Newcastle have had a very good year in 2012, but the last two months have been a little gruesome and since we drew 1-1 at Liverpool on November 4th we’ve lost seven of our last nine games and have slumped in the league to 15th position, just 5 points above the drop zone.
We’ll have to hope we don’t suffer yet another defeat at Arsenal this afternoon, but the odds are in the London club’s favor, since their game with West Ham on Wednesday was postponed because of a tube strike – and therefore they’ve had all week to prepare for Newcastle.
And we are 2 points worse off with 20 points, then we were in our relegation season, and that tells us that in the last 19 games of the 2008-2009 season we got only 12 points – no wonder we were relegated.
We have to hope that as we get our injured players Yohan Cabaye, Steven Taylor and Ben Arfa back early next month – we can start to climb the league table – and a top ten finish is still possible and even likely – if we can start playing somewhere near our best form again – which we have done over the last several games.
Our opponents Arsenal have come into some good form of late, and are now seventh in the table, and have won their last three league games against Wigan, Reading and West Brom and now have 30 points from their 18 games so far in the league.
Arsenal are always a tough side to play and this is what Alan Pardew had to say about the famous club:
“Arsenal are a great club with great players and it will be difficult for us. But if we put in the performance we did against Manchester United then they won’t relish seeing us.”
“Our performances have been terrific over the last four or five games.” “Hopefully we will get something for the effort and confidence and ability in each other that we are showing.”
And Saturday’s game is the 171st match between the two clubs, and the 157th in the league, and Newcastle are level with Arsenal with 66 wins against the Gunners in all competitions.
The full record against the Gunners is played 170, won 66, lost 66, drawn 38 – and we’ve scored 235 goals and conceded 244 goals in all competitions with the London side.
Newcastle of course still have a number of injuries to deal with, and to add to that Mike Williamson misses this game after picking up his 5th yellow card at Old Trafford, but the good news is that Cheick Tiote returns from his one game suspension.
The in-form Vurnon Anita is also out with an ankle injury that he picked up very late in the game at Manchester, but he is expected to be fit to play against Everton at St. James’ Park next Wednesday night.
Jonas Gutierrez (knee), Yohan Cabaye (groin) and Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) will again be missing as will local lad Steven Taylor (hamstring) as well as Ryan Taylor and midfielders Dan Gosling and Haris Vuckic, who all have knee injuries, and maybe are out until the end of the season.
This is the team we think Alan Pardew will start today:
Simpson Coloccini (c) Perch Santon
Marveaux Bigirimana Tiote
Cisse Ba Obertan
Subs Harper Tavernier Streete Ferguson Ameobi (Sa) Campbell Ameobi (Sh)
18 year-old South Shields center-back Remie Street could see his first appearance on the Newcastle bench today, and maybe the Newcastle manager will give Shola Ameobi a start in the line-up today.
For Arsenal, Olivier Giroud and Tomas Rosicky have now recovered from illness and are in the squad for today’s game, but defender Andre Santos (stomach muscle) and midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) are both out, but they will return to training next week, and second string goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is out today with a foot injury.
It’s going to be very difficult for Newcastle to get much out of today’s game, but on the other hand we also have to start winning some of these tough games, and today’s a good a day as any to do just that.
let us know how you think the game will go today.
Howay The Lads!!
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org