Arsenal vs Newcastle United – Preview of Game

arsenal-fc-crest.png nufc-crest.png

Joey Barton will very likely be one of the substitutes tonight as Kevin Keegan tries to get by with a limited squad for the important game at Arsenal tonight.

Shola Ameobi, who has been ill, may also figure tonight, but probably will start as a substitute.

Newcastle are still missing African Cup of Nations quartet Geremi, Habib Beye, Abdoulaye Faye and Oba Martins who are all away in Ghana. However, we half expect some of them to return before the end of the week, depending on the results of games to be played in the next couple of days.
Newcastle striker Mark Viduka will miss the game again with a calf problem and midfielder Emre is serving the 3rd game of his 3 game suspension.

Czech winger Tomas Rosicky is a major doubt for Arsenal with a knee injury but Theo Walcott is available to play on the right while Manuel Almunia should make a return in goal along with Bacary Sagna coming back in at right back.

We don’t think Kevin will make too many changes form the side that did well, at least in the first half last Saturday. Here’s the team we think Kevin will field:

Carr Taylor Cacapa Enrique
Milner Butt N’Zogbia Duff
Owen (c) Smith
Subs: Harper Rozehnal Barton Ameobi Lua Lua

One change could be starting Ameobi in place of Smith up front with Owen. But it’s obvious what we have to do tonight and that’s to push Arsenal this time all the way for the full 90 minutes. If the lads can produce their very good form of the first half last Saturday we could get something out of this game.

While we’re not concerned about relegation we do need to collect some points in our next few games to ensure we are OK and not dragged into a relegation scrap. Anything out of this game will be a plus tonight – and we expect a good performance from the boys.

Squads for the game:

Arsenal (from): Almunia, Sagna, Senderos, Gallas, Clichy, Hleb, Flamini, Fabregas, Walcott, Eduardo, Adebayor, Lehmann, Hoyte, Diaby, Gilberto, Bendtner, Traore, Rosicky, Randall.

Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Carr, N’Zogbia, Enrique, Rozehnal, Cacapa, Taylor, Edgar, Butt, Barton, Smith, Milner, Duff, LuaLua, Owen, Ameobi, Carroll.



Comments very welcome.

57 comments so far

  • Bobby Ollox

    Jan 29, 2008 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #1

    Well good luck to them – its a shame it has come so soon after the last match – would hav liked a couple of weeks at least so we could measure progress.
    Sadly I think saturday ‘s score will be repeated.

  • Graeme

    Jan 29, 2008 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #2

    As long as they play like they did in the first half on Saturday, only for the FULL 90 minutes this time, I will be happy.

    I think we could get a draw; who knows, with a bit of luck and a lot of commitment, we might even score a couple of goals and sneak a win!!!!!!

    I know, but we can all dream, cant we!!!

  • James

    Jan 29, 2008 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #3

    Butt gave the ball away 26 times against Arsenal, and scored an own goal. His record is 59 times giving the ball away to the opposition.

    Everytime we start with Butt and Smith we are starting with 9 men. No wonder we struggle in games.

  • John

    Jan 29, 2008 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #4

    James you are spot on…Butt should be the first shown the door..I hate him as a player..He’s a good championship player at best .

    Defensive midfielder my arse…

  • James

    Jan 29, 2008 at 1:49 PM

    Comment #5

    John – Butt was amazing 10 years ago. But I agree he is Championship standard at best. None of the top four would touch him.

    The amount of time he loses possession during a game really ****** me off. His errors constantly put the team under pressure.

    Against Manure the other week he gave it away 37 times. How on earth can we ever seek to attack teams or control a game when he is constantly giving the ball back to the opposition.

  • petworth magpie

    Jan 29, 2008 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #6

    Total agreement on the Butt sentiments. I’ve not liked him since he joined us yet he consistently gets praised by managers and pundits alike. I consider myself to be an intelligent football fan and just dont see what he brings to the game. Much prefer ANYONE in place of him.

    Nicky Butt ONLY plays the way he is facing. I challenge anyone watching the game to find a single instance of Butt changing direction before releasing the ball.

  • petworth magpie

    Jan 29, 2008 at 1:52 PM

    Comment #7

    And on that note ill be taking count of how many times Duff loses possession. I dont know if it’s the result of being out so long and a lack of confidence but he never makes the easy pass and instead forces the play and generally loses possession. Wonder is those Actim stats are clocking that?

