Game #4680

Season | 2000-01 |

Matchday | #20 |
League Game | #15 |
Premier League Match-week | #15 |
Manager Game | #130 |

Saturday, 2 December 2000

Premier League | Home | Newcastle United | Villa Park | 34,255 | 

Game Summary

Manager | John Gregory | 

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | David Elleray | 

HT Score | 1-0 |
FT Score | 1-1 |
FT Result | Drew |
Last 5 Games | WWLDD | 

Scorers | Dion Dublin | 4’ |
Assists | David Ginola | 4’ |

League Position | 8th | +2 |

Line Up |

GK David James | 
LB Alan Wright |
BOOKED | 41' |
CB Alpay Özalan | 
CB Gareth Southgate | 
M Gareth Barry | 
M Paul Merson | 
M George Boateng | 
M Lee Hendrie | 
BOOKED | 51' |
M Steve Stone | 
W David Ginola | 
ASSIST | 4' | SUB OFF | 79' |
CF Dion Dublin | GOAL | 4' | 

Substitutes | 

FB Jlloyd Samuel for W David Ginola | 79’ |

Unused Substitutes |

M John McGrath
F Richard Walker 
GK Peter Enckelman
F Gilles De Bilde

Cards | 

 Yellow | Alan Wright | 41’ |

 Yellow | Lee Hendrie | 51’ |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 28.50 | 

Oldest Player | M Paul Merson | 33.88 |

Youngest Player | W David Ginola | 19.79 |

Match Report

The Guardian

Sunday, 3 December, 2000

Match Report from Simon Burnton

Solano canes Villa for missed chances

This result would have been impossible not so long ago. Newcastle, in the most trying of circumstances having been forced by injuries into extensive changes in tactics and personnel and a goal down after only four minutes, produced a second-half performance of tremendous spirit and no little skill to take a precious point from the Premiership’s most parsimonious defence. 

Having lost to Birmingham in midweek, Newcastle would have preferred to avoid an immediate return to the city in which their Worthington Cup hopes have crashed in the last two years. While their Premiership visits to this venue have been more successful - four wins and just one defeat in the last seven games - the loss of Alan Shearer, troubled by back and hamstring injuries all week before succumbing to knee injury, would have done little to raise their confidence against the top flight’s best home defence. 


Villa had problems of their own. Their lack of options up front has been well documented but on this occasion an injury to Ian Taylor prompted John Gregory to reshuffle his midfield, with David Ginola making a rare start against a former club. 

The game was only three minutes old when he made his first telling contribution, crossing from the left for Dion Dublin to score with a trademark header. The Newcastle defence had their thoughts elsewhere at the time as seconds earlier Paul Merson’s flick had released Lee Hendrie only for Shay Given to block well. Hardly had they breathed a sigh of relief when the ball was in their net. 

Newcastle could have been further punished in a first half dominated by the home side. In the 20th minute Hendrie was released by Ginola, but delayed his shot long enough for Alain Goma to deflect it wide. Goma was again to the rescue after half an hour as George Boateng raced into the box but, with Gary Speed attached limpet-like to his shirt, the Frenchman took his chance to intervene. 

Goma’s heroics were curtailed, though, after 36 minutes when he became the second Newcastle defender of the afternoon to depart injured. 

Clarence Acuna could have punished Villa’s profligacy in first-half injury time but, from Kieron Dyer’s pass, he could only prod on to a post with David James beaten. 

Villa, mindful of having taken an early lead against Coventry last week only to concede a late equaliser, were extremely timid as play resumed. They lazily gifted possession to Newcastle rather than commit players forward and found themselves unable to cruise down the pitch once Newcastle’s reorganisation saw them match Villa’s numbers in midfield. 

Newcastle’s confidence visibly grew, but it would surely have been higher still had Shearer, rather than the limited Daniel Cordone, been leading their line. Shearer would certainly not have wasted the brilliant opening crafted for Cordone by Nolberto Solano and Kieron Dyer in the 66th minute. A free header, though, sailed harmlessly wide of James’s goal. 

But Villa had obviously left the lessons of Coventry unlearned, and were made to pay in the 82nd minute. Solano raced into the box to chip deftly over James. Still Dublin had a late chance to win the game but his last-minute header, like so much of Villa’s second-half play, was wide of the mark.

The Guardian

Monday, 4 December, 2000

Match Report from Jeremy Alexander

Familiar twist has Gregory bearing crosses instead of changing tactics

There are said to be only six plots for a novel. In football they would include the relentless walkover, the stirring comeback, the eternal blank. John Gregory is fed up with another - the one where Villa score early, waste their few chances from much possession and get caught late. 

After Newcastle repeated Coventry’s snatch of the previous week the Villa manager had nothing to say - or nothing new - and sent his coach as post-match spokesman. He might have sent the transcript from Coventry or his physio, more practised with flannel. 
Gregory himself, if a Sunday newspaper is to be believed, was in discreet talks with Newcastle, who allegedly want him to work alongside Bobby Robson until Alan Shearer is ready. This may be sooner than they think. Shearer wants to play three more years but, already nursing back and hamstring problems, he missed Saturday with tendinitis and consults a surgeon today to see if his knee can take another steroid injection. Robson called him “a flogged horse”. 

Asked about money for players, the Newcastle manager produced one of the “£” signs Villa fans waved at their chairman Doug Ellis. Gregory might find all frying pans come alike. 

At least Newcastle had spirit after their Worthington capitulation to Birmingham. They needed it after losing that goal and two centre-backs before half-time, leading to their 12th and 13th back-lines in 16 games. “The boys [Andy Griffin, 21, and Steve Caldwell, 20] knew they were on a googly wicket and put bat and pad together,” said Robson. Warren Barton swept, a libero by latest yardsticks worth £30m. 

Newcastle’s goal was more a full toss, flicked on by Gary Speed and lobbed over David James by Nolberto Solano - reward for the Peruvian’s deft footwork but also for Robson’s half-time adjustments that imposed shape on dislocation and shut down Paul Merson with Robert Lee before he threw on an extra forward. 

Gregory had said David Ginola was standing by for his first start in two months. Some would say he had been standing by, on or off field, all season. Free now from niggling injuries to everything from hair to foot, he set up the goal for Dion Dublin, his second in two games, and showed much of his old flair and hunger. 

The crosses flowed - from Merson and Steve Stone on the right, Ginola and Alan Wright on the left, the fruits of good midfield understanding - but Dublin, alone to receive them, was regularly outnumbered. In the absence of a decoy it was unerringly senseless. 

With Benito Carbone gone, Luc Nilis out for the season and now Julian Joachim injured too, Villa need an alternative idea or closer support of Dublin. Two golden chances fell to Lee Hendrie but, indecisive as a voter with no more liking for Gush than Bore, he purveyed pregnant chads. 

For all Villa’s position, players and fans are restless at a perceived lack of ambition. They could be more concerned at a lack of management. Gregory called this his “blueprint team”. Tactically it was more of a misprint and Robson might have corrected it.