Newcastle Preview: Will Arsenal Be On Song Or Out Of Toon?

I knew the season was upon us when I penned last night’s 2019-20 preview. Yes, the Premier League began on Friday but the matches so far all had the air of preseason friendly about them.

The matches played so far by last season’s top teams were depressingly familiar. Despite playing badly or being out of sorts, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham ran out comfortable winners.

Two promoted teams and West Ham aren’t tough tests; however, the manner in which the three were swatted aside suggests another procession for the Champions League places.

So, along comes the spanner in the works. That’s what Unai Emery’s team hope to be; the wrecking ball which smashes through those getting too comfortable in their Premier League positions. Like we were when the top four was the be-all and end-all of our seasons. Even if we squandered the money.

Arsenal travel to Newcastle United; the Premier League proper begins. The Barcodes have a new manager and like everyone else, spent money like there’s no tomorrow this summer.

I can’t help but think that losing Benitez and Perez will hurt them more than they think. However, local lad Joe Linton makes his debut and the Gallowgate is hoping for another hero. We’ve got an accommodating defence.

Saed Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil are absent for well-documented reasons. David Luiz, fresh from frollicking on the London Colney turf, might start; it’s a risk but Sideshow Bob is always one footstep away from being a risk.

The gambolling around Hertfordshire’s green pastures makes him the likely debutant for Arsenal. Dani Ceballos, given Ozil’s enforced absence, surely starts as well.

These are exciting times when you’re wondering which of the new signings will start. Will they improve the team? Does Ceballos fit Emeryball better than Ozil? What is Emeryball?

Pepe Talk

I don’t think Nicolas Pepe will start but you can’t rule it out. Alexandre Lacazette training with the first team following his calf injury suggests the club-record signing will be on the bench. Pepe’s pace, however, is likely to draw an ‘oh f**k’ reaction from tiring defenders when he emerges in the second half.

Without a natural fit on the wing, we’ll likely be playing a narrow 4-3-1-2 with width provided by Nacho Monreal and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Yes, the defensive gaps will appear when they go forward but sit Torreira, Guendouzi and Xhaka in front of them and we’ll have some barrier.

Or we should have. A repeat of the first-half performance in the Camp Nou is, as I mentioned last night, the benchmark. Pivotal to that was Joe Willock; Ozil played then so there’s no issue with him and Ceballos in the same team. Is today his chance?

If Nicolas Pepe is knackered from the summer, the same applies to Lucas Torreira after Copa America. As was observed in one of the commentaries this weekend, seasons don’t end anymore. International tournaments mean they merge almost seamlessly into one another.

Who Willock replaces is the question. Guendouzi seems likeliest but if Torreira is tired, Joe fits in nicely alongside the Frenchman and Xhaka. And there is plenty of opportunity for a Jimi Hendrix reference in the headline.

Which, with kick-off fast approaching, is time to delve into the line-up:

Leno; Maitland-Niles, Luiz, Sokratis, Monreal; Xhaka, Guendouzi, Willock; Ceballos; Lacazette, Aubameyang

Nelson in a more orthodox 4-3-3? Possibly, particularly if Torreira starts. We’ll soon find out.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

73 thoughts on “Newcastle Preview: Will Arsenal Be On Song Or Out Of Toon?

  1. Michael says:

    I would like to see J Willock get an outing today, he looks to be a decent prospect.
    The 2 guys who have been charged look to have very Turkish names, but that could be coincidental.
    Looking for a comfortable win today with a clean sheet, I live in hope.

  2. Paulie Walnuts says:

    I think UE will go with Mikhi rather than Ceballos.

  3. C says:

    Its finally that time and Yogi brings us in with a quality post.

    Pepe, Torriera, Lacazette should all start on the bench. I would go more traditional 433:


    Mhkitaryan knows this is his chance with Ozil out and Pepe still not fully fit/coming back from AFCON, he performs or gets subbed off.

    Personally I would prefer Willock and Guendouzi but fancy Xhaka will get the nod. Could swap Willock for Guendouzi too.

    Lets start the season with a proper smashing of the barcodes.

  4. C says:

    I do feel for both Ozil, Sead and their families.

  5. C says:

    Teams news is in:


    Subs: Martinez, Luiz, Torriera, Pepe, Ceballos, Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli

  6. C says:


    The more you read about it, it really does feel like this is something that they have been going through even beyond the initial video.

  7. Kadeet says:

    Willock and Nelson are starting, great competition for places is in the team this season which is wonderful!

