While Newcastle United’s clash with Aston Villa last night was barely a classic, the meeting between two of the most well-supported clubs in the Championship really didn’t need much hyping up, considering the rivalry to have started between the two sets of supporters over the last few years.
Still, the fact Villa started January signing Henri Lansbury at St. James’ Park certainly added fuel to the fire on a cold Tyneside night, marking the 26-year-old’s first appearance against the Magpies since his antics at the City Ground for Nottingham Forest back in December.
During that night on the banks of the River Trent, the former Arsenal youngster played a huge part in getting both Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett dismissed, invoking the ire of the travelling Toon Army, only to rather conveniently miss the return fixture. So, his appearance for Steve Bruce’s claret and blue outfit was always likely to cause a reaction amongst the home crowd.
So, for the Newcastle fans who booed him throughout proceedings, he really didn’t disappoint…
It’s a funny old game, football. Lansbury did indeed play a rather big part in last night’s proceedings, though helped the black and white cause.
He struggled to convince in the heart of Steve Bruce’s midfield, making just 45 passes, with only a 74% success rate. None of his passes provided much of a cutting edge, failing to make any key ones across 90 minutes.
To compound his misery, Lansbury also scored an own goal on what must have been a difficult night for him, melting in front of the St. James’ Park crowd.