Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Arsenal – 29/12/13

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

Newcastle United welcome Arsenal to St James’ Park tomorrow, a year to the day after shipping seven goals in the reverse fixture of the 2012/13 season. Both sides have seen an upturn in fortunes since that encounter; Newcastle are once again looking for a place in Europe after a season of struggling against relegation, whilst Arsenal have developed into serious contenders for the Premier League title.

Although the general consensus is that Arsenal are favourites for this match, the form table suggests otherwise. Newcastle sit in second place behind Manchester City, having only dropped four points in the last six games. Meanwhile Arsenal have fallen to 6th. Despite securing convincing victories against Hull, Cardiff and West Ham, they’ve had some trouble with those higher up the table, picking up just 2 points from games with Everton, Man City and Chelsea.

Alan Pardew has one major selection headache coming into this match, with Cheick Tioté returning from a one match ban. Despite winning comfortably last match against Stoke, Newcastle looked disinterested and disjointed up until a mad five minute period in which the away side had two men sent off. The defence were clearly more exposed in the absence of Tioté, and Moussa Sissoko struggled to have any positive impact on the game after moving back into a central midfield role.

It seems like a no-brainer for the Ivorian, who is currently battling it out with Debuchy to be the highest performer in the ToonForum Index, to return to the starting eleven. However, the decision over who loses their place will be a bit more problematic for Pardew. Sissoko and Ben Arfa are the most likely candidates to make way in spite of them both having recently put in excellent performances on the right wing.

One player who particularly stood out in last year’s ten goal thriller was Theo Walcott, getting three goals and two assists. Walcott has an exceptional scoring record against Newcastle, so his return to fitness and form will be a worry for Pardew. A return to top form for left-back Davide Santon would be extremely timely as this may well be the toughest challenge he has faced this season.

This Arsenal side are probably the best team to visit St James’ Park this season, but Newcastle haven’t lost at home since mid-September and have proved that they’re capable of outplaying even the top sides on their day. With the partnership of Coloccini and Williamson looking as strong as ever, and Yoan Gouffran on a hot streak at home, the hosts will go into this believing they’ve got a good chance of getting at least a point. Even if they end up 4-0 down at half-time, there may still be a glimmer of hope… Continue reading

Arsenal Fans’ Thoughts Ahead of the Match

Originally a forum post by you can call me yo, click to read/comment

Disappointing response from the Arsenal Not606 board. The answers aren’t great either. Anyway the questions asked were:

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
2 – How has Arsenal’s season gone so far? Happy?
3 – After your public pursuit of Cabaye, do you think you’ll try to get him again in January? Do you even want him?
4 – Do you have any talent coming through your academy? Who are the ‘ones to watch’?
5 – Who should we watch out for / who is your biggest threat?
6 – What is your prediction for Arsenal this season?
7 – How do you think Newcastle will do this season?
8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
9 – Scoreline prediction?
10 – If your football club was a fruit, what fruit would it be?

cini65

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
Chesney, Sagna, Mert, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Flamini, Arteta, Cazorla, Ozil, Walcott, Jirood
2 – How has Arsenal’s season gone so far? Happy?
Much better than expected
3 – After your public pursuit of Cabaye, do you think you’ll try to get him again in January? Do you even want him?
No and no
4 – Do you have any talent coming through your academy? Who are the ‘ones to watch’?
Gnabry is the closest to being a breakthrough.
5 – Who should we watch out for / who is your biggest threat?
Walcott and the Pod off the bench have given us two more goal threats.
6 – What is your prediction for Arsenal this season?
3rd behind City and Chelsea
7 – How do you think Newcastle will do this season?
Battling with Everton for 7th
8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, United, Spurs. Sunderland, Palace, Cardiff
9 – Scoreline prediction?
1-3
10 – If your football club was a fruit, what fruit would it be?
Pineapple. Sweet and potent in the middle but completely worthless up top.

Krome

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
Probably just be Wilshere in for Ramsey from today’s game. Maybe Podolski will start on the left
2 – How has Arsenal’s season gone so far? Happy?
Don’t think anyone could have seen us being top of the league this far into the season back in August so can only be happy. Only big disappointments have been the limp performances against Utd and Chelsea.
3 – After your public pursuit of Cabaye, do you think you’ll try to get him again in January? Do you even want him?
I think signing Ozil ended any interest we had in Cabaye. Would have been a good addition to the squad but there are other positions where our money needs to be spent now.
4 – Do you have any talent coming through your academy? Who are the ‘ones to watch’?
No answer
5 – Who should we watch out for / who is your biggest threat?
Walcott I would expect to be the main goal threat, maybe Podolski if he plays. Cazorla hasn’t had the best season but he was class today so I’d expect to see him start again at St. James
6 – What is your prediction for Arsenal this season?
Probably fighting Liverpool and Chelsea for second with city winning the league
7 – How do you think Newcastle will do this season?
7th/8th
8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
I fancy Sunderland, Cardiff, Fulham for relegation. Current top 4 with Utd 5th, plus one of Tottenham and Everton
9 – Scoreline prediction?
1-1
10 – If your football club was a fruit, what fruit would it be?
Peach

Hans Gruber

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Podolski, Cazorla, Walcott, Potato
2 – How has Arsenal’s season gone so far? Happy?
No, should be further ahead
3 – After your public pursuit of Cabaye, do you think you’ll try to get him again in January? Do you even want him?
No, he’s crap
4 – Do you have any talent coming through your academy? Who are the ‘ones to watch’?
Serge Gnabry, Gedion Zelalem, Chuba Akpom
5 – Who should we watch out for / who is your biggest threat?
Theo Walcott
6 – What is your prediction for Arsenal this season?
4th place
7 – How do you think Newcastle will do this season?
19th (hopefully)
8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, United – Palace, Hull, Cardiff
9 – Scoreline prediction?
4-1 to us
10 – If your football club was a fruit, what fruit would it be?
Kumquat – We’re better than your average fruit.

