Two games in four days, three games in seven days it’s all coming fast and furious for all teams in the league this period. Hardly enough time for players to recover from small knocks that regular back to back weekend games would afford them. It might be fun for fans like us watching at home but for the players who have the task of putting up top performances thrice in the space of a week it sure is an arduous task hence the need for managers to give the whole squad an opportunity to play to keep everyone fresh for the second half of the season.
We off to St. James’ Park for this one, a ground where we won by a lone goal last season to see us qualify for the Champions League. The Toon Army are having their best spell of the season thus far winning 7 of their last 9 games. Victories which included wins at home to Chelsea and away to Manchester United, they seem to benefiting from not competing in the Europa league this year, a feat they had to deal with last term which saw they hang more around the bottom of the league exactly what Swansea seem to be struggling with now. Any team with a squad like theirs would struggle with playing Thursdays and weekends hence the need for Europa cup specialists Tottenham Hotspurs massive recruitment of average players to see them through the Europa. Smugs
Manager Alan Pardew and his ‘French Team B’ were under immense pressure early in the season and they seem to have turned it around. Confidence is brewing in the side and you can tell from Alan’s comment how they rate this encounter
“We’ve set ourselves up for what will be an intriguing encounter and we’ll probably know a little bit more about this team after Arsenal,” Pardew said. “We’ve been on an incredible run really. I’m not sure if any team has beaten that run over the last nine or 10 games this season, not even Arsenal.” – Alan Pardew
It’s easy to keep the spirit high in a camp when you are winning games and Newcastle have done just that. Watched a few Castle games and it’s easy to see the why they have been so consistent. Debuchy, Williamson, Krul, Gouffran (7 goals)are all playing at a high level. Loic Remy was and still is heavily linked with Arsenal and his 10 goals so far has shown why. Whether he plays in a 4-4-2 with Amoebi or alone upfront he sure is a dangerous player and one I think our manager should be looking at signing.
Pretty certain no Arsenal fan would have taken Cabaye over Ozil and I still wouldn’t but Cabaye has shown why the manager put in a bid for him. After annoying the fans by going on strike early on, he is back in the team and seems to be the fulcrum for all Newcastle attacks as well as getting in amongst the goals too. Three in his last 3 games and five in all thus far makes him a man our midfield should pay attention to.
Wenger’s has intimated that he would rest some of his players during this rush of games and after rubbishing my predicted line up last time out I am not inclined to doing one today. However, I would assume it’s all dependent on what he intends to do with Podolski. I presume Poldi won’t start as Wenger is always very cautious with returning players, see how many games it took for Theo to start a game on his return.
Ramsey’s injury should see Cazorla start in the middle and Rosicky out on the left, Wilshere is available again and could come in for Ozil however with the form Newcastle are in the manager might want his summer signing on the pitch and rest him for Cardiff. It’s just nice to have so many permutations, gone were the days early in the season when we had Frimpong on the bench.
Newcastle will be tough to break down but break them down we must. Just goes to show the quality in the Premiership now where you are have to earn every single point when you play against any side in the top half of the league. The top four always cancel themselves out and beating a team like Newcastle away from home that has taken points off Chelsea and United already would be massive for our title challenge. To win the league we might need another run of victories like we had at the start of the season and our next set of fixtures in January would be a good run of games to get full points from, Newcastle would be a great place to launch it.
Prediction: Newcastle 1- Arsenal 2
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