Arsenal vs Newcastle preview: A right bobby dazzla gannin’ doon Rafa’s Toon


@LaboGoon proceeds in a North Easterly direction in an orderly manner

Good morning all. Arsenal is travelling up North to take on Newcastle. Our away record may not be anything to speak of but we do go into today’s game in good spirit after safely navigating our ship 3 Europa games away (fingers crossed) from CL qualification, and off the back of a 7 game unbeaten run in all competitions.

The last time we played the Magpies, back in December, they were low in confidence, in the midst of a mid-season slump. They have pulled themselves together since and is currently on a 3 game winning streak and more importantly they are scoring goals – 6 of them in their last 3 games. To give us pause for concern.

The host doesn’t need to do much to be safe from the relegation trapdoor, however I don’t think they will leave it up to chance. Rafa will start this game with a point and at the very least that will be how he would want to keep it, by setting up a virtual trench on the edge of their box, to leave his boys with a chance to nick all 3 points right at the death. So I suspect this could be one of those where we’ll bite our fingers through out.

In recent weeks, despite our unbeaten run, we’ve got some criticism for particularly the manner of our wins vs Stoke, So’ton and the 2-2 draw vs CSKA. When looking at the bigger picture, and to echo to words of some from this PA community, one have to accept that we will not always play ‘champagne football’. Ergo there should be a degree of satisfaction in getting the job done even if you don’t hit the highs. Making it so important for supporters to keep on cheering to help drag our team over the line.

One team news: as the game in Moscow took a bit out of the players so we can expect at least the spine of that matchday 11 getting a good, well-earned rest before diving in head first into another congested schedule. Notable absentees could be Aaron, Kosc, Monreal and I think perhaps Jack too. Granit Xhaka and Pierre Aubameyang – who look like someone who will be a big hit for us next season – will be back, providing the experience in what could be a weakened side.

The atmosphere at St James’ Park is known to be one of the absolute best in the PL so we will be upon against it and I hope the away support to get drowned out too much. But hopefully the players will show great resilience to edge it.

Good luck the our team and all supporters watching the game from wherever. Fingers crossed for Harry Kane to be on the right side of the scoring sheet today. COYG!


50 comments on “Arsenal vs Newcastle preview: A right bobby dazzla gannin’ doon Rafa’s Toon

  1. Good summary LG, I think the barcodes will want to attack us more tham they have in previous years and use the crowd from the off to put us under pressure. It may be us having to survive the first twenty minutes or so and then stamp our authority on the game. Obviously the last ten will be difficult if the game is close and our european travels start to show.
    I hope to see alot of the youngsters today to add some legs to the mix and we know they all can play. These last few games will determine Arsenes transfer requirements for next year as well COYG.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lot of novelty to this season so far, with Europa league and not being in contention for top 4 for quite a while, and this feels more of same.

    I think I can make a decent guess of line-up, but then think perhaps not.

    Could the week off tempt us to push it with a few tired bodies?

    I’d add Danny to the list of those who could be rested. Maybe Bellerin?

    Ah, I don’t know. Looking forward to it,though.

    Got a suspicion Benitez may break his normal habit of sitting back and go for us more from the off, hoping to capitalise on their momentum, us not being full strength and a win being enough, I think, to seal survival.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. By way, anyone else get some wind taken out of sails with regards future when they see talk of City going on a spending spree again in Summer?

    Not just total spend, but in cases like De Ligt, with reports suggesting City most likely as they will meet Ajax price of 50 million.

    They can do it, on any transfer, on all the transfers, individual spend, total spend…forever! Mangala, Otamendi, Stones, Laporte, with company still there, now talk of their next 50 mill defender; ‘needed’, I see some saying. 30 grand apparently they gave to their own kid from the academy, Adarabiyo, to sign him up.

    Pep, who while at Barca spoke of preferring to use club’s resources rather than spend big; talking now of the necessity of spending huge amounts.

    At least he isn’t as duplicitous as Mou in diminishing importance of money with one breath, demanding more with other, pretending we have same as him to spend, etc. But that’s it. He’s not quite as hypocritical as Mou but the actions are much the same.

    Pisses me off.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Thanks Labo, agree the Newcastle home support ranks with the best of them as you’d expect for a one-team city. Hopefully they will come at us from the off to leave us 0-3 after 30 minutes and, visiting fans aside, a silenced stadium.

    Also agree that I find Pep and City a pathetic combination, unable to do all that much on a consistent basis, despite the £1 billion spent since 2008. And if the PL had any ‘cojones’ they would fine them 10 points a season as they will never accept the spirit of Financial Fair Play and no fine will be great enough to make them change their appalling behaviour.

    I for one will be laughing until August that this supposedly ‘greatest side in the history of the PL’ has fallen so woefully short of their intended targets.

    For £1B, they should be walking all the competitions. The hilarity comes from them clearly thinking they were going to.


