Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Newcastle vs Arsenal - Premier League

Its reported Newcastle will be missing defenders Abdoulaye Faye (calf) and Stephen Carr (hamstring) for the game against Premier League leaders Arsenal. Reported target of Liverpool, Manchester United and others centre-back Steven Taylor may be ready to return, but Cacapa and Michael Owen are both still absent.

Midfielder Mathieu Flamini has joined Arsenal's crowded treatment room, which already contains Alex Hleb, Cesc Fabregas and Abou Diaby. Striker Robin van Persie is still working his way back to match fitness and may figure on the bench.

I really can't see past Premier League leaders Arsenal in this one. After winning a very difficult match at Villa they will be confident they can come to places like Newcastle and get a result. Big Sam looked absolutely despondent the other day after Newcastle's Blackburn defeat. He just looked like for the first time in his career he couldn't see a way out for them.

For a team managed by Big Sam Newcastle are all over the place at the back and alarmingly disorganised. The very antithesis of what Big Sam is all about. He also may well find himself the first Newcastle manager in recent years to feel the pinch in the transfer market as its unlikely the new chairman will allow Newcastle to spend like they have in the past. Newcastle should concentrate on one thing at the moment and that's a clean sheet and not getting beat. Its the only way they'll build themselves back up.

Premier League leaders Arsenal meanwhile will be full of confidence coming into this game. The win at Villa will have convinced themselves (if they needed to) that they can mix it as well as play that stylish Arsenal football. Any back of the mind nerves of coming to Newcastle will be diminished now. They really are playing some great stuff now too - the Arsenal of recent seasons tried to walk the ball into the net but this season they seem to have found the right balance. Selling Henry has really enabled this Arsenal team come of age and their Premier League rivals are up against a team that will take some catching.

My prediction - more misery for Newcastle and the Gallowgate inflicted by an Arsenal in ruthless mood!


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