Both teams had great chances to claim victory but it finishes even as Villa get off the mark for the new season. Thanks for your company and I'll see you all again soon.
FULL TIME. Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1.
Guzan makes a terrific save! Cabaye's free-kick was superb but the Villa keeper was more than equal to it with an incredible dive to his right.
Cabaye lines up the free-kick which surely must be the last chance of the game.
Yellow card for Holman for a reckless challenge on Cabaye roughly 25 yards out from goal.
N'Zogbia fires the ball into the box with handball claimed by the Villa fans, before Newcastle break up the other end with Bannan tracking back to clear away.
Lichaj does terrifically this time against Obertan, managing to win his side a goal kick when a corner looked destined to be given.
Lichaj clatters into Obertan, and despite Lambert's touchline protests, that tackle earns the left back a yellow card.
Cabaye tries a Ben Arfa-esque effort from range but it lacks the pace to trouble Guzan and ends up sailing over the bar regardless.
Guzan claims Obertan's ball from the right but his ball out to Bent lands straight at Taylor. It's all Newcastle once more as they pile forward with minutes left to score a winner.
Obertan comes on as Anita makes way.
Clark scuffs his header at the far post from the free-kick as Obertan prepares to arrive for Newcastle.
And that is the midfielder's last act of the game as he comes off for Marveaux.
Yellow card for Gutierrez who hacks down N'Zogbia during a pulsing run through the centre.
Bannan picks up on a loose ball and Agbonlahor charges forward, Newcastle's defenders nowhere near closing in on him before playing Bent, whose shot is blocked incredibly by Bigirimana. Wonderful stuff from the midfielder.
Villa now surge forward with Ireland and Bigirimana frantically vying for possession in the corner until a foul is given against the Villa man.
Both teams are looking really menacing going forward now, as Newcastle take their turn to attack with Clark clearing from Cabaye's delivery.
Guzan receives treatment and is back on his feet, before Agbonlahor plays in Ireland whose half volley from the edge of the area flashes wide in Villa's best chance of the second half.
Ba exquisitely slips the ball through Lowton's legs, with Villa looking to tire as Guzan bravely dives at the striker's feet, taking a knock in the process but winning the ball.
Newcastle press forward once more but Gutierrez's ball finds only the path of Clark. Moments later he tries again but this time it's Vlaar who makes the clearance.
Great chance for Villa after a controversial corner sees Bannan find Bent at the far post, his header taking a slight touch that takes it away from goal.
Clark's header puts the ball out to Anita, whose delivery into the box is met by Ba but the striker's header narrowly drops on to the roof of the net. It's all Newcastle right now.
Cabaye tests Bannan down the right and wins his side yet another corner which the big defensive guns come up for.
N'Zogbia makes his introduction as El Ahmady hobbles off for Villa.
Lowton concedes a corner using his hand, which isn't penalised by the referee as El Ahmadi now receives treatment for what looks like a calf injury.
Bent is tended to by the medics as N'Zogbia prepares for another return to his old stomping ground.
Bent takes a wallop to the face, incredibly conceding a corner from 40 yards out but more worrying for the Villa striker he has stayed down from the shot.
Holman tangles with Gutierrez in a scrappy passage of play that sees Newcastle win a throw-in. The hosts are starting to ascend now as Cisse sees his long range effort smack the back of Clark.
Crickey. An unusually terrible effort from Ben Arfa flies over the bar and a good chance is wasted.
Ba wins a free-kick 25 yards out, and despite looking to play it short, this is surely Ben Arfa territory.
Change for the hosts as Agbonlahor replaces Weimann, his first appearance of the season.
Villa surge forward but they just can't find a way through Coloccini, who carries on his run as Newcastle break but Anita's ball over the top is far too heavy for him to reach.
Lichaj stays strong and does fantastically to prevent a corner being conceded against the effective Ben Arfa.
Villa are straight back up the other end as Weimann does brilliantly to find space to shoot before poking an effort straight at Krul.
What a goal. Ben Arfa picks the ball up and shows incredible class by rifling home a beauty into the far right corner. Newcastle are on level terms again and it's game on at the Sports Direct Arena!
GOAL! Ben Arfa scores!
Poor communication between Santon and Cabaye results in the latter giving the ball away to El Ahmady as the home fans show their displeasure.
