76 Comments

Hope Returns, We Hope.Arsenal v Newcastle

Empty Emirates
After sharing the spoils in each of their last four Premier League outings, Arsenal will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon. Both clubs are level on 31 points in the league standings; 11th and 12th-place respectively.
Having our feet stuck in the midtable mud is far from ideal for a club of Arsenal’s stature but to be fair to Mikel Arteta, a lot of what went wrong this campaign precedes his arrival and what he is trying to achieve is something that lasts beyond a quick-fix.
A positive thus far is our defence being more structured, without being setup to defend from deep. In recent weeks the much-maligned Shkodran Mustafi particularly has come a long way, playing some of his best football. He’s a smart guy though and will know that even with Arteta having only good things to say about him, he still has some way to go before winning over a fanbase that are very reluctant to give him his dues.
A cause for concern now is our misfiring attack, and it’s not like they’re short of goal scoring opportunities but just lacking confidence. Be that as it may, hopefully their time out in the desert was just the right tonic. There’s already two-thirds of the season gone, so if we want to keep hope alive of a top-six finish they have to get their mojo back because we simply have to beat the Geordies.
Newcastle will be making this trip to North London with ideas of their own, which does not include being pushovers. They’re on a current eight-match unbeaten run across all competitions, with an excellent 1-0 win over Chelsea the highlight in that run.
Steve Bruce do seem to have a certain blueprint when coming up against “the better sides”. It’s one of those where instead of going for a win, he just set his team up to be very hard to break down and on the odd occasion even gets a smash-and-grab. It’s a formula with varied success but against the top-six sides they’ll take what they can.
The Geordies got their issues but their fans can be relatively pleased at this stage of the season, enjoying a seven-point cushion over the bottom-three. A further nine points from their last 13 games should be enough to ensure survival and give them something to build on.
Arsenal have a good head-to-head record versus Newcastle, winning 13 of the last 14 encounters. That includes seven straight home wins in which we outscored them 20 goals to five. Hopefully we extend on that.
Team news
Sead Kolasinac is expected to return to the lineup after his recovery from injury. Reiss Nelson is also back and could make the bench.
With Arsenal short of goals Arteta may consider bringing Nicolas Pépé back in, to likely replace Alexandre Lacazette who hasn’t scored a goal in his last eight starts.
New signings Cédric Soares is still nursing a knee injury, while Pablo Mari may have to wait till later in the week to make his debut with our Europa League trip to  Olympiakos.
As for Newcastle, they got quite a long injury list but we might get to see a familiar face with Danny Rose expected to make his debut at left-back.
Prediction
In games following a break teams usually struggle for fluency, over hitting passes and the timing of runs not quite there; and this afternoon may be no different. So with Bruce well aware of his sides miserable record against the Gunners he may just opt to keep things tight for as long as he can, hoping to catch us against the run of play.
However, the Arsenal could grow stronger as the game goes on with their class eventually coming through in the latter stages to just do enough to keep all three points at the Emirates. Therefore, I foresee a home win, yet low scoring affair. COYG!
— @LaboGoon

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76 comments on “Hope Returns, We Hope.Arsenal v Newcastle

  1. What on earth did Saka get a yellow for?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. good for ozil – great team goal too

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well now. What a 2nd half. Great stuff

    Liked by 1 person

  4. FT: Arsenal 4-0 Newcastle

    after a forgettable first half we seen some great football from Arsenal in the second half and goals from Aubameyang, Pepe, Ozil and Lacazette gave us a convincing 4-0 win

    Artetaball and a clean sheet again

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh boy, I hope we get Saka contract done soon. Every huge club in game will be very interested in him.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. HOPE returns… Hope rewarded. Well done team!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Slow start, but turned out very enjoyable in the end.
    A few players that could be described as needing goals /assists, well they duly arrived.
    Well done to all of them, hope this provides confidence and momentum
    The only sour note, the officiating really was appalling, we know this guy was doing his bosses bidding, but bloody hell, what is he doing at this level?
    When will someone in the media have the balls to question what the feck Mike Riley is doing with these referees and when he will be held accountable for the demise in standards, that and screwing up VAR.
    The guy today was a mixture of biased, and clueless

    Liked by 1 person

  8. And in +ve GD!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Really glad Saka got out of that collision unscathed. I couldn’t make sense of what happened in replay. All I know was he was fouled at least once before, off balance, then bam, at speed. Unnerving. Hopefully other fellow not badly injured.

    Didn’t like those seconds at all though waiting to see what damage was. Kid’s a phenomenal talent and ripe for big lunges at speed from opponents. Just have to rely on luck saving us.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so relieved with the goal diff cos I was so upset with the negative GD…

    So very unusual.