  8. Andy1886 says:

    Really weak down our right side. If I were Newcastle I’d target AMN and Chambers. Not much help from Mikhi I would think

  9. Damon says:

    Teams news is in:


    Subs:Martinez, Luiz, Torriera, Pepe, Ceballos, Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli

    Pretty tasty bench we’ve got there! Interested to see how Chambers gets on there

  10. Bufallo says:

    Pleased to see willock and nelson starting.
    Chambers, well thank god we’re playing newcastle

  11. Mongolian Gooner says:

    2 – Arsenal have named two English teenagers (Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson) in their starting XI for a Premier League game for the first time since February 1998 (Paolo Vernazza and Matthew Upson vs Crystal Palace), before either Willock or Nelson were born. Future.

  12. C says:


    That bench is mouth-watering. Big match for Chambers and Mhkitaryan.

  13. C says:

    Mustafi to Monaco has been gaining quite some traction and I fancy it will pick up even more steam!

    And were off….

  14. C says:

    Midfield and attack look to be:


  15. C says:

    Guendouzi looks physically stronger in midfield. Could really see Xhaka being reduced if Guendouzi, Willock and Ceballos show the talent they have.

  16. C says:

    I’m not sure Mhkitaryan or Xhaka have connected on one pass to an Arsenal player.

  17. Andy1886 says:

    Was that Mikhi? Terrible attempt from the cut back.

  18. Andy1886 says:

    Very scrappy game, many of the old habits till evident, but early days yet.

  19. C says:

    Lacazette, Pepe, Ceballos on…..Mhkitaryan, Xhaka, Nelson(only cause he’s on a yellow) off…..

  20. Andy1886 says:

    @Adam, playing out from the back is fine, but sometimes it’s the wrong option and we seem very one dimensional. Throw in the occasional longer ball at least to mix it up.

  21. Damon says:

    That was pretty horrendous. Can’t remember our passing being this poor for 45 mins in a long time

    I expect at least one change at half time. Pepe for Mickey Mouse?

  22. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    Mkhitaryan is woeful. Slow, passing is atrocious (minus one good over the top ball), offering nothing on the wing.

    I don’t care how, but we need to win it. No Ozil, Kola, Tierney, Ceb, Laca or Pepe this week, just get it over the line.

    Why we are so narrow i don’t know. But Xhaka needs to stop slowing the pace of play down, he and monreal look happy to pass it back and forward to papa instead of pushing it forward.

  23. C says:

    Pepe, Ceballos and Lacazette all sent to warm-up…..

  24. C says:

    Maitland-Niles does absolutely brilliantly there and Aubameyang won’t miss those!!!!

  25. C says:

    Ceballos coming on for Willock.

    He had a good game for sure.

  26. Adam Singh says:

    Nice finish there from Aubameyang. Now wee need to push on and kill off the match.

  27. C says:

    Mhkitaryan and Xhaka are were moves go to die and quick counters turn into slow passing moves…..

  28. Damon says:

    We look so laboured restarting from goal kicks and throw ins

  29. C says:

    Good way to start the season: 3 points, Aubameyang gets his goal and a clean sheet.

  30. Woolwich Freddie says:

    We won away! Scarcity value in these troubled times.
    Pleasantly pleased with Chambers today.
    A mixed bag overall. A little more confident and organized but still giving the ball away too much.
    Atkinson’s refereeing as baffling as ever. Glad we got him out of the way in a low leverage game.

  31. C says:


    Agree but early days and very much makeshift XI.

    Fully think we will see much better next week.

  32. JonJon says:

    take that
    nowhere near a first team on the field, 3 points, clean sheet,

    good start

  33. SV says:

    Couldn’t have asked for more in this first game.

    Good start.

  34. C says:

    Even in brief cameos, you could absolutely see what Ceballos, Pepe and Gabriel will bring. Ceballos constantly wanted to get on the ball and drive the team forward. Pepe is so strong but the skill too. Gabriel was a willing runner who worked for the team but also has plenty of pace and skill.

    Really liked what I saw from Guendouzi who looks more solid. Always wanting to push the team forward, keep things moving quickly and defensively was doing his job. Could this have been the last starts for Mhkitaryan and Xhaka baring injury….

  35. Woolwich Freddie says:


    It’s easy to take Guendouzi for granted already but we really need his tenacity and work rate in there. I think the key to our success will be playing two such players in the middle. Torreira is the obvious candidate. It won’t be Xhaka.

  36. Masterstroke says:

    Bellerin’s not going to walk back into this team if Maitland-Niles continues like that. People say he’s playing out of position, but I think he’s made this his position and probably knows that he won’t get into the team in midfield with the players ahead of him. Chambers (who had a decent game against a limited attack) also has to work hard to keep his spot now that Luiz is in the squad & Holding due back in a few weeks. This was a good game for the young English players who all did well enough although Nelson faded a bit.

