As we half expected it’s another brave team selection today by manager Chris Hughton, as he keeps both local strikers, Shola Ameobi and Andy Carroll, in the starting line-up which is unchanged from that which tore Sunderland apart 5-1 last Sunday afternoon.
Both returning center-backs Steven Taylor and Sol Campbell, the former Arsenal great, are among the substitutes, but still no place on the bench for Ryan Taylor, Danny Guthrie or James Perch, which says something about the current strength of the Newcastle squad, once our injured players return.
Hughton usually plays a 4-5-1 formation away from home, and especially against a side as good as Arsenal, but we think Chris may think that an Arsenal weakness could be their defense, and he will give Andy and Shola every chance to show he’s right about that this afternoon.
Arsenal have Wilshere, Fabregas and Song all starting today, with Van Persie on the bench, as he returns to fitness. Rosicky, Arshavin and Bendtner are also on the Gunners’ bench.
It promises to be an open attacking game this afternoon, and there’s also a chance Newcastle can get a surprise win, having lost 9 and drawn just one of their last 10 vists to Arsenal. The law of averages says that streak has to be broken some time.
We’re not too sure we could take so much success so early, if Newcastle do win today, – and we’re not exactly sure what we’d do – after reaching for the blood pressure and heart pills first, of course. 😀
Howay The Lads!!
Arsenal : Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Nasri, Walcott, Fabregas, Chamakh
Subs: Szczesny, Rosicky, Van Persie, Djourou, Arshavin, Eboue, Bendtner
Newcastle United: Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Enrique; Barton, Nolan, Tiote, Gutierrez; Ameobi, Carroll.
Subs: Soderberg, Campbell, S Taylor, Routledge, Smith, Lovenkrands, Ranger.