Newcastle United vs Arsenal
Venue: St James’s Park
TV: Sky Sports Premier League
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Arsenal v Newcastle has brought us someone the great Premier League encounters, from the four goal comeback by Newcastle in a stunning 4-4 draw in February 2011 to the thrilling 3-1 Newcastle win in 2001 at Highbury – one of the great forgotten Premier League classics which saw Bobby Robson’s Newcastle go top of the Premier League on a controversial night at Christmas.
The reason for wallowing in nostalgia is to bring some enjoyment to this preview because Sunday’s encounter is unlikely to be as compelling.Embed from Getty Images
Rafa Benitez has slowly, patiently and methodically taken Newcastle to the brink of safety, with the Geordie side ten points clear of the bottom three. Arsenal eschewed the new trend in elite European competition of throwing away three goal leads by only allowing CSKA to pull back two goals of the 4-1 deficit, before pulling clear to win 6-3 and book a semi-final against Athletico Madrid.
With both sides having little to play for, intensity levels are likely to be low and another Newcastle Arsenal classic is unlikely.
Arsenal are still missing Ospina, Maitland Niles, Cazorla and Mkhitaryan on varying degrees of long term injury with both Xhaka and Ramsey now rated 50/50 to be available. Newcastle have no significant first team players injured and significantly have no jetlag from Russia to deal with.Embed from Getty Images
Add this to a raucous home crowd and just a fourth Arsenal away win this season seems unlikely. The Gunners’ only hope may lie with Aubameyang continuing the prolific start he has made to his Arsenal career, netting five goals in his last four Premier League games.
Predicted Starting XI’s
Newcastle: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lejune, Lascelles, Dummett; Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy; Perez; Gayle
Arsenal: Cech; Chambers, Holding, Mustafi, Kolasinac; Elneny, Wilshere; Iwobi, Welbeck, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Prediction: Newcastle 1 Arsenal 0
Both teams come into the game on three match win streaks in the league but Arsenal have been dreadful away all season and now have both eyes on Madrid and on the back of an away game in Moscow it is hard to see Arsenal winning.
Written by Gary Robinson.
32 from Manchester. Working in the business banking sector, lover of the game and all its weird narratives. Writer for 90MAAT. @ismyCAPplaying