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Newcastle v Arsenal: handbrake off, Everton points deduction, David gold on sucking

By Bulldog Drummond

There is a rare old collection of tempting headlines around the papers this morning, which I thought I’d throw in, swirl around and drag out the pot, as we warm up to tomorrow’s game.

How about this one

“Manchester City left bemused after police admit to no arrests five months after Anfield coach attack”.  Why bemused?  Police numbers are dropping drastically in the UK as the government imposes austerity on everyone except themselves.  Looking at reports and footage, there seem to have been far too few police at the match, and it appears no one took seriously any thought about what what might happen at a game like that.

Meanwhile back down south, David Gold “wants to stop agents ‘sucking tons of money out of football’.”  That got a few wry smiles at Untold.  I think we’d write “Untold wants West Ham to stop sucking money out of the taxpayers”.  But each headline writer must make his or her own choice.

And staying with headlines here’s another: “Everton face potential points deduction over Marco Silva ‘tapping up’ when he was at Watford”   That one took us by surprise.  Although I think the emphasis is on “potential”.  I’d be taken aback if it happens.

We have also learned that so far the owner of Manchester City has put £1,300,000,000 into the club, and is still investing.  And here we really should not be surprised that Arsenal can’t keep up.  As far as I can see the owner at Arsenal has put nothing into the club at all – only money into buying shares.  The £70,000,000 spent on transfers this last summer came from the club’s own resources.

And so, what of our match this weekend?  Do we see any news on that one?   “Time for Benítez to release the handbrake” is one of the few thus far.

Rafa Benítez was very cautious in the two games thus far against teams that ended up in the top six last time around.  Now, it is said, he needs to let Newcastle play with more freedom.   But…

But he won’t, or so the paper says.  Journalist knows better than the manager!  Blimey that’s a first! (actually that’s irony).  (And irony is the opposite of wrinkly).

Mr B is unhappy that the owners of his club didn’t put loadsamoney into the club for transfery type things.  “All the same, there seems little need for Newcastle to remain in ultra-defensive mode when they host Arsenal on Saturday. Arsenal are frail at the back and Benítez should not forget that his side won this fixture last season.” says the Guardian.

So let’s see how this stacks up.

Newcastle have scored four, and conceded six this season so far.  Arsenal have scored eight, conceded eight in the league  Only Cardiff, Huddersfield and West Ham have scored fewer so far (each having two goals) compared to Newcastle.  But only four teams have conceded more than Newcastle.  And yet Arsenal are frail at the back?

Certainly Newcastle have had a tough draw in terms of opening fixtures.

Date Match Res Score Competition
11 Aug Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur L 1-2 Premier League
18 Aug Cardiff City v Newcastle United D 0-0 Premier League
26 Aug Newcastle United v Chelsea L 1-2 Premier League
29 Aug Nottingham Forest v Newcastle United L 3-1 League Cup
01 Sep Manchester City v Newcastle United L 2-1 Premier League
04 Sep Doncaster Rovers v Newcastle United W 1-3 FL  Trophy

But although having Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City in the opening four games is very tough going, they also had Cardiff, and the league cup defeat to Forest was not that clever.

Arsenal’s comparative list is a little more encouraging after the two opening defeats…

Date Match Res Score Competition
12 Aug Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-2 Premier League
18 Aug Chelsea v Arsenal L 3-2 Premier League
25 Aug Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-1 Premier League
02 Sep Cardiff City v Arsenal W 2-3 Premier League
12 Sep Coventry City v Arsenal W 0-3 FL Trophy

On the discussion front Mr Emery is said to have asked Mesut Özil to become more dominant in games, saying…

“I want to find with him the possibility to do the best, to make decisive passes, to do more near and in the box to score.  He is working for the team to help us with his quality. But he is feeling like I am feeling. He can improve, he can do more. We will work, we will help him, give him the possibility on the pitch to be together, to find his qualities for us.”

Assuming that Mesut plays it will be his first game in Tyneside, and certainly I can’t see why he shouldn’t play.  As the manager added, “Mesut works very well here. I look at him with the focus totally here. I have a very good relationship with Mesut and professionally I push him for improvements to give us the best in his qualities and performances.”

More anon.

And later today from the History Society:

The anniversaries for today, plus Arsenal reaching their highest ever league position in 1925, and FA allegations against Sir Henry Norris.

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