Preview: Arsenal vs Newcastle Utd – 28/04/14

Match preview by ScholarlySloth, click here to go the our match discussion thread

I took this match thread as my last two were Manchester City, and we were beat in both – so I thought if anyone should take this guaranteed loss, it should be me.

Newcastle United take on Arsenal in a match that is no doubt going to be a hilarious affair for Alan Pardew and his band of terrible footballers. In the last match thread, it was said that our season was over. We’d finish in the top half, everyone would earn a lovely bonus and the rubbish train would roll on, undisturbed by the cries of anguish from the fans. Fortunately (?) we were beaten 2-1 to no one’s surprise, with Debuchy and Rémy not being able to hold the team up this time. If we’re lucky, we’ll drop out of the top 10 and Pardew will be consequentially rocketed to the moon.

This match should see the return of Rémy and Debuchy starting line-up, so there’s a slim chance that we may get a goal, emphasis on the slim. As well as setting some incredible records with his NUFC team, Pardew has found himself bored and in need of new entertainment. This latest round of amusement has seen Hatem Ben Arfa “banished” in recent times, and this looks to continue if his statements on instagram are to be believed, as he has stated that he wasn’t even chosen for the travelling squad for this game. Following from this, his lawyer has announced that Pardew and his entourage have to stop slandering Hatem’s image. Who needs EastEnders?

Arsenal have a real fight for the top 4 on, with Everton nipping at their heels they’ll have to push hard to stay in the Champions League spots this year. They started the season incredibly well, sitting top of the league for quite a while before an injury crisis decimated their chances. The return of Ramsey seems to have galvanised the team though, and they are now back to their fast, attacking football. Vermaelen also returns for this match, so they are looking to finish the season on a high – lucky us. Continue reading

Arsenal Fans’ Thoughts Ahead of the Match

Originally a forum post by Yacob, click to read/comment

The questions are back after the Swansea fans refused to answer them <disgrace>. Anyway this week’s questions were posted on the Arsenal not606 page and they were:

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
2 – Are you happy with how Arsenal’s season has gone? Could it have been better?
3 – Who would your player of the season be for Arsenal?
4 – What are your current views on Wenger? Do you want him to sign a new contract?
5 – Which players do you see being key for both sides?
6 – What do Arsenal need to do in the summer to ensure they push on next season?
7 – What have you made of Newcastle’s season?
8 – Are you confident about winning the FA Cup?
9 – Scoreline prediction?
10 – If your football club was a vegetable, what vegetable would it be?

ToledoTrumpton

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
From now on in, it is the strongest side possible. We will be as close to Giroud-Podolski-Ozil-Cazorla-Ramsey-Arteta-Gibbs-Mertesacker-Koscielney-Sagna-Szczesny as possible.

2 – Are you happy with how Arsenal’s season has gone? Could it have been better?
The disappointment is that we were ahead for so long and then faded, but given the injuries we suffered, our performance was probably as good as could be expected. Not many Arsenal fans would have turned down an FA cup and top 4, if offered that at the start of the season. Still plenty to do, but if we can pull that off I’m pleased. Not sure I speak for everyone there though.

3 – Who would your player of the season be for Arsenal?
Ramsey seems to be the common choice. I think also our two CBs need a lot of praise as well.

4 – What are your current views on Wenger? Do you want him to sign a new contract?
Desperately want him to sign a new contract. We need him infinitely more than he needs us.

5 – Which players do you see being key for both sides?
This is a team game. When we have everyone fit we can exert pressure all over the field. Because we have so many players that can hurt you, it is going to require a team performance from you to stop us.

6 – What do Arsenal need to do in the summer to ensure they push on next season?
We need to improve squad depth in the front 3, and the back 5, but that may be possible from our youth set up. We also need to replace Sagna/Arteta who may both leave, but in any case are starting to get near their sell-by date.

7 – What have you made of Newcastle’s season?
Injury-ridden like ours, and your depth isn’t as good. On the basis of that you have probably done well to stay up in the top half.

8 – Are you confident about winning the FA Cup?
Yes, but I was confident over the league cup final as well. I think we are better all round now though.

9 – Scoreline prediction?
Newcastle 0 – 2 Arsenal

10 – If your football club was a vegetable, what vegetable would it be?
Don’t know, something that is easily bruised, often found unripe or over-ripe, but tastes better than anything else when perfect.

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Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Swansea City – 19/04/14

Match preview by Yacob, click here to go the our match discussion thread

I think we all know what is coming this weekend, more dreadful football, more Pardew bashing and more bemusing comments in the fence from the man we previously referred to as “Pardiola<puke>. As games go, this should be and probably will be a home win.

Our season is over. We will finish the season in the top half and the players/coaching staff will pick up their bonuses unfortunately, despite not earning them. We will be boosted by the return of Loïc Rémy and Mathieu Debuchy, which is a huge positive for the side as they have been two of the top performers this season.

The former is all but certain to leave the football club in the summer, and the latter probably will, especially if he plays well in Brazil. I doubt we would see either in a Newcastle shirt again had it not been World Cup year, but Pardew has lucked out as they will probably play big parts in home wins against the two Welsh clubs.

