Newcastle vs Arsenal – Match Preview – Owen Dropped?

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This is yet another extremely vital game in Newcastle’s struggle for survival in the Premier league this season.

Newcastle will have returning players Danny Guthrie, Kevin Nolan and Habib Beye to choose from for their important home fixture against Arsenal tomnorrow afternoon. Danny and Habib return from injury, and Kevin has finally served his 3 match ban for his sending off against Everton.

Newcastle have 5 home games remaining, with Chelsea next to arrive in 2 weeks time, and if they can win 4 of these games they should be safe from relegation worries, with 41 points.

But to do that they will need to beat either Arsenal or Chelsea, in addition to Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Fulham, in the remaining home games.

Newcastle are still without the services of Joey Barton, Xisco, Mark Viduka (surprise, surprise), and on loan player Ignacio Gonzalez, although the Uruguayan is never mentioned by the Newcastle coaches these days – so he seems a phantom player at times.

With many players to choose form Chris Hughton will have some selection posers but here’s the side we would like to start the game tomorrow:

Coloccini Bassong Enrique
Lovenklrands Butt Nolan Gutierrz
Martins Owen (c)
Subs: Forster
Beye Guthrie Geremi Smith Carroll  R.Taylor

Chris may be tempted to put Beye straight back into the side, but we think Steven Taylor will keep his place, just for this game, based on his very good form last time out.

One worry we do have is that Hughton may try to keep Smith in the side somehow, either by playing Alan alongside Nicky Butt, or putting him on the wing, both of which we think would be mistakes. That’s what Sam Allardyce kept doing, and Smith hardly ever played well, in all the different positions he was used in.

On form he doesn’t get a place up front or in central midfield, and should therefore be a substitute for tomorrow’s game.  

Alan is not a goal-scorer and he’s not a winger either. We have four good wingers to choose from in R. Taylor, Duff,  Gutierrez and Lovenkrands, and if fact one problem Chris will have tomorrow, is that some good players will not even make the bench.

But if Smith starts, we think that will be a poor starting selection by Hughton, and it will be up to Smith to then have a great game, and prove us wrong. If he does that, we (this blog) will be happy enough.

We have Lovenkrands in there for tomorrow, because of his goal scoring prowess, and Jonas Gutierrez on the other wing.  However, we cannot even find a place for Duff or Ameobi on the bench – unless one of them replaces Andy Carroll, which Chris may elect to do.

That’s both a strong starting eleven and a strong bench, and of course we expect Martins and Owen to start up front, and to be a lot sharper than they were last time out, at Hull City.

However, we are aware the Daily Mail is reporting on Saturday morning that Michael Owen will be dropped for tomorrow’s game, and that Martins will be the lone striker up front, and that Smith will indeed be played in midfield.  

We have no idea if the story is true, or just more made-up nonsense from the gossip press, but it would fuel our doubts that Hughton will somehow try to start Smith tomorrow.

However, we’d be very surprised if the story is true – but the Mail will likely sell more papers in Newcastle tomorrow morning, which seems to be their main aim, at the expense of  decent journalism.

To win this game we will need to have an outstanding display from our defense, and maybe even a clean sheet – for once. We also will need some luck to get all 3 points, but we expect the Newcastle crowd to again do their part, with another wonderful display of passionate support for the lads. If only our team was as good as the supporters. 🙁

Arsene Wenger is expected to make several changes to the Arsenal team that beat Hull City in midweek in the FA Cup, with Manuel Almunia almost certain to return in goal, and Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure, Denilson and Samir Nasri all likely to start.

Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor are almost fit, but are unlikely to be risked tomorrow afternoon.

And with things looking rather bleak for Newcastle right now, a win is what the club really needs, but we’ll also take the point, if that’s all we can get.

A defeat would be another disaster.

Comments welcome.

46 comments so far

  • OHurley

    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:32 PM

    Comment #2

    God, I promise that if you deliver a win for Newcastle United tomorrow, I’ll never ask for anything again. At least until the next game 🙂

  • OHurley

    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    Comment #3

    Dangit, Beye, I thought I had the numero uno slot! Drat… foiled again 🙂

  • beyethegreat

    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:37 PM

    Comment #4

    lol o’hurley

  • beyethegreat

    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:38 PM

    Comment #5

    i think we hava a chance to morroow and i ope we spoil hiddiks unbeaten run

  • TonyGreenSupreme

    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:43 PM

    Comment #6

    Neither Ryan Taylor or Loverman are wingers…..
    Strola will definately be on the bench and will come on after 70mins for his appearance money.

  • Simo

    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:45 PM

    Comment #7

    S.Taylor – – Coloccini – – Bassong – – Enrique
    R. Taylor – – Smith – – Nolan – – Gutierrez
    Martins – – Lovenkrands

  • beyethegreat

    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:46 PM

    Comment #8

    tony they can both play their

  • Simo

    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:48 PM

    Comment #9

    Can’t believe that we would play one up top at home (daily mail).
    Id go for lovenk over owen tbh, him nd oba looked good vs man u nd lets be honest how fit actualy is owen?

  • Robby Bobson

    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:55 PM

    Comment #10

    Arsneal like to pin teams back in their own half, to play Jonas, Martin and Lovenkrans. If they try and pin us back, we will say cheers for the space in behind and use our pace. lovenkrands and Oba up front. It always worked vs Man Utd, so should be used vs Arsenal.

  • Toon Graeme

    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:56 PM

    Comment #11

    As much I appreciate Beye’s post – it could be a piece to add distraction to the team. Its happened before.

    5 on the mid – we done that before this season??? Christ.

    Hughton – you got to get it right son.


    Ill be there from about 1645 ish. Gonna neck a few pints before hand.

    Im up on H271 L7A (access 8) if anyone wants to say hi before hand.

  • Toon Graeme

    Mar 20, 2009 at 8:56 PM

    Comment #12

    or should I say access 8 – so thats how you get sunglass 8)

  • Cooper

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:01 PM

    Comment #13

    The crowd will play a more important part than ever tomorrow i reckon.

    Lets get the corner bouncin lads.

    Toon graeme is that in the leazes corner or milburn stand?

  • cosmicMini95

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:02 PM

    Comment #14

    Hughton wants to try for three points but is going to start 5-4-1? :S :S Though the mail doesn’t actually say this so it could be that Loverboy is going to start upfront with Martins…..

    Tony I agree in that I really don’t think Lovenkrands is a winger, the couple of times he has dropped back there for us hes not done well. His defending looked mediocre at best and I can’t see him coping with Arshavin! He looks much better behind the top striker. I remember when he “signed” a couple of Rangers fans on here said the same thing.

    I am an Owen fan, but do think he would be best starting the bench for this one with Lovenkrands & Martins upfront.

    I would like to see LuaLua given a chance on the right, I am aware its a big game for him to start in but think we need his pace. Can always take him off and bring Taylor on if we have to.

    I would love to see:

    Bench: Forster, Colo, Duff, Smith, R.Taylor, Owen, Carroll

    Obviously is Guthrie isn’t fit to start then Smith in midfield in his place.

    Also aren’t Krul and Forster meant to rotate? Just I think we have seen more Forster than Krul recently…?

  • TonyGreenSupreme

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:24 PM

    Comment #15

    R Taylor and Loverman can’t play as wingers.
    Ryan is an average RB and Loverman likes to play of a big man up front where his pace can be expoited. Neither are good enough to adapt, granted they are willing but they lack genuine class much like the rest of the squad.
    I dread to think of the team that JFK tells Hughton to pick tomorrow, do not be suprised if super Shola starts………………………..

  • TonyGreenSupreme

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:29 PM

    Comment #16

    Aplogies for spelling/grammer errors.

  • TonyGreenSupreme

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:30 PM

    Comment #17

    * Apologies
    I give up…………………

  • Toon Graeme

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:37 PM

    Comment #18

    Cooper – leazes mate. Im up for a good old sing along.

    Tonygreen – no apologies needed fella 8)

  • Turkish Magpie

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:45 PM

    Comment #19

    Hughtons selection choices(initials only)





    Tough choices, i would pick





    SUBS during game

    Duff for Krands
    Guthrie for Butt
    Carroll for Owen

    for Chelsea, its going to be a massive battle in training





    SUBS during game

    Lovenkrands for Jonas
    Carroll for Owen
    Rtaylor for Duff
    (Butt for Guthrie or Staylor for Beye if Beye or guthrie are struggling)

  • OHurley

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:48 PM

    Comment #20

    Would really like to see McLoven start up front. pace will beat arsenal if anything will, but we need that pace up front. Jonas and LuaLua on the wings. Kazenga has gotta be one of the fastest on the team. We can use that. Fingers crossed, like!!

  • Toon_Factor

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:51 PM

    Comment #21

    It will be hard to choose the team against Chelsea because of all the injury returners, i often here people on here say that Hughtons teams are never balanced- What does it mean?????

