Newcastle vs. Arsenal preview
With the CSKA Moscow win, and the Atletico Madrid draw in the Europa League, we move onto the Toon on Sunday 15th April.
Benitez is a manager of pedigree, having done something that Wenger hasn’t in fairness (win the Champions League). Nonetheless, he and Wenger have had numerous battles in the past and will relish this game against him.
Newcastle is a big club, and they’re still faithful in large numbers every other week, despite not winning anything since 1969. Imagine if we hadn’t won a trophy since then? Knowing how hyper we can get, we’d probably suffer mass insanity. That said, I believe we’ll win this game, even though it won’t be easy.
End of season
Newcastle are 10th, and it looks like they will stay up. But then they will look to try and get a result against us, and it’s imperative we are strong in all areas.
However, despite the pride of having our scalp as it were, they have little else to play for. They won’t win anything and bar a catastrophe they will not get relegated.
So a possible indifference from them could work in our favour.
Big guns back and with more confidence
The big guns will be back, such as PEA. And Ramsey, Welbz, Ozil, etc. will be ready to play and perform.
If PEA can get 10 goals minimum this season, that’s great going for a newboy. And it bodes well for us, and badly for the Premier League generally, if he bangs in the goals next season. Salah and the N17 mob’s golden boy will have competition for the Golden Boot.
St, James’s Park is a large pitch, and this could suit PEA’s pace and acceleration. This too could benefit Lacazette, and whilst he is not as pacey as PEA, he can use bursts to run into space, and his acceleration could hurt the Toon’s defence.
Benitez is strong tactically, and he will look to rough us up. Possibly even draw on the 4-4 match years ago as inspiration. His victories against us at Liverpool were often based on strong tactical preparation, namely the Champions League games. Yes, this was many years ago now, but then Rafa is still a top manager and will look to devise a plan for us.
It’s important that we keep a good shape, and counter any effort to contain our game. We lost at Bournemouth, Swansea, and Brighton, due to mental lapses. We cannot afford any of such things in this game.
Law of averages
Look, we have to win an away game sometime, right? Right??
I believe it’s this time. It won’t be easy, but I do think we’ll shade it.
We do hold a good record at St. James’s Park, and haven’t lost there in a while. Even when they were good in PL history, we didn’t do badly. We got some good results there during the tenures of Keegan, Dalglish, and the late, great Sir Bobby. So we can do it again, even though they’re a far level below the team that almost won the league in 1996, or finished third in 2002.
So I’m confident we can win here.
The comeback of sorts in Russia will instil good vibes. Or it should.
However, we may still have the same defensive woes. It’s not to be negative, but then it’s apparent that we have an inherent defensive malaise. Though we are winning games of late, and even though we’re facing Atletico soon, we are for once doing well in a European competition. The fact, for this season at the least, there is no Messi or Bayern to haunt us can translate into
Newcastle United 1-3 Arsenal
Newcastle won’t be a pushover. They will want some pride, and with a likely sell-out, the Geordie public will want a good win and good performance.
However, I have a good feeling this will be the time we get an away win.
Even a 1-0, like in 2015 and 2013, would be good. Though unfortunately, Tottenham won’t have the same need to celebrate any faux equalisers against us. Gareth Bale now is too busy winning Champions Leagues, beating Juve, and playing alongside one of the all-time greats, to care about sneaking us for the Champions League.