NEWCASTLE UNITED FC
The Emirates Stadium, North London
November 7, 2010, 07:00 PM IST (13:30 B.S.T)
Arsenal, after a minor setback in midweek against Shakhtar, would want to get things back on track in the league as they face the Magpies at home. Having already thrashed the same team a few days back in the League Cup with a relatively weaker side, the Gunners wouldn’t want to make a meal of this particular fixture. With difficult fixtures coming up in November, Arsenal need to keep their heads down and ensure three points are obtained with minimal fuss. These are the fixtures that have eluded Arsenal from the title-race in previous seasons. ‘Just turning up’ for the day is certainly not enough to win a league game at home, especially with the kind of form the opponents are in. Newcastle United surprised everybody with a 5-1 thrashing handed over to rivals Sunderland in their previous league game.
Team News and Tactical Brief:
Arsene Wenger got the boost of his life after hearing the recovery news of most of his important players. Captain, talisman Cesc Fabregas is back and would directly slot into his attacking midfield role. It would be interesting to see how the manager fits Jack Wilshere into the team with the captain back. Other returnees would be Andrei Arshavin, in-form Alex Song and Denilson, all of them almost certain to see some action on Sunday. With the goal-scoring form that Theo Walcott is, it would be really difficult for the manager to keep him out of the Starting XI, which would mean sacrificing the woefully out-of-form Andrei Arshavin. It would be a good thing for the Russian, who needs to be told ‘you ain’t performing, you don’t start for Arsenal‘, as simple as that.
Among long-term absentees, Aaron Ramsey is still a bit short from returning back to training, Robin Van Persie has got a shocking call-up from his International manager, he would probably be available for Arsenal in a week’s time, that is if he doesn’t break some bones in mid-week. Thomas Vermaelen is still out with ‘an Achilles situation’ while Kieran Gibbs just can’t catch a break as far as injuries are concerned.
With Alex Song back in the center of midfield, shielding the Back Line during dangerous counter-attacks, Arsenal look in much better shape. Cesc Fabregas would be deployed higher in the pitch to link-up with the Moroccan while Samir Nasri and Theo Walcott would be parading the wings and even ‘cutting in’ to score goals for their team. Denilson would be left to do all the ‘dirty work’ all over the pitch. The Back-line stays same with the ever-so-reliable Sagna in-place of Eboue on the Right Full Back position. With Almunia still out due to heart-break, Fabianski keeps his place and quite rightly so.
Possible Starting Line-Up: Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy, Theo, Cesc, Nasri, Song, Denilson, Chamakh
The Arsenal fans won’t get a chance to watch one of their legendary former Centers Backs Sol Campbell as the man is out with a thigh injury. The nonsensical tackle of a certain Dutchman few weeks back denies ace attacker Ben Arfa’s participation. Steve Harper’s injury means Tim Krul will be Fabianski’s counterpart at The Emirates. Dan Gosling, out for quite some time now, won’t be back any soon for the travelling Magpies. Even Steven Taylor is out with a shoulder injury for the visitors.
Having won a very important derby match last weekend, the team is high on confidence as they have a tough task in hand. Losing to Arsenal in the league cup means there is a small matter of revenge and even the side that faced the Gunners on that day lacked a lot of big names. With only once victory in the last 15 games played against Wenger’s men, Newcastle United have a daunting task at hand but they would certainly love to upset the high-flying Gunners and continue with their league form. With Andy Carroll around, the visitors certainly have a very decent goal threat to unsettle the hosts.
Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan would need all their league experience in the middle of the park as they go head-to-head against big names in the opponent’s midfield. Guietterez and Ameobi would be given the task of attacking through the flanks as frontman Carroll tries to do what he does best, score goals! Tiote would be protecting the Back Four which includes Argentine Coloccini among others.
Possible Starting Line-up: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Enrique, Tiote, Barton, Nolan, Gutierrez, Ameobi, Carroll
Facts and Trivia:
– Newcastle have scored only two goals in their last seven visits to The Emirates.
– If the visitors win, they would win 3 straight games in a row in the league for the first time since April, 2008.
– Arsenal averages more than three goals in their last three meetings with the Magpies.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Samir Nasri – Nasri is Arsenal’s highest scorer in all competitions this season. The Frenchman, about to sign a new contract at the club, is into his third year and is in top goal-scoring form. Arsenal would want him to take some responsibility off Cesc’s shoulders as far as creativity is concerned.
Arsenal 3 – 1 Newcastle
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST:
Arsenal 3 – 0 Newcastle United, January, 2008.