Ba backs into El Ahmady and concedes the free-kick as Newcastle's frustrations continue in front of their fans so far this afternoon.
Guzan makes a rare mistake in playing a poor ball out to Lichaj, but Villa retain their shape and push Newcastle back as they look to break.
The ball lands on the head of Bent from the corner but he is hounded by Taylor and the ball lands with the fans behind goal.
Anita is forced to head behind from Weimann's ball into the box, the striker doing excellently to keep the ball in the process.
Weimann again competes with Coloccini but the defender holds him off well to deny what would have been a one-on-one with Krul.
Ben Arfa comes close again, latching on to Anita's ball from the right but his header is straight down the throat of Guzan.
Weimann looks to get Lowton involved down the right but he catches him unawares and it ends up with a Newcastle throw-in after some nice passing from Villa.
Bent tries his luck from the edge of the area but a lunge from Santon keeps it away from goal as Newcastle surge forward with Guzan claiming Bigirimana's ball bravely.
Weimann again battles with Coloccini but the Newcastle defender wins out again despite the visitors looking very strong at the moment.
Lichaj retrieves the ball from the corner but his delivery is straight into Krul. Moments later, Ben Arfa takes aim but can only direct his shot wide.
Villa have stormed out the traps here as Ireland and Lowton link up to continue a good spell of pressure that ends up with another corner.
Good early pressure from Holman as the Villa winger earns a corner off Taylor. Krul claims comfortably in the end though.
Newcastle get the game back underway.
The players are back on the pitch and we're ready to get underway with the second half.
Mixing things up with a confident Villa fan now, here's Nick Alpe, who writes: "Villa have got the taste of a goal away from home and are hungry for more. 0-4 Aston Villa!!! (Bent to score next!)"
Luke Paul is still confident at the break. He writes: "I think 2-1 to Newcastle. Villa have a bad track record up there and I can't see them maintaining such a slender lead."
An entertaining half sees Villa lead at the break with both teams guilty of spurning chances in front of goal. Send those second half predictions to email@example.com or tweet @JWoodfield365
HALF TIME. Newcastle 0 Aston Villa 1.
Another good chance goes begging for the hosts as Bigirimana drops the ball into the six-yard box but it's just behind Cisse and he can only head wide.
The options dry up for Bent as he looks to set himself for a shot, with Taylor charging in to make the tackle as Newcastle now look to break.
Bent's header to Weimann is brilliant and the striker goes for the chip from a tricky position which isn't too far away from goal but Krul had it covered all the way.
Cabaye lifts the ball over the top for Cisse but the striker drifts marginally offside past Vlaar and the assistant raises his flag.
Ireland is played through wonderfully by Bannan, but he needelessly takes a touch back and allows Coloccini in to make the tackle.
Ba has another try, this time from a bit further out, and lacking the pace of his earlier drive, it makes for a comfortable save for Guzan.
Lowton takes a crunching in a tackle with Santon, but despite looking in some distress the right back is back on his feet and ready to resume.
An untidy passage of throw concludes with Newcastle winning a throw-in off Ireland, before the hosts push forward with Ba's drive flashing wide of Guzan's goal.
Taylor forces Krul into a rushed clearance and Villa regain control of the ball without making too much progress in the final third.
And that's it for Simpson. His game is over as Bigirimana comes on to replace him.
Simpson is down clutching his hamstring as play is brough to a halt. The defender clashed with Ireland and he will now receive treatment.
Holman searches for Bent through the centre but Coloccini sees the ball coming and clears the danger for Newcastle.
Ireland and Bent look to link up but Taylor intercepts quite calmly before Villa get back on the ball and look to build up some possession.
Newcastle continue to surge forward with Villa looking rather powerless right now. They get a bit of luck though as Lowton's tackle with Gutierrez sees the ball go for a Villa goal kick.
Gutierrez skips past Lowton but Guzan, who is having an outstanding game, claims the delivery and sets Villa away again.
Brilliant chance for the hosts. The corner is held up by Ba before Cisse's rocket takes a touch behind for a corner. Moments later from the corner, Anita fires into the side netting. Newcastle are getting nearer and the fans can sense it.
Cabaye is found over the top of Lichaj and it's a challenge from the left-back that ends up conceding a corner.