  • John

    Jan 29, 2008 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #8

    Guys could’nt agree more with you. We need someone who is comfortable on the ball and happy to play a 2 yard pass for us to keep posession.

    Not try a protend like butt does that he’s Beckham who can play 30 40 yard passes to feet.. and gives it away every time…

    People say he works hard aswell and maybe he does , but he’s still shit at defending also..I just can’t see any strengths in hes game at all

  • Tom_Toon

    Jan 29, 2008 at 1:57 PM

    Comment #9

    Thats why you want Toulalan or no DM at all.

  • James

    Jan 29, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #10

    petworth magpie – yeah Duff was awful on Sat. But his problem is match sharpness. He should eventually get back to his best. He was terrific against Stoke.

    Whereas Butt is 10 years passed his sell by date. Plus 10 yellow cards and 3 games suspended. He is the worst player we have by a country mile

    Maybe Keegan will start playing Faye in midfield instead of Butt when he comes back from ANC

  • John

    Jan 29, 2008 at 1:59 PM

    Comment #11

    petworth magpie , I know Duff has’nt been at he’s best , but given time, once he gets back into the swing of things he is a class winger ..Being Irish mate , he is a legend back home…Love the way he plays …

    I know he has been shite for us really, but im sure if he gets a long spell off injury free he will be quality..I think play him on the right drop milner and play zog on left . then get a quality creative midfielder and quality defensive midfielder.

    Then all we have to do is take care off the defence 🙂

  • doby the mag

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #12

    I agree on all of the above about Butt – his shooting is bollox as well.

  • thelongshanks

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #13

    f85k off butt.

  • Graham

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #14

    Unfortunately, we’re stuck with Nicky Butt for this match, but I fully expect to see either Emre or Faye in midfield when they are available with Butt on the bench at best. If we were to put Rozenhal in DM tonight he would be torn apart by the speed and skill of Arsenals midfield, so we are stuck with Nicky as I say – for now.

    We will have learnt a lot from Saturday and I have a funny feeling we’ll sneek a draw tonight – hopefully!

  • Chicken

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:13 PM

    Comment #15

    Duff wasn’t awful on Saturday!

    I’ve not been his biggest fan since he joined us but I thought he was our best player in the first half by a country mile.

    Everyone played crap in the second half.

    Someone else saying that Butt only passes the way he is facing. I don’t agree with that either – because otherwise he wouldn’t give the ball away so often. The reason he is doing that is because he, as a senior player, is trying to force things a bit. granted it’s not coming off for him very often, but at least he’s having a go.

    Haway man – I’ve seen people on here saying there’ll support Barton if he comes on tonight – the least you’s could do is lend your support to a player who’s doing what he can for the club – even if it isn’t all that much.

  • Rich

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:17 PM

    Comment #16

    Id rather start Barton than Butt and thast a bold statement!

  • John

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:20 PM

    Comment #17

    i agree…butt is crap

  • James

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:23 PM

    Comment #18

    Chicken – the sooner Butt is out of midfield, the sooner we will start winning the midfield battles, and hence getting good results.

    The reason the pundits like him is because they see him running around trying to do something and think that is enough. What they don’t mention is that when he gets to where he is running to, he gives the ball straight back to the opposition.

    As for Barton, the club has to make him play because they are paying his wages. So they may as well make him work for it. When he is convicted in March, they can cancel his contract and not have to pay him. But Fat Sam has put the club in a messy situation with Barton, and its a no win for us.

    Keegan is forced into having to play him no matter what he might think of him personally.

    But Mort will kick Barton out in the summer. Absolute certain of that.

  • Leo*

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #19

    i dont think we will win this one, but a goal or two for us would be great, just something to look forward to watching on motd

  • Mehzeb

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #20

    Duff was good last Saturday. He was probably our best player in the first-half. Showed a lot of energy and enthusiasm.

    And James, I agree. Butt is the termite that is eating away our team. Extinguish him, and Newcastle can start winning again.

  • Macas

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:50 PM

    Comment #21

    So who exactly are we going to play instead of Butt? Barton? Smith? I dont think so. He may not be top drawer anymore but until Faye comes back he is the best we have.

  • James

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:52 PM

    Comment #22

    Macas – I’d play Lua Lua instead tonight. Someone that can actually pick out a pass and hardly ever loses position. Still very young, but Arsenal are a top class side and it doesn’t help when Butt keeps giving them the ball

  • James

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #23

    On the plus side. Wenger is convinced if we start getting the ball to Owen, he will score lots of goals :

    Wenger, though, has long been an admirer of the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker, now 28, who looked lively during the FA Cup fourth-round tie at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday but lacked decent service and support in the final third.