    Liked by 3 people

  5. Abu Dhabi City is not a football club. Whatever it is I don’t feel that the word football describes it. Safe to say it’s something, but what is it? Does anyone outside of the blue half of Manchester even care? Are they still struggling to fill their stadium on match days as champions elect?

    Mark Hughes was once their manager, spending relatively the same amount as Young Pep. That was funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. But not as funny as the headline to today’s article! That is simply brilliant.
    Thank you Labo and thank you Andrew too.

    Rafa Benitiez is undoubtedly a top top top manager. Just a tad too defensive for my tastes, I don’t think the Toon will come out guns blazing against the Gunners. A recall for Hayden in CM against his home club if he’s fit? Would’ve been wonderful and interesting to see him compete opposite Maitland-Niles unfortunately I think the young Gunner is still out with injury or he’d be playing today in CM or at RB.

    Come on the Arsenal.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Apropos of nothing, watched a short vid of Cazorla yesterday.

    Incredible how he combined beautiful skill with effectiveness, often in a way that looks effortless.

    Not sure I appreciated him enough as my emotions are a bit of a slave to results of each game.

    In terms of sheer beauty on a football pitch, a properly two-footed player is hard to beat, and to stop. Remarkable that there aren’t more of them about given the advantages it provides. Isco is one, and surely Santi influenced him in year or two they were together (ach, if City get him!!)

    Guess you need very strong insight, will or something, at an age you can’t expect to have it, to overide automatic tendency to use strong foot when it matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rich: So glad your review of the Santi Cazorla vid made you even more aware of the importance of that 2-footed genius. No doubt in my mind that our performances in 2017 suffered as badly as it did because of his absence resulting in us falling to 6th in the league. Slowly but surely Wenger has reorganized and rebuilt. I have refused to blog on anything Santi-related because, in my view, it is useless harking to the past; a successful future demands we develop a new way of playing with new personnel.

    Which gives me the opportunity to congratulate Labo for his optimistic but measured previews. He never gave up on the team, never fell in the trap of using a few bad results to throw up his arms in despair and demand Wenger out and the related nonsense from the fake-news media and the Arsenal super-bloggers and tweeters. Proof that he is on the right track is the reality of us being in the Europa semi-final and an outside chance of pipping Chelsea to 5th. Who would have thunk that.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. shotta.

    Indeed! It felt morbid and wrong using past tense for him, but the odds seem so poor for a return now.

    I guess the new way is unlikely to feature a particularly similar player. Curse all manner of things, principally City, for making Isco highly unlikely.

    There’s been a little talk of Modric, who I believe has some similarities and is a fantastic footballer, but that might be too good to be true. We’d need Real to get the spending bug again, and Modric would have no end of options.

    There’s not long to wait now ,I guess, to see if Wenger feels there is a missing piece in the midfield options. I’m about 3/5 sure we’ll see a player come in there in the summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. BPL debut for 18 year old Joe Willock

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Le Tissier on Mike Dean missing that blatant foul from Alonso on Long: “If he wasn’t so arrogant he should he embarrassed.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mesut Ozil has not played in an away game v Newcastle in his AFC career

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Huh, pretty sure bib thing for yesterday was spot on then.

    Willock was same colour as Mustafi, Chambers, Holding, Xhaka, Aubameyang , Iwobi, Laca, Monreal.

    None of those in other colour starting

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Talking Willock.

    Watching Alexander-Arnold do well of late reminded me he had a great battle, with a few too many fouls from him, against Chris Willock in youth cup quarter two years ago.

    Both looked great prospects but i think Willock won on the day.

    We’ll never know, but i think Chris would have got some opportunities this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. we have 3 English starting and 4 more on the bench

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Didn’t we beat both saints and cska 3-2? or was i dreaming? Good preview though Labo. thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Lacazette makes it 1-0, Aubameyang with the assist

    Liked by 1 person

  18. well well well what do you know, the Arsenal can’t have a penalty is back, always happens after we get one in a recent game,

    Liked by 1 person

  19. good news for our U23’s, as Sunderland U23’s beat LCFC u23’s 4-1 today, meaning if we win our last game away to West Ham on Friday we win the EPL2 title

    Liked by 1 person

  20. 1-1, looked like the sort of offside we get called for in the build up, but good finish from the toon lad

    Liked by 1 person

  21. the ref is awful, seems he will not book a newcastle player no matter what

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Arsenal missing a lot of decent chances

    Liked by 1 person

  23. HT: Newcastle 1-1 Arsenal

    lacazette gave us the lead, toon hit back, thought cech should have done better on it

    AFC the better side but not taking our chances, Ref letting alot of poor challenges go without booking

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Womens FA Cup semi final, Everton 1-2 Arsenal

    Carter gave AFC the lead, former gooner Kelly leveled from the spot after a dodgy penalty given, Quinn got an injury time winner

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Should have gone into the half at least 2 or 3 goals to the good. Game has flowed and ebbed . There will be opportunities in the second half but we need to be more clinical and composed.
    So far been very impressed with Iwobi his pace and close control has offered us a chance to spring defence to attack quickly.
    Mustafi has twice let the run from deep get the better of him one which led to their goal.
    Young willock has not been overawed so far for an 18 year old. Nothing spectacular even though he hurried his chance but hasn’t given the ball away or failed to track back.
    We are slightly the better side and have created the better chances.
    Commentary as usual is Newcastle this Newcastle that blah blah

    Liked by 1 person

  26. joe willock the 56th teenager to play for AFC in the BPL, the most of any club

    Liked by 1 person

  27. An hour gone and we have all the pieces to win the game, now we need to slot them together.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Well that was not what I had in mind 68 gone

    Time for a Giroo style recovery ?