    God Bless Arteta for us! So glad a number of the good guys are around… Mikel, Per, Freddie, Edu… Pires…

    Common peeps

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rich, not seen it back, but to me it looked like the ref could have blown up for a foul on him, but then, off balance, Saka over-ran it and should probably have pulled out of the challenge earlier. Wasn’t malicious, but feel bad for the Newcastle player. That phase wasn’t well-handled, or the Ozil non-offside (let it go to VAR), or forcing us to give the ball back to Newcastle when it hit the ref’s backside.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Orbinho
    @Orbinho
    There were 35 passes in the build up to Mesut Ozil’s goal – the most for any goal in the Premier League this season

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think Ozil benefited from having another technical player in the midfield today, Ceballos helped get the ball to Mesut in space, and as we know, once he gets lots of the ball he is very good

    Liked by 2 people

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  17. Eddie said: Ceballos made Ozil benefited from another technical player…get the ball to Ozil in space. Who would have thunk that?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Xhaka’s biggest value seems to be that, more than any other player, he can be trusted to try to do exactly what the manager asks of him on the pitch. Respect to him for that. He doesn’t have a glamorous role at the moment, but you don’t get Saka’s swashbuckling runs without him dropping left, or the space for Ceballos to pull the strings.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Flag issue offers serious scope for tilting. Two games in row now they’ve flagged and play stopped in excellent positions on extremely close ones, both of which we’d likely have been on when lines be applied in event of us scoring from it.

    Without comms ever mentioning it, and a great deal of fans oblivious, very easy to fiddle with that and let all close ones go for some, and not for others. They’ll never get stick for former- ie letting it go (as in all other VAR competitions)- even if ultimately it is offside; never get stick for latter, blowing early, so long as not against wrong team. And, given nature of it, will rarely provoke too much attention/ire, as it’s not incorrectly disallowing goal, merely a very good position.

    Used as intended, keeping flag down allows football to claw back some of the goals being lost on close ones when lines applied in VAR era.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. from football.london, Arteta’s after game comments

    Arteta on the game
    “It was going to be very important to get a result like that so I’m pleased.
    “We found it difficult in the first 30 minutes. They are so good with Joelinton running and I don’t like that. In the second half we tweaked a few things and controlled the game a lot better.”

    Arteta on Ceballos
    “Dani was ideal in that position today. He deserved a chance and I’m so pleased with his performance.”

    Arteta on Pepe
    “We just need consistency from him. The way he applied himself defensively he was top drawer, things he wasn’t doing in the past.”

    Arteta on Champions League
    “it feels closer but we need to be more consistent and if that’s the case we will be in the mix come the end of the season.

    Arteta on Man City’s ban
    “I’ve been in contact with him. I just want the best for City, I know how hard they work.
    “Now I have to do the very best for Arsenal.
    “I was shocked, contacted Pep to feel for them because I know they are suffering.”

    Arteta on Auba after the break
    “That rhythm is tough in this competition. In Dubai he looked sharp and today he put a real good performance again.”

    Arteta on playing Nketiah
    “The message is clear. Whoever trains like they do and has the abilities to play like he did has a chance to play.
    “Laca has been playing all the games and hasn’t scored. I told him the decision and he accepted it. I told him he would come on and score, he did and I’m so pleased.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. seen a clip of Arteta’s after game comments where he basically said on Ceballos, that he was not fit enough at first, and then his attitude was not good, but that now he has changed his attitude and is training “like an animal”, and so got his place in the starting 11 today

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Been nice seeing praise for Xhaka from other (not here) quarters in recent times. Won’t change way any mistakes are jumped on nor eliminate the many lousy incorrect opinions about him, but still nice.

    His career with us has prob been 8/10 for me, which given fortunes in that time, is very good indeed.

    Even with those fortunes, still feel there’ve been plenty of games where, like today, he gets through tons of really good work for us and is enjoyable to watch as a quality operator doing his thing.

    Never gonna be able to do much, other than foul, when someone gets drop on him bursting in behind, but we just have to try manage that as a team.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Birdkamp

    Interesting one for me if Saka was at fault in challenge, then, especially if has done harm. Given way I rail against it when done to us, I have to try look at it honestly.

    A start would be watching it again, I suppose. My belief is it’s truly impossible to remove all bias or treat a sin by us as I would one against. Don’t think minds equipped for it. I’ll give it a go though.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Orbinho
    @Orbinho
    · 1h
    Ozil ran 10.7km today. Only Xhaka ran the more of Arsenal players with 10.8km https://twitter.com/DistrictMackey

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Interesting that outside squad today was Nelson, Tierney, Holding, Guendo, Mari, Maitland-Niles, Soares, and long term absentee Chambers.

    I like or at least have hopes, in case of new two, for every one of them. Saliba to come next year, plus I seriously like Smith-rowe and hope he gets his opportunity with us.

    Feels a bit different to previous situations with squad. Surely something’s gotta give territory, even without further additions for next season.

    I think there’s a fair chance there’ll be an Iwobi situation, with us cashing in on one of the home-grown lads. Ainsley seems most likely. I’d really rather than not happen.

    Suspect a few of you wouldn’t mind at all if it’s Guendo!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Carrie Brown
    @CarrieBrownTV
    ·
    1h
    Arteta’s reasons for not including Guendouzi today hint at discipline. “The reason is that players who, in my opinion, are training better, behaving better and are more applied to deliver on the pitch, what we want, are the players selected.”

    Liked by 1 person

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