These final four games will be entirely about judging whether some of the players in the squad have a future at the club or not. Luuk de Jong desperately needs at least a goal (probably more) to ensure he joins on a permanent deal, while Adam Armstrong needs to show that he can compete at the highest level and that he doesn’t need a loan spell.

The likes of Dan Gosling, Steven Taylor, Papiss Cissé and Hatem Ben Arfa also need to show that they can contribute to the side. Gosling may be running out of contract, but a good run of games could see him be kept on for another few years. Despite Pardew’s claims to the press, Ben Arfa is all but gone.

It’s likely that Pardew will continue with the 3-5-2 formation, and with Rémy and Debuchy, it may actually work. It gives license to Rémy to roam in the final third and Debuchy is an attacking full back, who will only benefit from the attacking responsibilities.

Swansea enter the match still needing points to ensure they survive in the league. Garry Monk has improved the Swansea style of play to add a bit more attacking threat, but the side have still struggled to get results. They remain to keep possession well, but they struggle to break teams down and their defence remains a problem, especially without Chico Flores, who will be suspended this weekend.

Wilfried Bony has added goals to the side, but he has struggled to win the club points of his own. Michu has missed large chunks of the season through injury. A Swansea side without Bony and Michu beat us 3-0 earlier in the season while we were on a good run. That result is quite embarrassing in hindsight.

After the banners and chanting last week from the away following, it will be interesting to see what sort of reaction Pardew gets from the home crowd tomorrow. Hopefully its more of the same, but not that Ashley will take any notice. Continue reading

Preview: Stoke City vs Newcastle Utd – 12/04/14

Match preview by LaFraise92, click here to go the our match discussion thread

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
– Shakespeare, Richard III

Newcastle find themselves firmly within the winter (decade?) of their discontent, heading into a near-enough dead rubber “clash” with their neighbours in tenth place, a Stoke City side who have passed the magical forty-point barrier with some great results under Mark Hughes and can now count on Premier League football next season.

Whether the stern alarums borne in the Gallowgate last week will indeed change to merry meetings is yet to be seen; the Toon come into this match having gained only 13 points since Boxing Day, when Stoke capitulated early with two sendings off to allow a 5-1 romp with goals from Messrs Rémy, Gouffran, Cabaye and Cissé. Gouffran hasn’t scored since, Cissé has registered one league goal and Rémy has managed 3 in the intermittent three and a half months.

Our hosts come in with decidedly indifferent form, having gained 19 points since we last met, including a sneaky win over Man United (sound familiar?) and have won three of their last five. Their main goal threats come in Peter Crouch (8 league goals), Charlie Adam (6), Peter Odemwingie (4) and Jonathan Walters (4), all of whom will be fit to start against us – pending medical approval of Adam’s nose guard after a head injury sustained earlier in the week. Continue reading

Stoke Fans’ Thoughts Ahead of the Match

Originally a forum post by Yacob, click to read/comment

I headed over to The Oatcake to ask the questions and we got a decent response. Here are the questions:

1– How do you think you’ll line up?
2 – How has Stoke’s season gone so far? Happy?
3 – Who has been the biggest surprise this season for Stoke? Who has disappointed?
4 – What are your current views on Hughes? What is the style of football like under him?
5 – Which players do you see being key for both sides?
6 – Where do you think Stoke will finish now?
7 – Where do you think Newcastle will finish now?
8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
9 – Scoreline prediction?
10 – If your football club was a vegetable, what vegetable would it be?

mickmillslovechild

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
Pretty much same as we always do..only players that really tend to get rotated are Ireland and Adam

2 – How has Stoke’s season gone so far? Happy?
Can’t complain, spent a few months having a good game here or there but mostly no different in terms of results but seem to have turned a corner now that the players have got used to the “New style”. If we can keep that up then i’ll be a happy man

3 – Who has been the biggest surprise this season for Stoke? Who has disappointed?
Biggest surprise = Odemwingie…i wasn’t overly thrilled when he came and thought he may be another Cameron Jerome (great athlete but questionable attitude and not as much ability as his ego warrants) but he seems to be the missing link that we were looking for to tie things together
Biggest disappointment = Mark Cartwright and Tony Scholes

4 – What are your current views on Hughes?
He’s completely changed us from a team with only ever a Plan A into a team who still use that same Plan A as and when it’s needed but also are capable of playing the kind of football we haven’t seen at the Brit largely since the FA Cup final season…what’s not to like? (ignore any answer to this question from StaffordStokie 😉 )

5 – Which players do you see being key for both sides?
For us, Odemwingie, N’Zonzi and Whelan (who has been class this year..goarrn Glenn!)
For you, Rob Elliot 😉

6 – Where do you think Stoke will finish now?
All depends on this weekend for me, we’re in good form whereas you guys are bloody awful at the moment and shipping goals left, right and centre. If we win then i think we’ll pinch 9th

7 – Where do you think Newcastle will finish now?
10th

8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
Top 6 = Man city, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton, Spurs
Going down = Cardiff, Fulham, Sunderland

9 – Scoreline prediction?
3-1

10 – If your football club was a vegetable, what vegetable would it be?
A marra 😉

Continue reading