Santon collides with Weimann and now Villa feel aggrieved as no free-kick is given. Really lively at the Sports Direct Arena and the atmosphere is tremendous.
El Ahmadi commits yet another foul, this time on Simpson, and this time he picks up a booking as a result.
Newcastle clearly feel aggrieved after the two penalty claims were dismissed, and things don't get better as Taylor heads over from the free-kick barely 10 yards out.
Bent is on hand to clear away a Newcastle corner at the near post but the hosts have responded well as Weimann is penalised for a trip on Ben Arfa, when moments earlier Ba was claiming another penalty after he was felled in the area under Lichaj.
As Newcastle fail to clear their lines from the corner, Bannan is picked out on the left, drifting a fine ball into Clark, who is inexplicably unmarked, to head home the opening goal of the game. 1-0 to Villa!
GOAL! Clark scores!
Ireland does well against Simpson, winning a corner for Villa which the big guns Clark and Vlaar will travel up for.
Second shot on target for Bent who cuts past Taylor and fires at the near post which Krul is more than equal to.
Krul ends up claiming the corner off Taylor's header and the Magpies break with Ben Arfa, who torments Lichaj before Villa push the hosts back up the field.
Great chance for Villa. Lichaj's cross into the box is flicked on by Weimann to Bent who draws an excellent save from Krul. Corner to Villa.
Villa again look to break from a Newcastle set-piece but the delivery is again poor as Bannan fails to find Weimann, albeit who was running right alongside Taylor.
Santon did brilliantly to get down the left and there are claims for a penalty as he falls in the box under Lowton with nothing given. The defender clearly felt it should have been a penalty.
Simpson's delivery from the right is this time met by the head of Clarke, before Villa break again with Coloccini striking lucky to get in the way of Ireland's ball to Weimann.
Lichaj searches for Weimann but it's a poor ball over the top giving the striker no chance of retrieving it.
Ben Arfa's storming run nearly results in a lovely link-up with Cisse but Vlaar eventually gets in the way and stabs the ball clear.
Lowton takes Ben Arfa's sprayed ball to Santon superbly, and Villa look to break with Ireland before Newcastle get the bodies back and push the visitors back.
The combative El Ahmadi fouls Ben Arfa but Cabaye's free-kick is first cleared by Clark before Guzan claims the second ball in.
Villa work the ball from right to left but Lichaj shows too much to Simpson and a promising move comes to an end.
Simpson makes progress down the right before drifting a ball into the box which is again cut out thanks to a comfortable save from Guzan.
A mazy run from Ben Arfa is eventually ended after tackles by El Ahmadi and Ireland, before Vlaar makes amends with a good tackle on Ba.
Vlaar gives the ball away to Ben Arfa but Villa retain their shape as Bent tracks back to deny Santon a route down the left.
Vlaar looks for Holman down the right but Santon tracks the winger's run all the way and calmly sees the ball out of play.
Villa push up with a series of throw-ins, holding the ball up nicely as their young side look to settle at the Sports Direct Arena.
First chance of the game falls to the Magpies as Coloccini meets Cabaye's free-kick and earns a corner. A good early claim from Guzan will settle any pre-match nerves though.
Lovely move from Newcastle early on as Santon keeps the ball in the play off the corner flag before Vlaar heads his cross away.
Aston Villa get the game underway.
Villa fans seem decisively pessimistic ahead of this game, with Matt King tweeting: "Don't think even the most optimistic Villa fan can expect us to get off the bottom today with that line up, 2-0 Newcastle."
A young man called Luke bravely tweets: "if Villa win today I'll Run round my street naked!!!!!" Well, I'll find you and hold you to that Luke.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Lichaj, Holman, El Ahmadi, Ireland, Bannan, Weimann, Bent. Subs: Given, Baker, Agbonlahor, N'Zogbia, Burke, Bowery, Williams
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Anita, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Ba, Cisse. Subs: Williamson, Gosling, Amalfitano, Birgimania, Marveaux, Obertan, Harper.
Here are the teams...
Good afternoon everybody and welcome to the Sports Direct Arena (St James' Park) for the Barclays Premier League clash between Newcastle and Aston Villa. If you'd like to drop me a line today you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @JWoodfield365
Kick-off is at 1600 BST...