Newcastle Preview: The Door Is Open, Barge Right Through

After yesterday’s results, Newcastle United arrive at the Emirates with us all hoping the cruellest April Fools joke doesn’t end up being played on us.

The fixture has all the makings of a home banker. We’ve won the last nine at home in the Premier League, they are without a win in their last seven on the road and lost all five of their visits to the other teams in the top six.

Complacency can sit in the stands for this one; the players must be focused on the job in hand. There’s no reason to think they will believe otherwise. It’s the beginning of a tough run of fixtures with a match every three days after the trip to Everton.

That’s thinking too far ahead. A win takes us third in a match Unai believes will “is going to be very difficult.” It’s the usual pre-match spiel; “Newcastle are in a good moment…a lot good players…coach has a lot of experience”, all designed to fuel the players in their preparations.

It’s been three weeks since the last match in the Premier League and four fewer since beating Rennes. The intensity of both performances must be repeated tonight. It’s a time when Emery’s Arsenal sides are at their best; properly focused and in an opponents face from kick-off.

The talk at Friday’s press conference centered on Denis Suarez. Emery made it clear his compatriot is part of his plans despite an extraordinarily slow start:

He is OK for starting in the first XI, to give us this impact. We are going to need everybody, every player for the next matches.

Emery on Suarez

Injuries and Suspensions

Suarez’s inclusion may be enforced; Xhaka was missing from the photos of yesterday’s training session while Ramsey is the other major doubt. While I’d expect Guendouzi to drop in for the former, Suarez seems the natural fit for the later.

It depends largely on whether we’re playing with a back four or three. With Torreira banned, Xhaka’s fitness is more pivotal to team selection. I’d guess at a back three if both are missing.

Leno; Mustafi, Koscielny, Sokratis; Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Kolasinac; Ozil; Lacazette, Aubameyang

The natural width is from the wing-backs. However, they will need to wary of the threat from Newcastle’s flanks. Rondon is a target man and the barcodes are not averse to slinging in crosses toward him. Koscielny and Sokratis are set for a busy night.

However, the main threat is the players off the main striker; Perez and Almiron. The latter we were, of course, linked with. We always are. Despite being in the Europa League, we’re still the London club everyone is linked with.

Their presence gives the visitors counter-attack some potency, enough to keep us on our toes.

But that’s enough of Newcastle. We’re aiming for third and in a pressure game. We’ll respond; of course we will. Despite being in transition, getting to know new tactics and management, we’re in control of third place. It’s in our hands, our destiny. A win and we’re there for this week; thereafter others must still third from us.

We know it’s not going to be an easy run-in but this, as the first fixture, is eminently winnable. And I expect us to do so, by a couple of goals.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

28 thoughts on “Newcastle Preview: The Door Is Open, Barge Right Through

  1. Saint Julian. Back in action this weekend. Saw him on said mike stand a few times. Provocative fucker.
    Like Idles. Saw them last week in Cardiff. Mental.
    They are on BBC iPlayer radio 6 festival sessions. Bob. Get on it.

    As a Jock in exile, I have been avoiding football for 2 weeks. Tonite tonite.

  2. Hoping for a performance today. If i was Newcastle I would be counter attacking, sending long balls into the channel between Ainsley & Mustafi. I made up some excuse to ditch work so i’ll be on the couch enjoying a cold new england IPA , as well as some other plants related to the hop family. It looks like hops too but you dont drink it.

    Was really hoping chelsea would continue to bottle it but they got lucky on the weekend. First goal the dude was standing on the goal line, ran back a few steps but was still clearly offside… Not sure VAR is the answer to all our problems but some of these offsides goals should take what 30 seconds to review? If it’s not clear cut, dont overturn it. if it is, it’s easy to see and shouldnt take more then a minute or two.

  3. Rambos in, as is Mustafi. No Kos, not even on bench.
    Back 3.
    AMN and Kola in wings.
    Iwobi in , PEA on bench.
    Solid start, soften em up ,then smash em to bits. Or something like that I hope
    COYG

  4. Leno
    Mustai—-Sokaritis—-Nacho
    Maitland-Niles—–Guendouzi—–Ramsey—-Sead
    ———–Ozil————-Iwobi
    ——————–Lacazette

    Subs: Cech, Elneny, Suarez, Jenkinson, Mkhitaryan, Nketiah, Aubameyang

  5. Nooners gooners,

    This, is exactly the kind of match that has frustrated me for years. Fairly easy opposition, pivotal game, bottled.

    I’ve got a little more faith this time around.

  6. Ozil and Rambo are …. bossing this so far. Yes. Bossing. I can’t believe that’s what I came up with either.

  7. Our left hand side is working so well at the moment. And I love Laca’s worrate around the field.

  8. We are slacking and there’s too much football left to play. One goal lead and slacking, a fair recipe for disappointment.

  9. I have to admit I never would have believed we could be in 3rd place at this point in the season. Long way to go and a lot of road games left but I think we just equaled the number of points we collected all of last season. Those who doubted Emery and questioned his decisions and his man management earlier in the season only have to look at that stat to know just how much we have improved compared to last season.

    The difference in the last couple of months has been our defense. Full credit to Emery for that.

  10. My respect for Ramsey has really skyrocketed. He could have called in sick for the rest of this season but he has been working just as hard as ever and he has been more effective since January

  11. I think Emery managed the players he has, the schedule, and the workload over the course of the season much better than Wenger.

    We either used to start strong then falter, or start bad then finish strong.

    I think we had a dip mid-season, but we had a good 22 game run in the start and now we are finishing also strong.

    So overall, of course Emery is showing much improvement, especially this is his 1st season in the PL.

    Wenger was done years ago and was running on fumes, he probably had a cookie cutter preparation for every season the same as the previous one.

    Glad he’s gone…..

  12. Bill:
    My respect for Ramsey has really skyrocketed. He could have called in sick for the rest of this season but he has been working just as hard as ever and he has been more effective since January

    /blockquote>

    I agree, he may still come back to Arsenal and be our Captain for a year or two and then retire.

    He’s a good man Ramsey

  13. 3rd clean sheet in a row, Ozil and Ramsey bossing midfield (in arguably the roles that saw Ramsey have his best season with he making late runs and Ozil dropping that bit deeper to give him, Lacazette and Aubameyang space) Aubameyang and/or Lacazette score again. Lets keep the momentum going.

  14. C

    Yes. I don’t think he has improved the players individually but clearly he has made the team as a whole better. A rising tide raises all ships.

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