Saturday night sees the clash of Arsenal and Newcastle United, with both teams in slightly different forms. Arsenal just lost to Stoke City before winning against Galatasary, but before that, they had a 3 game win streak going for them. Newcastle, after a disastrous start, have gone on a 5 game win streak, which also includes the scalp of Chelsea, halting their hopes of an invincible season.
Team News and Tactics
For Arsenal, things have been very rough, especially after yet another defeat to Stoke City. The fallout has been akin to what was seen after the defeat to Aston Villa in the opening game of last season. While the poster politely asking Arsene Wenger to quit was still fine, the booing and abuse the manager received while boarding the subway was totally uncalled for. So, Arsene has a point to prove to these supporters that he’s still the man for the job.
However, it is not going to be very easy, considering that he has to make yet another change in the backline. With the suspension of Chambers against Stoke City, where he picked up 2 yellow cards and got sent off, Wenger is in the unenviable position of making yet another full back converted into a centre back. The lucky defender this time is Mathieu Debuchy, and he is all set to play on the right side of central defence.
While Aaron Ramsey seemed to have been back to his previous season’s form, he’s struck down with a hamstring injury and will be out for at least a month. Wenger will have the services of Sanchez, Welbeck and Giroud back, and they should slot right back into the team.
Predicted Line Up: Szczesny, Gibbs, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Flamini, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanchez, Welbeck, Giroud
After a horrible start to the season, Alan Pardew seems to have got the team back on track, with 6 wins from their last 8 games giving them a push to get closer to the Europa League places. They will take a lot of confidence from the game against Chelsea, whom they stopped from marching unchecked, and in the process destroying their hopes of a possible invincible season.
However, Arsenal may not be the same proposition, as they will completely tuned to the match, with no distractions at all. After the disaster of Stoke, they wouldn’t want another defeat and Newcastle need to be aware of that.
Steven Taylor is suspended for the Magpies, as is Moussa Sissoko. However, they see the return of Daryl Janmaat, who will be a handy addition to the defence for Newcastle. They are the only team in the Premier League who haven’t scored in the first 30 minutes of a game, and if Arsenal score early, it will be an uphill battle for Newcastle to try and continue their winning form.
Predicted Line Up: Alnwick, Janmaat, Dummett, Williamson, Coloccini, Streete, Haidara, Tiote, Anita, Cabella, Colback
Arsenal are not in a good sequence when it comes to Premier League games, having lost 3 of their last 5. However, they have only lost once in the Emirates Stadium.
In the last 6 games, Arsenal haven’t scored even once in the first half of the game. Likewise, Newcastle haven’t scored in the first 30 minutes of any of their Premier League games this season.
Since the beginning of last season, Newcastle have been awarded the most number of red cards than any other team.
While Newcastle will seek to keep the momentum going, Arsenal would be the more hungrier team, wanting to prove their detractors wrong. Also, they haven’t lost much in their home games, so this could very well swing the way of the gunners, especially after Alexis Sanchez getting some much needed rest.
Predicted Score: Arsenal 2-1 Newcastle United