Heads Up…..on Newcastle
After watching Newcastle’s recent games and getting the opinion of NUFC bloggers, @john_nufc42, @tfalex1892, @PositivelyToon and @ScottyT9804, here is a Heads Up on Arsenal’s next opponents.
1) Insight…. As good as Dubravka is as a shot stopper, he can be weak in physical confrontations and can push rebounds in front of his goal.
Our pace in wide areas will trouble Clark and Fernandez which will no doubt be a focus. Quick transitions exploiting the space between full backs and wide CB’s.
Both Almiron and Saint-Maximin have to be closed down at source.
Almiron is a whippet when allowed to start running and Saint Maximin had elite dribbling numbers (Top 5 in Europe) last season and is returning to the same confidence levels.
Deny them the ball and/or don’t let them turn.
2) Form… After a hugely impressive, if fortunate victory against Chelsea, Newcastle’s recent form has been similar to Arsenal’s. A little of everything with draws and a recent replay victory AET vs Oxford Utd.
Haven’t beaten Arsenal away in 10 seasons.
3) Formation and Potential line up… Likely 5-4-1 with Almiron coming inside often and playing a more free role behind Joelinton.
4) Absent players…. Shelvey will be the biggest miss for Newcastle with a hamstring injury.
Manquillo, Willems and Dummett are first team players who are both out long term. Gayle and Krafth will likely miss as may Andy Carroll, much to Arsenal fans relief.
Joelinton was a doubt but should play.
5) In form players…… Saint Maximin is starting to prove to be a real menace and will need to be double teamed.
Dubravka has over 100 saves this season which speaks to a leaky defence as much as a good shot stopper. More than any other GK in Europe’s top 5 leagues.
Longstaff has had some very good performances recently and Cieran Clark is returning to form.
Lascelles is their most consistent performer.
6) Out of form players…. Much like Lacazette’s lack of form, Joelinton is in the same place. Lacazette has at least put in an admirable physical effort where as Joelinton is often isolated.
Almiron is a real threat, but often more so at home.
Lazaro and Danny Rose will be playing their first away PL game for NU which may be a challenge.
7) Strengths… Pace and individualism in Almiron and ASM. A true threat on the break.
Majority of goals scored in last 10 mins which speaks to a stronger mentality than others around them.
They have a good record against top sides having beaten Spurs, Chelsea and Man Utd.
8) Weaknesses….. Goal-scoring. Sounds like Arsenal, perhaps?
Joelinton has 1 PL goal and, again much like Arsenal, others are not consistently offering goals. Their forward line has only offered 8 goals this season.
He can become hugely isolated as Bruce asks his wide players to track back into deep areas.
Their midfield is largely workmanlike and lacking creativity without Shelvey. Bentaleb may play to add some drive from midfield.
They have the lowest possession numbers of any team in the top 5 leagues in Europe!
The amount of shots they concede is more down to Bruce’s set up.
Unlike lesser teams, Bruce isn’t as adventurous and therefore plays on the back foot. This strategy, however, also leans into the counter attacking talents of Almiron and ASM.
Ball movement can be slow which can kill opportunities for quick attackers.
Injuries are rife and fingers are being pointed at Steve Bruce’s training methods and the clubs training facilities.
9) Patterns of play…. Direct to wide attackers or straight to Joelinton to hold up. As they are uncomfortable in possession it may serve Arsenal well to allow them to possess.
Both wing backs offer threat if NUFC can keep possession long enough to get them high.
10) Possible strategy…. Likely to sit deep but Bruce may look to how many others have attacked Arsenal this season and had success.
PREDICTION….. Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0
Hope you liked the 2nd ‘Heads Up!’
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