Newcastle v Arsenal. The conundrum, our worst away run and a team

By Bulldog Drummond

The prime issue in selecting the team for today is going to be avoiding picking players who will not be able to give of their best because of the early morning return on Friday from Russia.  You may recall that because of the demands of BT Sport, the match ended in the early hours of the morning local time, which was ludicrous even for the Sprout.  They, of course, accept no responsibility – but that’s just normal.

But we also need a balanced squad.  We have a goalscorer in prime form who did not travel of course, in Aubamayang, but as for the rest of the team, Mr Wenger will undoubtedly be selecting with care.

The team who played in Moscow from the start were

Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Ramsey, Elneny, Wilshere; Welbeck, Ozil; Lacazette

Beached were Macey, Mertesacker, Holding, Iwobi, Chambers, Kolasinac Nketiah

Incidentally there was a wonderful moment in the Guardian as they did their on line coverage of the Russian match when someone wrote in saying: “Why isn’t Mkhitaryan even in the squad, this is ridiculous!”    Of course national newspapers don’t have anyone actually speaking or writing (these are now officially banned) so the paper described this comment from a David Thompson as “fuming”.

But if we don’t have a problem at centre forward we still need someone to give the assists.  So far it is Ozil on eight in the league, Ramsey on six, Xhaka and Iwobi on five.  Ramsey and Ozil played in Moscow, Xhaka is recovering from sickness and Iwobi came on as a sub.  Ramsey and Wilshere also both got injuries in the game, although how much that affects them it is hard to say.

A difficult conundrum then – but not one that requires fuming.

Cech has to start again as Ospina is still injured, but we could play both Calum Chambers and Rob Holding in defence.  Mind you this is the time of year when Mertesacker suddenly pops up and does the unexpected so there could be one more game for him – but I suspect not.  Kolasinac also could get a game – that could be more likely.

In midfield we used our three fit main men, which would leave Nelson as a possibility, or the option of a Xhaka return if he really is recovered and didn’t have the actual flu after all.

Trying to resolve this I turned to the Express which has the headline “Arsene Wenger reveals MAJOR worry ahead of Newcastle clash”.  It turns out the MAJOR worry is that the players might have tired legs.

The Hard Tackle web site tells us that Mkhitaryan is a major concern – which might be a little different from being a major worry (they may have read the Guardian’s preview of the Moscow match, but got no further).  Actually I would be really concerned if he did play.

As for finding a few remaining factoids here’s one I’ve missed so far, “Arsenal have won more Premier League games 1-0 against Newcastle than any other opponent. Nine of their 26 wins against the Magpies in the division have been by a single goal, including the last three.”  That is from the BBC.

They also tell us that the last time Arsenal lost five successive away league games was in 1984 – a run which ended with a 3-1 victory at St James’ Park, with Charlie Nicholas scoring twice for the Gunners that day.  I am not sure what that tells us.

But the last time Arsenal started a year with five successive away defeats was in 1925 and I know that because of the work being done on the Arsenal History Society site concerning Arsenal under Henry Norris.  The series hasn’t got to that date yet (it is still in 1922), but 1924/5 was the last season of Leslie Knighton being in charge and his dismal performance in this, and the previous two seasons led to the appointment by Sir Henry Norris of Herbert Chapman as manager.

In fact that away losing streak in the league really was quite something…

Date Game Res Score
13 Dec 1924 Burnley v Arsenal L 1-0
25 Dec 1924 Birmingham City v Arsenal L 2-1
03 Jan 1925 Liverpool v Arsenal L 2-1
24 Jan 1925 Sheffield United v Arsenal L 2-1
07 Feb 1925 Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal L 1-0
28 Feb 1925 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 2-0
14 Mar 1925 Notts County v Arsenal L 2-1
28 Mar 1925 Sunderland v Arsenal L 2-0
01 Apr 1925 Aston Villa v Arsenal L 4-0
11 Apr 1925 Preston North End v Arsenal L 2-0
13 Apr 1925 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal L 2-0
25 Apr 1925 Leeds United v Arsenal L 1-0
02 May 1925 Bury v Arsenal L 2-0

We missed relegation by one place.  You might note that the last six games involved no Arsenal goals at all, and in fact we never scored more than one.

Anyway back to today.  Here is a team…


Bellerin Chambers Holding Kolasianc

Elneny Xhaka

 Iwobi Nelson Welbeck


That would give us a beach of

Macey, Mustafi, Mertesacker, Monreal, Ramsey, Lacazette, Nketiah

Or not as the case may be

The point here is that by playing the two defensive midfielders means that Nelson is free to roam, which is what he will do anyway, and gives us a solid attacking force for him to put the passes through to.

But we shall see.


From the Arsenal History Society

Arsenal in Feb 1922. Norris missing, Cup success, relegation threatens, and a monkey


42 Replies to “Newcastle v Arsenal. The conundrum, our worst away run and a team”

  1. Lineup from LiveScore:

    Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal
    Elneny, Xhaka
    Iwobi, Willock, PEA

    Beach: Mertesacker, Ospina, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, Nelson, Nketiah

    Looks like our injured list took a big drop down.


  2. The team has both Elneny & Xhaka but includes Willock. This is great news as another Arsenal youth player hits the first team. It’s a Wenger speciality that many do not credit.

