to go in three goals down is probably what we deserved. But the players came back out and showed some character, didn't concede any in the second half and were back in the game. It was a shame that we couldn't turn that into a comeback. We had a good go at trying to retrieve the situation. I am happy that they "won the second half" if you like and we did that also with ten men at the end. That's the only minor positive that I can take from the game. This is a setback and a major disappointment but we were up against a brilliant Newcastle team and it has still been a good season for us and hopefully there is still a bit more to come from the lads in the final few weeks."

Click here for the full interview with Baggies boss Roy Hodgson after the match  




Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew

"In the first half we played some really good, fantastic football. I had said in my pre-match comments that there was a new buoyancy about us in the training complex after the win over Norwich. We had to grind it out last week but today we played some real champagne stuff. Ben Arfa, Papiss (Demba Cisse) and Demba (Ba) were a real handful all day long but we were still strong enough behind them with some good performances today. I was really pleased with Jonas (Gutierrez) in the centre of midfield playing out of position as Cheik (Tiote) was injured. We saw the game out this time which is important after being 3-0 up last time against West Brom and we ended up drawing 3-3. It was a bit of a nervous start to the second half conceding a goal but we managed to see it through. We had some chances to get the fourth goal with Demba (Ba) forcing what I thought was an outstanding stop from (Ben) Foster. We still tried to get the fourth goal which was important, we couldn't get it but we have three more points and we can look forward with excitement to next Sunday against Liverpool."

Click here for the full interview with Magpies boss Alan Pardew after the match


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