  37. JonJon says:

    agree with the above

    AMN was standout today.
    enjoyed watching nelson and willock, but they did seem to fade a tad.
    willock looked absolutely shagged when he came off.

  38. C says:

    Woolwich Freddie,

    Agree, its why I think Torrier next to either Guendouzi or Ceballos is the way forward with naturally Willock being in the mix.

  39. C says:


    Agreed they faded but the one thing I loved about them, neither shied away in attack or doing their defensive work. You can see why Arsenal weren’t afraid to sell Iwobi and gamble on Nelson and Gabriel as the young guns behind Pepe and Aubameyang on the flanks.

  40. Wavey says:

    3 points and job done away from home.

    Wasn’t a great performance, but we were generally in command. Happy days

  41. Wavey says:

    Chelsea look like a very average team. One less to worry about.

  42. Woolwich Freddie says:


    United don’t look much better. They’ll do okay at home though.

  43. Paulie Walnuts says:

    A good win. Not a great performance but good enough.

    Aubameyang is top class. It’s what you pay the big bucks for – your best players to win Shite games like that.

    I thought Chambers did well ( nice not to worry about Mustafi) & Willock & Guendouzi did Xhaka’s running for him.

    Nelson did OK & kept the ball much better than Mikhi but it was certainly a handbrake on day.

    The new signings all looked like they need some time to settle. I hope they get it.

  44. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Paulie Walnuts,

    Auba is definitely that bit of class that pushes you over the line in mundane games like today’s. I was pleased to see him getting on the ball more and taking responsibility as the best player on the pitch, whereas sometimes he can be rather peripheral apart from the finish.

  45. C says:

    United are ripping Chelsea to pieces.

    I think anybody who thought Chelsea wouldn’t struggle are mad….Hazard saved them and has been winning silverware and matches for them almost single-handly since his arrival. They may get better once Kante is fit but FFS.

  46. Woolwich Freddie says:


    I think Chelsea have checked out. It doesn’t feel like any greatness on United’s part beyond taking the chances.

  47. C says:

    Paulie Walnuts,

    I would imagine the new signings looked that way because the way the game was going. You look at Ceballos and he was constantly looking to push forward.

    All in all, a good day at the office.

  48. C says:


    Because Chelsea will struggle but anybody who thinks United are this good are mad. United look a decent side but they are counting on Rashford and Martial to bang in 15+ goals, good luck.

  49. Woolwich Freddie says:

    David Luiz feeling pretty smug right about now.

  50. Paulie Walnuts says:


    Agreed. I’m certainly not about to judge anyone after a few minutes…we may need to give some of these guys a little bit of time to atune to new teammates , different leagues etc

  51. C says:

    Gabriel looked extremely bright to not just attacking but defensively.

  52. Woolwich Freddie says:


    He gave Ritchie some back which is brave.

  53. C says:

    Paulie Walnuts,

    Absolutely, I would imagine we may see 2 or 3 of them next week. Imagine we might see Ceballos, Pepe and Luiz from the off next week.

    Couple things worth note though was just how strong Pepe looked and Ceballos seemed to settle down after a couple of early stray balls. Luiz should start, though Chambers did play quite well. Would much rather have Luiz start against the dark arts of Burnley.

  54. Bill says:

    Great to see a clean sheet on day 1. If Emery can find a way to decrease the number of goals conceded to below 40 then I like our chances to finish in the top 4. Scoring was always going to be difficult today with PEA as the only legitimate goal threat on the pitch and 2 teenagers on the pitch. However assuming reasonable health for our 3 big forwards we should score enough goals and the only thing that will realistically cause us to finish 5th or worse is how many we concede and you can’t do better then we did today.

  55. Bojangles says:

    Not sure this comment will pass moderation… Not sure why my last one didn’t.

    Anyway, it’s rumoured that Juve are going to terminate Khadiera’s contract ND allow him to join another club on a free. Also stated that he turned down a move to another club because he wants to link up with Arsenal. Ok the guy’s 32 and doesn’t fit with our youth policy (if you take out Luiz in this past tw) but he’s a decent player, a genuine dm and certainly an upgrade on Xhaka.

  56. YW says:

    First time commenter is the usual reason generally makes you wait, Bojangles (and everyone else), but so do new usernames and email addresses. So typos catch people in the net.

    Welcome back.

  57. Bojangles says:


    Thanks… Still don’t see my first comment though… Lol

  58. Opus says:


    I agree with you Bill, we need to keep our defense water tight. Last season saw us lose and draw matches even with our noses infront. My understanding of Emery’s tactics is attack and score goals, but it’s useless when still end up conceding to a draw or loss.

Comments are closed.

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: