After Newcastle have now won their last two league games, the game tomorrow at Arsenal will be a real test that could tell us all just how good this Newcastle side is at the moment.
Newcastle have been nothing if not inconsistent so far this season in the league, and tomorrow’s game is a perfect opportunity for the side to show they are starting to settle down in the Premier League and can string a number of good performances together.
We are getting more convinced as the points rack up this season, that Chris Hughton may be a lot better than we had thought, and since the Londoner has still not been offered a suitable new contract at Newcastle – yet – Chris and the lads will want to get some good results to persuade Mike Ashley to offer Chris Hughton what he has fully earned – an greatly improved long term contract on Tyneside.
We may not get any points from the game tomorrow, but what we’d like to see is another fully committed performance from the side, who have gone the last three games unbeaten in the league since Fab Coloccini got that last minute equalizer at home to Wigan.
We would normally expect Chris Hughton to play a 4-5-1 formation tomorrow, and that would be to combat the central midfield of Arsenal, where Fabregas will likely return, and the London side are always so dominant in that area of the field, as young Jack Wilshere has now served his three match ban for being sent off against Birmingham City for his challenge on Nikola Zigic, and is likely to start.
It could well be that Newcastle will be facing Wilshere, Song and Fabregas in Arsenal’s midfield tomorrow, so we wouldn’t be at all surprised if Chris plays a 4-5-1 formation.
But with the great form of Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi lately, we have a sneaking suspicion that Chris will likely play the same team that has won the last two league games – why change something that isn’t broke – is the phrase that comes to mind.
Former Gunner Sol Campbell will probably be fit enough to take his place on the bench alongside the fit again Steven Taylor, and we expect Ryan Taylor and Danny Guthrie, who both were omitted from the subs bench against Sunderland – they beat Stoke 2-0 today and are now one point ahead of us – to be reinstated there.
Arsenal’s defense isn’t their strength either, especially in central defense, and Andy and Shola may be able to scare the living daylights out of the Arsenal defense tomorrow, if they show the same good form of the last couple of games in the league.
So we think Chris will play the following side tomorrow:
Simpson Coloccini Williamson Enrique
Barton Topte Nolan Gutierrez
Subs: Soderberg Taylor (S) Taylor (R) Campbell Guthrie Smith Lovenkrands
The defense will be so important for Newcastle, and we cannot give any sloppy goals away at the Emirates tomorrow, but that’s one thing we have not been too good at all season, and even against Sunderland we still managed to concede a goal in the 90th minute, after dominating the Black Cats completely in that second half.
We have to hope that Cheick Tiote is again top form for Newcastle in midfield, and he could be a key player tomorrow, as tries to combat Wilshere and Fabregas, and we hope that Barton and Nolan continue to play with the skill and vision they have shown over the last couple of games.
If Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi can be as energetic and clinical as they’ve been recently, then with a little bit of luck, Newcastle could even be in with a chance to bring about a shock result tomorrow.
But really, Newcastle have nothing to lose tomorrow, and we’re sure they will make a competitive game of it, and will try to get all 3 points.
Whether we are anywhere good enough yet to do that, remains to be seen, but we’ll know soon enough.
Comments always welcome.