    The Arsenal manager knows full well it would be foolish to write off Owen as a spent force.

    “His match sharpness will come back with more games,” Wenger said.

    “On Tuesday night he will be sharper than against us on Saturday.

    “You still feel that if you make a mistake, he will be there to take advantage of it as his runs are very intelligent.

    “Against us in the FA Cup on Saturday, I was worried about him as I felt that if no-one was there, he would be there – on deflections he is in there.

    “You see that the quality is there, but Owen is not yet 100 per cent.”

    Wenger is no fool. He knows quality when he sees it. It’s just a shame the team isn’t yet providing the quality service that Owen needs.

  • Chicken

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #24

    James – how can you say Lua Lua never loses possession? He hasn’t even played 90 minutes for us yet.

  • JMC

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:56 PM

    Comment #25

    a win is not out of reach, have faith in the lads, crucial point finishing is what we’re lacking…
    if we sort that tonight and play like we did 1st half, we could sly all 3 points!

  • Mehzeb

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:58 PM

    Comment #26

    If I had my way, this is what I would do:

    Carr, Taylor, Cacapa, Enrique
    Milner, Smith, N’Zogbia, Duff
    Owen, Carroll

    In the 2nd Half:

    Taylor, Rozehnal, Cacapa, N’Zogbia
    Milner, Barton, Lua Lua, Duff
    Owen, Smith


  • Rich

    Jan 29, 2008 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #27

    Anyone hear that we are close to tying up a deal for a teenager from Atalanta? No name has been mentioned but supposedly we have paid £300,000 in a first instalment of the deal?

  • James

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:01 PM

    Comment #28

    Mehzeb – Viduka might start tonight.

  • Chicken

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:01 PM

    Comment #29

    Nice try Mezheb, but I don’t think any manager in the world worth his salt would completely change the back 4 at half-time – unless it was forced upon him.

  • Rich

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:02 PM

    Comment #30

    Fernando Tissone is the name mentioned anyonwe know anything about him??

  • Chicken

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #31

    James – you sure about Viduka???

    “I won’t be playing at Arsenal unfortunately but hopefully I’ll be OK for the game with Middlesbrough.”

    And United boss Kevin Keegan confirmed that Viduka will not be risked.

    “Mark’s got a slight calf strain and he’s not quite ready.

    “We hope he’ll be OK for Middlesbrough but we didn’t want to risk him at Arsenal.”

  • James

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #32

    Chicken – I didn’t mean he might start the game. I meant he might start eating more pies tonight. 🙂

  • Mehzeb

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:06 PM

    Comment #33

    Maybe, Chicken. But if we do concede early, we’ll have to throw everything including the kitchen sink at the Gooners. Plus, when was the last time we had Butt out of the side? Isn’t that something most of us looking forward to? 😉

    My second-half set-up is attacking, and very energetic. But Keegan I’m sure will be more logical about his selection. 🙂

  • Chicken

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #34

    Start eating pies? I didn’t realise he’d stopped!

  • Mehzeb

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:08 PM

    Comment #35

    Tissone is Argentinian, and plays for Atlanta. Last season, he made 34 starts and scored 4 goals. Haven’t seen him much, but the lad has potential, that’s for sure.

  • Mehzeb

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #36

    Pies, chickens… what difference does it make to The Duke? The man is made for consumption (over-consumption) and laziness.
    In the eternal words of Humphrey Bogart:
    “What is the Fat Man doing here?”

  • James

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM

    Comment #37

    Mehzeb – In answer to Bogart..

    “He’s here for the big wages and nothing else”

  • Magjp

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:22 PM

    Comment #38

    If I had my way this is what I had play

    Taylor, Roz, Cacapa, Enrique
    Milner, Barton, Nzogbia, Duff
    Owen, Smith

    In the second half if things aint goin well Carrol—>for Smith

  • Mehzeb

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:24 PM

    Comment #39

    I’d want Barton to start too (anyone Butt our regular starting DM ;-)) – but I don’t think that will happen.

  • Mehzeb

    Jan 29, 2008 at 3:25 PM

    Comment #40

    … and James, your explanation is the best one so far. 🙂


You must log in to post a comment.