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Arsenal v Newcastle, updates, wild speculation and the best headline of the day

By Bulldog Drummond

Just before we go any further perhaps I could mention the best headline I saw as I looked around for any real news ahead of the match tomorrow

It comes from a website called “Devonlive.com” and reads thus

“Super 6 predictions: Arsenal and Chelsea to win, draws for Newcastle, West Ham and Burnley.   Correctly predict six scores to win £250,000.”

and yes that was published at 3.23pm on 15 December.  The chance of getting a win for Arsenal and a draw for Newcastle are, I would suspect, quite limited, and worthy of higher odds than those on offer.

Perhaps of more significance is the fact that the Arsenal team are donating their salaries for the day to the Arsenal Foundation.  I know it makes no odds to the guys who earn money the rest of us can hardly dream of, but even so, it is better than not doing it.

Meanwhile, The Daily Mirror has a big splash story: “Arsenal squad vs Newcastle revealed as duo ruled out of Emirates clash” but the only thing we didn’t really know was that Theo Walcott is injured.   Mr Wenger gave an update…

“Mustafi is back in training today. I don’t know if I will include him tomorrow, it’s still a little gamble and apart from that we will have to see how everybody recovers. We’ll see today in training, but we have no basic problem.

“Of course Aaron Ramsey will not be available, I said that he will be out for a little longer and that will be maybe three weeks that he is not in contention.”   On Theo he added that he “had a little groin problem. He would have been in the squad at West Ham. He will not be available tomorrow I think as well.”

(Incidentally the bloggetta Red London covered this news of Ramsey, which was hardly news at all, with the screaming headline “Arsenal handed massive injury blow ahead of Newcastle game.”  It was, I fear, ever thus.)

Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette presumably will be back in the squad, especially as everyone is backing us to score a lot, just as we did against Huddersfield.    However the Daily Mirror does add “Santi Cazorla (ankle) remains absent,” which I think we knew.   They end by giving us what they call a Provisional squad of the 22 remaining players...

Cech, Ospina, Mertesacker, Holding, Mustafi, Koscielny, Chambers, Monreal, Debuchy, Bellerin, Nelson, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Wilshere, Xhaka, Elneny, Ozil, Iwobi, Sanchez, Welbeck, Lacazette, Giroud.

And I think we knew that as well.

The BBC is a little more helpful telling us, “Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is banned following his red card against Everton, with former Arsenal player Isaac Hayden expected to deputise. Aleksandar Mitrovic misses out with a back injury but Paul Dummett returns.”

Here’s some more news from Mr Wenger,

“At the moment there is a difference between points we get and the domination we have in the game. Of course it is down to the fact that we’ve played recently against two teams who defended extremely well at home.

“Maybe we have to speed up our passing and have more penetrating runs in the final third to create more chances. Maybe we need support for our central strikers in the box as well.”

But above everything else I love it when a little notion of ours that we have pondered for a year or three (the proximity of a club to the top and the bottom – something we highlighted actually all those years ago for the first time in relation to Spain) starts getting into the mainstream.  Of course they could have thought of it themselves, and someone else may have been there first, but even so, occasionally perhaps was us.  Here’s the BBC

  • They [Arsenal] are closer to the bottom of the table than to the top – 18 points ahead of Swansea and 19 points behind leaders Manchester City.

But their statistics guys are quite good at the obscurities of life.  Try these for size

  • Arsenal could lose back-to-back home league games in the same season for the first time since November 2010, when one of those defeats came against Newcastle.
  • The Gunners are unbeaten in 33 matches against promoted teams, winning 28 of them, since losing at QPR in March 2012.
  • Arsene Wenger’s side have kept eight clean sheets in 2017-18, second only to Manchester United’s 10.
  • No side have hit the woodwork more than Arsenal this season, who have done so on 10 occasions.

Anyway, we know that Newcastle are very much the team out of form, while Arsenal are, if not the team in form, at least the team in more form than Newcastle.

We’ll see what that means in practice in the final preview, on saturday morning.

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3 comments to Arsenal v Newcastle, updates, wild speculation and the best headline of the day

  • taxpayer

    Why bother Mr Anorak?

  • rupert cook

    Shelvey out is good for us. Expect us to win this handsomely, well 2-0 at least.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Off topic but the U23s have just drawn their league game against Derby. Derby opened the scoring through Vernon in min11, Akpom equalised in min20 before goals either side of half time gave Derby a two goal lead Bennett min45 and Zanzibar min69. Arsenal staged a late recovery with Osei-Tutu min78 and Pleguezuelo min90+4 making it three apiece at the finish