So Arsenal travel up to St James Park today aiming to continue their improvement under Unai Emery and after our win at Cardiff he hopes to banish the memory of our awayday blues from last season. Newcastle finished 10th under Rafa Benitez last season, but after a very unimpressive pre-season and even worse transfer window the fans are very angry, especially as they have managed just one point from a 0-0 draw with Cardiff so far in this campaign.
Here is Newcastle’s record over the last 10 games, including pre-season….
So it’s no wonder that there is a protest against Mike Ashley planned for before today’s game so the fans can voice their displeasure. But the fact is that Newcastle only lost by one goal Tottenham, Chelsea and Man City so maybe they are better than the bare form suggests. The Magpies could make it hard for Arsenal today if our defence continues to be ineffective. Benitez has promised to attack Arsenal as he thinks they are vulnerable at the back. He said: “Obviously, Arsenal will be tough, because it’s another top side, but maybe we have a little more chance. Sometimes that’s good and sometimes it’s bad, because you take more risks, but you have to do it.”
But after two wins under their belt the Gunners should be feeling a little more confident, but this will be another big test of whether the team have come to terms with Emery’s tactics. This is what Emery said when he was asked where he is looking for the team to improve against Newcastle. He said: “In the process, and firstly we need to win and I think it is very important that in the last match we won. Our aim away at Newcastle on Saturday is to keep improving things and continue to create our idea, build up our spirit on the pitch, individually and collectively, and it is clear this process is one process. Saturday is another step we can do, it will be difficult but I want to continue [to show] our personality on the pitch and impose this personality on the opposition and to find the win.”
We certainly hope they find the win as well, and we really could do with another away win to give us belief that we can still make the Top Four, and to be honest anything less than three points at troubled Newcastle would be unacceptable to the fans.
As for the Arsenal team news, Laurent Koscielny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sead Kolasinac and Carl Jenkinson remain out. We luckily didn’t get any injuries while the players were away on international duty, but as Xhaka, Lichtsteiner, Welbeck and Sokratis all played on Tuesday they will have fitness tests to test their recovery. I think they should all be okay though. The boss seems determined that Torreira will be introduced slowly, so here is my predicted line-up…..
Bellerin – Mustafi – Sokratis – Monreal
Guendouzi – Xhaka
Ozil – Ramsey – Aubameyang
Emery is determined to stick with this defensive line-up, so we can only hope that they start playing as a unit for once, but I’m not feeling very confident at all!
So I am hoping we score more than them again and will predict a 3-2 win for the Arsenal.