Arsenal face Newcastle at the Emirates today and Arsene Wenger will be expecting to get back to winning ways after losing their 12-game winning home run to Man United last time out. We are yet to win any League game in December so to return to our home ground will be a relief as our away form has been diabolical this season.
So let us look at Arsenal’s recent home games..
In fact before the United game you would have to go back to January to see our last home defeat so we should be definitely confident of getting back to winning ways, Wenger is looking at the positives. “We have been absolutely very strong at home and I think it’s the basis, the foundation of a good season. We want to continue that. That’s why, despite the fact that we were disappointed that we couldn’t win at Southampton or West Ham, at least we haven’t lost. If we can transform our home games into wins, that will not be too bad.”
Now let’s look at Newcastle’s away form…
Rafael Benitez’s side have only won one away game this year, at Swansea three months ago, and their confidence seems to have ebbed away. They are dropping rapidly into the relegation zone with just one point gained from their last 8 games but their luck must change at some point, but not today!
If you looked at chances created, Arsenal should have won their last three games, and Wenger wants to see improvement on that front today, although he expects Newcastle to park the bus as most teams do against Arsenal. “We have to continue to do what we do but we have to do it quicker and better,” Le Prof said. “That means providing our game with more pace, with more penetrating runs, by getting deeper behind the defenders. That’s the target.
“Newcastle are going through a difficult period at the moment so they will first of all try to defend well. It’s down to us. I believe we have to focus, first of all, to continue to keep clean sheets, and as well at home we know we can create chances and that’s what we want to continue to do.”
Our goalscoring record is miles better at home and I’m hoping to see a lot more today, but who will Wenger put on the field? Le Prof has promised a little more rotation, so I am expecting Alexandre Lacazette and Saed Kolasinac to return to the side after being rested on Wednesday. Ramsey and Walcott are definitely out and I don’t think the boss will risk Mustafi coming back too soon. As we are looking for goals I think Wenger will stick with the 4-3-3 he used in midweek, and I’m hoping that Chambers will replace Laurent Koscielny as centre-back as our captain looks in desperate need of a rest, and I am begging for Coquelin to play alongside Wilshere with Xhaka on the bench.
So here is my predicted line-up…
Bellerin Chambers Monreal Kolasinac
Iwobi Coquelin Wilshere
Ozil Lacazette Sanchez
That side should have more than enough to cope with Newcastle, but it is imperative that we don’t make any defensive mistakes and an early goal would be nice to settle the nerves. Although Newcastle rarely win an away game, they usually do score, so my score prediction is going to be 3-1 to the Arsenal…