  3. Le Boss has done 6 changes to his starting team that started in our last CSKA Moskiva 2-2 draw in the Europa last Thursday night for this our today’s Newcastle match in the PL.

    The Gunners 1st team starters who are missing from Le Boss’ CSKA match starts in his starting XI today are: Koscielny, Bellerin, Oezil, Ramsey, Welbeck(benched) and Wilshere(rested) with Wilshere’s case understandable. But in the case of the rest five, Le Boss might have decided to rest them for fatigue reason or niggling injuries reason. Otherwise, I would have said I don’t understand why Le Boss has decided not to play his strongest starting XI for this Newcastle match as Arsenal hopes to make a top four finish this season is not yet dead.

  4. LiveScore has a note, that Chambers was on the receiving end of a dangerous challenge. Not even a foul issued apparently. Or was that the free kick that Xhaka took (next entry)?

    Nothing strange about that, eh?


  5. How to go Lacazette! Nice assist PEA.

    Wonderful team goal they say, but they don’t know who passed the ball at one point. 🙂


  6. Probably the 4th or 5th time they have taken down our forwards on a break. It’s becoming a pattern…time to pull out a yellow, Ref.

  7. Just wait 13, pretty soon Kane will be blowing the whistle too.

    I had noticed a few charges on Arsenal players there, not enough context to know what was happening.

    It looks like Chambers needs some more shooting practice. 🙂


  8. First half stats.

    _5 50
    10 59
    15 71
    20 70
    25 70
    30 72
    35 70
    40 73
    45 73
    Shots on target 3:4
    _off target _ _ 0:5
    Corners _ _ _ _ 2:3
    Offsides _ _ _ _1:1
    Fouls _ _ _ _ _ 8:5
    Goal Kicks _ _ _6:3


  9. Sky sports Commentator – “Its been a half that has been devoid of cautions which is very welcome”. Welcome for who? Certainly not for our players who are repeatedly having their angles chopped – PEA was lucky to get up after a particularly nasty one just now.

  10. As predicted, Taylor has been Newcastle best player, allowing them to get away with anything. By my count, they made at least 5 clear yellow card fouls, including 3 in a 5 minutes span from Lejeune (other 2 were Kenedy on Lacazette and Ayoze
    on Xhaka)
    And that is not counting the handball, the most blatant penalty you will ever see (especially compared to one given against Chambers vs WBA), and probably a red card

  11. Some sneaky fouls and some not so sneaky (read halfway up the shin). 10:1 we get the first yellow for an ankle shot…after about 5 of theirs.

  12. I suppose it is normal for Geordies to run to the fish and chips shop with a deep fried Mars bar waving above their heads.

  13. Final stats

    _5 50
    10 59
    15 71
    20 70
    25 70
    30 72
    35 70
    40 73
    45 73
    45+2 73
    50 71
    55 72
    60 72
    65 71
    70 70
    75 70
    80 71
    85 71
    90 71
    90+4 71
    Shots on target 3:4 _4:4
    _off target _ _ 0:5 _3:8
    Corners _ _ _ _ 2:3 _2:5
    Offsides _ _ _ _1:1 _1:2
    Fouls _ _ _ _ _ 8:5 11:9
    Yellows _ _ _ _ 0:0 _1:0
    Goal Kicks _ _ _6:3 11:5

  14. What’s with our away form…

    It’s the blue kit. That fading blue disorients.

  15. A pretty sterile performance. OK work from Willock for a debut, Chambers OK in the first half, less so in the second half. Holding OK. We really lacked creativity and gave virtually no service to Lacazette and Aubemayang. Passing from the rear was a bit slow which allowed them to close us down. As for the ref. He let a whole lot of ankle hacks go and they hauled us down a half dozen times on the break. No yellows there, either. A pretty grey performance all in all.

  16. So Taylor managed to gave a yellow card for timewasting in added time, but still ended the match BEFORE even the even of the minimum added time announced.

    How much ridiculous can it get?

  17. Let’s be honest I doubt we would have equalised if we had 10 minutes extra time. Very embarrassing. Seriously things have to change and soon. This is Arsenal and we expect better.

  18. Cr@p Burnley might finish above us and if we don’t go all the way in the Europa league we might even be out of Europe. Anyone who doesn’t think we’re going backwards needs their bumps felt!

  19. When you talk about inconsistency and wrong sense of judgement, Le Boss is the chief of them. Otherwise, how is he going to explain Arsenal losing today’s match away to Newcastle in the PL by deliberately starting a weaken Gunners team against the Newcastle team that is on resurgence while Arsenal are still in a late top 4th hunt? Arsenal’s Europa League Cup semi-final match against Atletico is still far to warrant the six Gunners 1st team starters change Le Boss has done to the strong starting XI he started against CSKA last Thursday night which I think must have caused Arsenal all points in this match.

  20. ‘which I think must have cost Arsenal all points’ I ment to type.

  21. Comments about Mustafi of late (here and elsewhere) seem out of character for him. I will guess come the end of the season, we will hear that he has been carrying an injury.

    Which won’t stop the people taking out the knives.

  22. Don’t blame a team on one player. Arsenal have issues outside the club that only the fraud squad can clear. Wenger has to select his team to ensure success in Europe.

  23. 5th gen gooner.
    I believe will are guaranteed a Europa league place due to Man City winning the League Cup.
    I stand to be corrected.

  24. I think we will still be In it. We get Man city’s spot. I stand to be corrected.

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