The thread on their forum can be found here.

Do you agree with the Arsenal fans predicting a decisive away win? Have your say in the discussion thread here.

Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Stoke City – 26/12/13

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

Boxing Day sees two sides battling it out on the back of wins topping off surges up the table through the second quarter of the season, Newcastle going from mid-table to flirting with the idea of a return to the Europa League, and Stoke from teetering on the edge of the relegation zone to the comfort of mid-table. This is only Newcastle’s second home Boxing Day game in eleven years, of which we’ve only won a single game, beating Bolton 2-0 two years ago.

Last season this fixture saw Stoke visit St James’ on a Sunday sandwiched between Europa League last 16 matches for the hosts against Anzhi. Following a bland first half where Newcastle failed to make anything of their possession, Cheick Tioté conceded a penalty which Walters converted with 23 minutes to go. This proved to be the wake-up call Newcastle needed and they hit back 5 minutes later via a sublime captain Cabaye free-kick from the edge of the box that clipped the crossbar on its way in.

Marveaux found Cissé with an incisive pass in injury time for him to coolly slot home a 90+ minute winner, a feat he’d repeat four days later to see Newcastle progress in the Europa League. This win put us into 13th on 33 points, 7 clear of danger, with 9 games to go, and saw Pardew proclaim that we were safe from the drop. Campbell and Haïdara made their Premier League debuts in this match, with the latter playing from the start. Continue reading

Stoke Fans’ Thoughts Ahead of the Match

Originally a forum post by you can call me yo, click to read/comment

I headed over to the 1863 Stoke forum to ask the questions before the Boxing Day match. They seem like an alright bunch who are quite complimentary about us, and they think a draw would be a great result for them. The questions asked were:

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
2 – How has Stoke’s season gone so far? Happy?
3 – With the January transfer window approaching, are there any areas you need to strengthen?
4 – Do you have any talent coming through your academy? Who are the ‘ones to watch’?
5 – Who should we watch out for / who is your biggest threat?
6 – What is your prediction for Stoke this season?
7 – How do you think Newcastle will do this season?
8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
9 – Scoreline prediction?
10 – If your football club was a fruit, what fruit would it be?

LordDeano

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Whelan, N’Zonzi, Walters, Adam, Arnautovic & Crouch

2 – How has Stoke’s season gone so far? Happy?
We’ve had a tough fixture list & to be 10th is fantastic, it’s still going have up’s and down’s but survival while playing more attractive football will do me fine at the moment.

3 – With the January transfer window approaching, are there any areas you need to strengthen?
Crouch has been excellent this season, but another striker with a bit of pace and a good goal scoring record.

4 – Do you have any talent coming through your academy? Who are the ‘ones to watch’?
The closest one who will get a game is James Alabi, but Daniel Bachmann has been involved with the first team too. We also signed Julien Ngoy recently who was linked with the global giants of world football.

5 – Who should we watch out for / who is your biggest threat?
Arnautovic has been awful of late, but he’ll explode one day and he’ll be unplayable. Right now Peter Crouch is on fire in terms of performance and in front of goal

6 – What is your prediction for Stoke this season?
Get a striker in and Top 10 is very attainable in this topsy tervy league

7 – How do you think Newcastle will do this season?
Doing well this season, 8th.

8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man United & Everton. Go down – Sunderland, Cardiff & Fulham (I hope, can’t stand any of them)

9 – Scoreline prediction?
2-0 defeat, you’re looking good, but I’d love a point and wouldn’t be surprised if it ended in a draw.

10 – If your football club was a fruit, what fruit would it be?
Strawberries, I f****** love strawberries.

Continue reading

Preview: Crystal Palace vs Newcastle Utd – 21/12/13

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

Team News

Newcastle United: Yohan Cabaye returns after serving a one match ban. This will be his first game since scoring a historic goal in the 1-0 thrashing of Man Utd at Old Trafford. Sissoko and Tioté will be looking to behave, each being only a booking away from a ban. Long term absentee Ryan Taylor is the only first team player injured. Forgotten men Sylvain Marveaux, Steven Taylor and Jonás Gutiérrez will all be hoping for a return to the bench. However despite being fit for some time (or back in the country in the case of Jonas), all three are still unlikely to make the match day squad due to our current form.

Crystal Palace: The injury list contains club captain Paddy McCarthy along with Jack Hunt, Glenn Murray, Jerome Thomas and Adlene Guedioura. Dean Moxey is doubtful. Gouffran’s former Bordeaux team mate Marouane Chamakh is the main Palace goal threat having scored in all of his last 3 games. Palace are swiftly adapting to the hoofballing tactics of Pulis and have already seen an improvement in terms of results.

A Word from the Gaffers

Alan Pardew:

“We’ve proved our consistency, that we’re a good side. Whether we can be a great side, we’ll have to wait and see. We already have one more point than we did at this stage of the season two years ago when we ended up finishing fifth. We spread them (goals) around reasonably well but it would be nice to have goals from all areas of the pitch.

I don’t think we are over-reliant on Rémy – it’s just that he’s the one at the pinnacle of our attacks. And being a natural scorer, he gets the bulk of our chances. But if we are to do well this season, it’s vital others score their fair share.”

Continue reading