  • beyethegreat

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:52 PM

    Comment #22

    tony green

    loven and taylor can play on the wing i am not saying it is their best position but they can play their

  • Toon Graeme

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:52 PM

    Comment #23

    Ohurley – aas much as I would like to see the youth coming through – i doubt it will happen mate. Not this season – due to where we are in the league – reserves are a good match like. If you are local – try and go. Next match MUFC reserves at sjp on 30th March – Im on hols and gutted to miss it.

  • OHurley

    Mar 20, 2009 at 9:57 PM

    Comment #24

    Toon Graeme-

    I appreciate the info, like, but I’m not exactly local. Matter of fact, it would be a long drive for me. Very long. Indeed, I’d have to traverse the Atlantic Ocean. Don’t get me wrong, I would if I could. I just cant’ get that much time off work, lol!

  • Toon Graeme

    Mar 20, 2009 at 10:09 PM

    Comment #25

    Ohurley – see mate. I wouldnt expect you to make such a long journey for 90 min like 🙂

    You seen the facebook sight that has been set up?

  • Aussiedave

    Mar 20, 2009 at 10:15 PM

    Comment #26


    What do people think about playing a more european style formation, 442 for me is a little outdated, as it lacks flexibilty.

    We have no link play in our team what so ever.

    I think we should look at playing with 2 holding midfielders, to link the midfield to the defence. and 3 players in behind the striker to link the midfield to the attack. this will help us over come our lack of mobility in the middle of the park, as the likes of butt will have less pitch to cover.

    The team could look like this.

    Beye ,Colo, Bassong, Enrique
    Butt , Nolan
    Loven, Owen, Jonas

    Sub, Smith, Duff, R Taylor, Carrol, geremi, Cacapa?

    This systems requires Butt to sit in and protect the Centre halves, enrique and Beye provide the width.

    we have no height up front so this system allows you to play a counter attack or a short passing game. This would eliminate the need for Butt to try and knock 50 yard miracle balls. we should be able to maintain possesion much easier and control the game. Owen can then make late runs into the box.

    What do you guys think???

  • Toon_Factor

    Mar 20, 2009 at 10:23 PM

    Comment #27

    26 Aussiedave – Like the formation and this one to:






  • Toon Graeme

    Mar 20, 2009 at 10:25 PM

    Comment #28


    4 3 3 saved we bacon last season.

    I see where your coming from. I dont think the current gaffers would have the balls to try something different.

  • Toon Graeme

    Mar 20, 2009 at 10:33 PM

    Comment #29

    Night lads – keep the faith lads and see you tomorrow – I’ll be having a crafty pint in the bar at access 8 for the nerves (divnt start all that paying for ashley bollox).

    Join me if you like – if not enjoy the match


  • spiderpig

    Mar 20, 2009 at 10:40 PM

    Comment #30 can you say defeat to arsenal is disaster,when they are one of the finest football teams in the world?NO , defeat to hull,fulham and blackburn are disasters and the rest of the teams we didnt really perform against.

  • Turkish Magpie

    Mar 20, 2009 at 10:45 PM

    Comment #31


    No cuz u have 10 players!

  • Cooper

    Mar 20, 2009 at 11:19 PM

    Comment #32


    my seat is pretty close to yours i think

    block A rowK seat 260

    best atmosphere in the ground 😀

  • hitman

    Mar 20, 2009 at 11:20 PM

    Comment #33
  • mcvicar

    Mar 20, 2009 at 11:36 PM

    Comment #34

    im not confident about the game tommorow im worrying about the team selection but who knows hughton might even suprise us

  • Brutooon

    Mar 20, 2009 at 11:58 PM

    Comment #35

    Starting smith is like giving arsenal a free 3 point to them. Lovenkrands score 2 goals in couple of games but smith never score in like 2 years?

    The good thing is that our signing of lovenkrands and r.taylor gave more competition especially on the wings…hope this is good for the team

  • Aussiedave

    Mar 21, 2009 at 12:48 AM

    Comment #36

    @Turkish mag

    There is 11 mate, I just had a space before martins when it posted, he is the 11th

  • Sav

    Mar 21, 2009 at 1:00 AM

    Comment #37

    If Hull was ‘must win’, remind me what’s this again?

  • dcbashore

    Mar 21, 2009 at 3:29 AM

    Comment #38

    This match is as meaningless as they get without being meaningless. If we get a point or three, it’s a bonus, but it’s the matches with Stoke, Pompey, Boro and Fulham that will decide our fate.

  • batty

    Mar 21, 2009 at 7:51 AM

    Comment #39

    Toon Graeme hope your up early and getting your chores done before you go the match ha

  • batty

    Mar 21, 2009 at 7:55 AM

    Comment #40

    wish hughton had the bottle to play 3 up front at home against fulham boro and portsmouth


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