Friday, November 5, 2010

Arsenal vs Newcastle: An Early Preview

This is not going to be an easy match for the Gunners. Although we just thrashed Newcastle 4 – 0 in the Carling Cup, both sides peppered the squad with bench players for that match. In the Premiership, you can expect the teams to line-up their strongest side. 

We have already been punished once for talking teams too lightly this season, and I don’t think Arsene Wenger will make the same mistake again. He rested Cesc, Song, Denilson and Arshavin against Shakhtar as these players were carrying minor injuries. I expect to see most of them back at the Emirates on Sunday. We will also welcome back Jack Wilshere after his 3 game suspension for the red card against Birmingham. Although he may not be among the biggest lot, young Wilshere’s positioning makes him an asset when covering in defense as well. With the trio of Wilshere, Cesc and Song, our midfield play become less predictable as each can cover for the other in all part of the field.

I also expect to see Theo Walcott given a starting line-up. He seems to be back to his best and have shown maturity in his performances. His first goal in Ukraine was all down to his calmness in finishing while his speed was constant menace to the opposition defense. Personally, I feel he plays better when he starts rather than coming off the bench. It would be good to pit him against the Newcastle defense not knowing for speed.

The Gunners have not lost to Newcastle since 2005 and the last time they were in the Premiership we thrashed 3-0 at home. We certainly cannot afford to give up any more points at home so a victory on Sunday is the minimum we need to kick off our November campaign this year.

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