Newcastle vs Arsenal: Match Preview

Another summer goes by, another season starts and it’s our very first game of the season tomorrow – Newcastle away. A ground and a game which haunted us last season after a very strange game up there saw us go 4-0 up only to draw the game 4-4. But it’s a brand new season and for the first time in a long time, a brand new squad, with old players departing and new players arriving.

The manager announced that Cesc & Nasri wouldn’t be involved tomorrow – by the time the game actually starts, they may not be at the club. The manager rightly focused on the game and commented:

“I believe the best thing for us, one day before the season starts, is not to focus on the possible transfers. What we want today is to focus on the players who play tomorrow and not the players who do not play.”

I’ll jump straight to the chase and look at who’s in and who’s out – we know Cesc & Nasri will miss tomorrow’s game, but we have a lot of good news on the injuries front – Van Persie is back and will captain the side tomorrow – Vermaelen and Gibbs are also back in contention and they are all joined by the trio of Walcott,  Arshavin and Ramsey who have all passed fitness tests. Abou Diaby is a long term absentee (how many times have I heard that?) and Jack Wilshere won’t be ready in time for tomorrow…

So, this is the predicted line-up:

Szcznesy

Sagna – Djourou – Vermaelen – Gibbs

Song – Ramsey

Walcott – Rosicky – Arshavin

Van Persie (c)

With a bench of Fabianski, Traore, Koscielny, Lansbury, Jenkinson, Oxlade , Gervinho & Chamakh

I’ve would have chosen Koscielny ahead of Djourou to partner Vermaelen as out of the two, as I think they’d work well together, but if I am correct, Koscielny didn’t feature against Benifica, so I’m not 100% sure about his fitness levels… I would definitely like to see Gervinho in the starting line up ahead of Rosicky, with Arshavin slotting in centrally, but I doubt Arsene will make such a move, he doesn’t normally introduce new players straight away…

[Update: Cesc completes transfer to Barcelona for £31m]

The saga is now complete, Cesc has moved – £31m in cash now, and then another £5m over the next 2 years based on appearances and trophies and Cesc is giving us £5m back as he’s broken his loyalty bonus, so overall transfer valued at £41m. Potential replacements are Mata, Ribery and Jadson, only time will tell.

[Update: Let's focus on tomorrow's game, not the departure of Cesc]

So Newcastle today confirmed the departure of their left back, Jose Enrique to Liverpool – that’s another high profile departure following Carroll and Nolan… so it’s actually going to be interesting to see who is going to start for Newcastle tomorrow…

The Newcastle line up could be:

Harper

Simpson –  S. Taylor – Coloccini – R. Taylor

Barton – Tiote – Cabaye – Gutierrez

Ba – Ameobi

It’s still a decent team but one we can beat with the team above!

Ramsey’s excited:

Looking forward to the first game of the season tomorrow. On way up to newcastle now! time for a bit of luther.

And so should we… time to start daydreaming – Newcastle not Cesc leaving…

Newcastle, I said, focus guys!!!

  • Bonathan

    Well, i guess we all knew a while ago what was happening with fab and nasri. we all expected fab right from the start of summer, and alex ferguson told us about a month ago that nasri had agreed to go city.

    we made a big mistake with nasri. if we’d offered him 105/110k earlier, we’d have kept him. we didn’t, city got in his ear and there was no going back after that. well, the only way we might have rescued the situation would have been some major signings to make him change his mind. but that didn’t happen.

    so this is the situation we find ourselves in, and i guess we gotta make the best of the hand we are dealt. we have plenty of money now anyway, and won’t be needing to dip into any funds that may or may not have been set aside.

    Enrique is off to liverpool for 6m! belter price, which i feel may come back to haunt us, probably as early as this time next month when gibbs is injured and traore is doing his thing. wenger obviously wasn’t bluffing when he said we wouldn’t be replacing clichy.

    goalkeeping is another area where we are unlikely to invest having seen some good experienced keepers move.

    centre back is an essential, and wenger has said so himself, and we are actually in a pretty lucky position that we can get any of hangeland/jagielka/cahill/samba/dann with little or no competition if we want. so it’s a case of take your pick. hangeland fits the bill perfect for me, but i’d be happy with cahill or jag as well.

    defensive midfield i feel we are ok with song and frimpong (as long as frimpong is as good as they say he is).

    if juan mata is signed then he would give us another option both out wide and as the advance central midfielder. Personally, i would like to see arsharvin given a go in that position also. do we need another midfielder? i’m not sure we do.

    as for strikers, well it depends on whether gervinho has been signed as a central striker as well. i think he has so we have rvp , chamachk and gervinho (maybe vela at a push) who could play that lone striker role. when we play with 2 up fron you can add walcott to that list as well, and maybe arsharvin.

    If it were me, i’d have signed 4 players. shay given, hangeland, jose enrique and juan mata. since it’s clear we are not interested in a GK or a LB though, i’d expect a CB and mata.

    there is a definite worry that we can’t attract mata anymore. and certainly, if we don’t sign him up before the 1st leg of the udinese game, then we could run into big problems if we have a bad result.

  • afc4life

    Football is back, and we’re going to win tomorrow.

  • sharad

    can we take a 8-0 lead

  • sharad

    first time ever im not looking forward to a season Crying or Very sad

    even when we were shit i always had optimism come august and always looked forward to the new season but now im just dreading it -

    Just looking forward to seeing a few mates down the pub. I think it’s a blessing we’ve got such a difficult set of fixtures to start the season with, if it all goes tits up then the heat is on Wenger!

    I think wenger will be gone by the end of the season, and I think that’s why Gazidis and Kroenke are distancing themselves from him a bit.

    He’s hammering more nails into his coffin with all this stuff and maybe he just doesn’t give a toss anymore. Who knows.

    Either way, he’s got absolutely no patience to play with. The fans boo’d the team at the Emirates Cup, can you imagine how it’s going to be after a couple of bad results in meaningful games?

    But he’s only got himself to blame.

    I wish I was looking forward to this season, but we go in weaker than last season. This is the season that Arsenal are officially no longer a big club. Our fall from grace from the invincibles is complete

  • yemi

    My only worry is how stubborness can make a man blind !!! It is obvious to everyone (apart from wenger) that we need an influential defender. The average age of our first team cannot be that much than the U23 Olympics team of every nation.

  • yemi

    West Brom have rejected a Wigan bid for striker Peter Odemwingie on the eve of the new season.

  • Bonathan

    WHAT A LAUGHING STOCK WE ARE.

    I was prepared to give wenger the benefit of the doubt this summer, but i have finally lost faith with the man and the board.

    the final nail in the coffin has come today. we have wenger still maintaining that he expects fabregas and nasri to stay!!! wtf is he talking about?? he must be the only person on earth that thinks fabregas might stay. why embarass yourself and the club. he sounds like the biggest fool on the planet. I can only think that it was an absolute pathetic attempt to try and convince juan mata that they had a chance of keeping hold of one of them.

    It has just been reported on sky sports however, that sources in spain are saying that the juan mata deal absolutely will not be happening now. why? because we aren’t ambitious enough, are a selling club and our manager is on tele making a fool out of the club. great. who do we sing now. i’ll tell you, second rate players who we wouldn’t have dreamed of signing at the start of the transfer window.

    Don’t get me wrong. wenger is a great manager, but i actually wish he wasn’t, because that just makes what he’s done worse. the most stubborn man on the planet, could have had it all, but for all his power, could not fore-see his own demise. one embarrassment after the other for the last five summer transfer windows.

    4th place at best this year, and that ain’t gonna be easy at all. chances are we’ll be pipped by liverpool who have just signed a player we probably should have done for a measely 5.5m

  • Kodjo

    Here is my perspective on Cesc

    Arsene knows that Cesc would eventually leave but hoped that he will not and pledge his future. In the mean time i think the sensible thing was to find a replacement…who would agree to be on hold until Barca paid a fair price. Through the whole saga i suspect that Arsene though that Barca might be able to meet the transfer price given the well publicized financial woes, ‘forcing’ Cesc to stay.

    To say that a manager, who has been in the business for all these years plus others in the board, did not make contingency plans is just disrespectful. Like Wenger or not he has proved very intelligent in moving players on and finding replacements, if not altering the style of play to suit the players available.

    As fans we’ve had concerns about the team, but, it doesn’t warrant the vitriol doled out at Wenger. I have questioned his tactics at times but it doesn’t make him a bad manager overnight. The players are equally culpable not to mention the biased officiating, moving to a bigger stadium and bad luck with injuries. Just take a step back and look at the 6 years without trophies in view of the issues mentioned here.

    Could Arsene have done better? Sure enough, but he is human …has made mistake and will continue to make mistakes.

    Let’s get behind the team …..

  • Gooner Get Ya

    So we are entering yet another transitional period as we lose the best of our midfield. I do wonder though that if Cesc and Nasri had stayed then would Arsene actually concentrated on signing the defenders we need rather than fight the losing battle to keep them?

    Arsene now has the excuses lined up for the end of the window. Due to the late sales he couldn’t find the right players in time….I hope he proves me wrong.

  • Bonathan

    i’m not sayig he’s a bad manager. and i’m not saying he should have forced cesc to stay. i’m not even saying he was wrong to say that he thought cesc would stay at the start of the window or a week or two ago. but to say it today was just and embarrassment. he’s as good as gone!! he could have just said no comment at least. i mean, can you believe anything he says now? no other manager in the world would have said that today.

    It’s dragged on far too long, the transfers have not been delt with well at all. you can’t blame barcelona, they were happy to let it drag if needs be. we should have drew a line in the sand, it’s the only way to deal with it, we didn’t it dragged and now we can’t even attract juan mata because let’s face it, we’ve come out of the whole fiasco looking ridiculous

  • Bonathan

    and of course, in the meantime, juan mata’s clause expired.

    anyway, damge done, time to get on with it. we still have a promising squad that is capable of finishing in the top 4, and who knows, maybe winning a cup.

    sounds like we’re signing this jadson guy on monday anyway. fingers crossed that he’s good.

  • yemi

    So we’ve signed joel campbell,no sign of a CB yet. And wat about the super quality we were promised by wenger? He said we will be happy this week, are we happy yet?
    Where are the experienced players?

  • Steve

    I liked the Tevez – Nasri swap – had me in stitches

    Mind you – we could then swap him for Sneijder

  • harry

    There will be no new CBs. Wenger gave his usual excuse of a player returning from injury is like a new signing, and im also hearing the Ignasi Miguel is being promoted due to Spain’s under 21s victory. I dont mind seeing Miguel come in as long as he is ahead of Squid in the pecking order, but I cant believe how little has been done to sign a new defender. We had decent CBs virtually begging to play for us, and a reasonable price could have been arranged for pretty much all of them. The worst part is that he wont even attempt to rectify the situation by adjusting our defensive tactics.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Barton is a prick

  • Horse

    Barton thinks that the world is against him for no good reason, when he has been involved in an endless catalogue of incidents like the one that occured today (and worse). People who don’t learn from their mistakes are fools and there is certainly no smoke without fire. I would bet good money that people close to Barton were involved in the looting throughout the country.

  • yemi

    Arsenal players are naïve and inexperienced. They all do foolish things! Diaby, sagna,song, kos and now gervinho. I laff. We need to replace cesc and nasri or else we will be a mid table club. We a cf, cb too. Wishes

  • Bonathan

    There is a definite problem with the discipline of our players. They just seem to get roped in to doing idiotic things. We can sit and say what we want about barton, and yes, there’s no denying he is an absolute bell-end, but we are playing right into his hands when we react like that. it’s exactly what he wants.

    that said, barton should also have been sent off. and how pardew had the audacity to say barton didn’t raise his hands i don’t know. he had gervinho by the scruff of the neck, rather forcefully as well. Still, gervinho was ver stupid though. I mean, if you really can’t control yourself and you’re gonna hit him, then at least give him a proper thump. A bitch slap is so embarrasing. nearly as embarrasing as the way barton went down like the girl he is.