    Liked by 1 person

  29. welbeck comes on for Willock and straight away Newcastle take the lead, fucking shit.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. A spot of ‘urgency’ required

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Oh man why do we always do this
    Shoot ourselves in the foot
    Give away a silky goal when under no pressure whatsoever

    Liked by 1 person

  32. we are just too easy to get at

    Liked by 1 person

  33. That was not good at all.
    Still time to get something out of this, but I have given up moaning about the defending, the modern day Wenger either cannot or will not address it.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. That was an embarrassing goal to concede

    Liked by 1 person

  35. We are loosing to a fairly insipide and ordinary Newcastle side.
    And it’s all our own doing. Very lackadaisical slow tempo no urgency in the second half. No real threat upfront in the second half.
    And awful defensive performance.
    Mustafi has had another very poor performance.
    I think serious thought has to be given to defence next season.


  36. Shambolic defensive display…Shame…


  37. Permission to commit sepukku ?

    Liked by 1 person

  38. There are mitigating factors, but push come to shove, that was pathetic. Self inflicted, indisciplined, a microcosm of so many games this season, especially away.
    No point in filling a team with stellar creatives and strikers when you defend like that, week in, week out over the years.
    I really hope we can do something special in the Europa league, I for one believe we can, because based on league form, this looks for all the world like a season too far for a great manager and man. We are falling behind those we shouldn’t really be falling behind, and it could get even worse. Without something in Europe, I would not be at all surprised to see change this summer, and that would fill me with sadness after the way this season has gone, that would be an ignominious exit to say the least.
    Memo to Wenger, don’t defend like that against Griezmann and co

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Anther utterly awful away performance, to add to the identical ones against Bournemouth, Brighton, Swansea.

    Why is he resting Ozil so much.

    What this game missed, as those did is the incisive pass that no one was able or prepared to make.

    There was no excuse other than the players simply could not be bothered.


  40. No doubt we will play better against Atletico. And despite the awful and frankly amateur display defensively we know we are better than this.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Just seen a tweet saying we are the only team in the top divisions in English football without an away point in the league in 2018
    Cannot be bothered to check this, but if true, nothing short of shocking, and at the risk of sounding self entitled, unacceptable of a club of Arsenals stature


  42. Mandy
    Don’t be so negative here. If you can’t be positive don’t come here.
    This is for the positivitas


  43. Always a place for constructive realism about something you care deeply about Rosicky, and a desire for improving the defending of an elite club falls under that


  44. we have far too many players who just cant play the ball in the real sence of it. if a player cant control the ball first hand, he has no reason to be at this club. worse thing is that some of them cant compensate this deficiency with focus and urgency in their game. i remember senderos, he clearly doesnt play the ball well but his consentration and urgency cant be questioned. the second goal was mustafi’s fault but he was blaming others just the way he did to cech last week.


  45. Well, I was resolved not to complain if it didn’t go well, even if it went a lot worse than it actually did.

    Not managed that well in thought, but what about deed?

    Liked by 1 person

  46. No,can’t manage it. Need a little moan.

    The asymmetry is what kills me. We typically have to work so hard, with so much intricacy, a high number of accurate passes, then one or two more difficult passes, in order to get in on set defences, and then the bodies at the last to try thwart us.

    In contrast to one pretty good ball meaning danger against.

    I know I have to accept in one sense that’s our lot : we’re a positive attacking side with big ambitions; defensive teams play differently (and have their weaknesses and limitations, big picture especially) and more often that not have lesser expectations, resources and ambitions.

    But still…it all adds up to an incredible onus on us to try master the type of defending we have to do, in big spaces when the ball is turned over with many up the pitch.

    Concentration needs to be exceptionally high, way higher than in a deep organised defence.

    Finally, given all that, it should surely be reflected in our play how precious a lead is currently, and what bad news it is to go behind.

    Oh well, I didn’t manage it at all in the end. Dammit.

    It’s been our roadus annus horribillis this year, and it’s surely true, especially in 2018, that we would have accrued more away points through a simple defensive style. Quite likely a lot more.

    Hopefully the away woes ,playing our way, end with this season. Otherwise there has to come a point when playing that way away is no longer justifiable.

    Liked by 2 people

  47. New post up – feel free to vent – I have

    Liked by 1 person

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