by Bulldog Drummond
The issues of the day are that Pablo Mari won’t play, and Martinelli might play, but possibly as a sub (to be used if the Newcastle defence is being resolute).
As for Tierney (pictured left, but you knew that without me saying) he is allegedly not as badly injured as previously feared but that doesn’t mean he’ll start in this match – again he might be a sub, as with Martinelli.
Gabriel and Partey are the two players many people are expecting to pop into the line up, having recovered fully, but there is no indication if they are fully match fit, as opposed to being recovered from the injury and ready for the beach.
So let’s see what the pundits and the bloggers make of it all.
Sports Mole go with…
Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Lacazette
The Evening Standard go with
Leno; Bellerin, Hlding, Luiz, Tierney; Ceballos, Xhaka; Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Lacazette
I think we can take it that Hlding is in fact a result of the Untold Arsenal proof reader doing a spot of moonlighting with the Standard.
Interestingly both these sites predict 2-0 to the Arsenal.
The BBC tell us that “The Magpies have lost five consecutive competitive away matches for the first time since a run of 10 from December 2015 to April 2016,” which is interesting, but as usual they won’t predict a team.
So we turn to the Guardian, and they go with exactly the same line up as the Standard but without the spelling mistake.
The Short Fuse however don’t think Tierney will make it but have Gabriel fit, so they have
Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Maitland-Niles; Ceballos, Xhaka; Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Lacazette
It is interesting just how much of a fixture Smith Rowe has now become as our new number 10, and how he is playing alongside Saka in these predictions. Total age of those two: 39. Indeed you could put three members of this team together, add up their ages, and get a total less than that of individual members of the Untold Arsenal pub team (currently much relieved to find that the playing of football on public facilities in England is most certainly not allowed).
The Hard Tackle provides a little more variation
Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Pain in the Arsenal however does go in a somewhat different direction…
Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka, Smith Rowe Martinelli, Aubameyang Saka
That does look interesting – rather like a way of the management getting ready to give Aubameyang a kick up the backside to re-start his scoring. He did after all score in his last outing against Newcastle. But this does mean leaving out our top scorer (Lacazette with nine). Aubameyang has six, and Nketiah and Pepe have five each.
Sky Sprouts are backing Newcastle to win 0-1, presumably so that their commentators can do another rant against Arsenal. As ever they don’t deign to give us a team lineup prediction but they do say that “Playing Newcastle basically mirrors playing Crystal Palace and with Mikel Arteta unlikely to change their style, it could be another frustrating evening in terms of chance creation.”
One wonders why the person writing that commentary is not earning a fortune by being a Premier League manager.
GunnersTown tell us that “Arteta has received a double boost with Gabriel Martinelli and Kieran Tierney expected to be fit in time” but they don’t put Martinelli in the team, yet they do give us the most interesting line-up of all.
Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang, Saka, Lacazette
Well you never know… and that unusual line up is refreshing, in that the author of their piece James Humphreys says of himself, “I’m a 20 year-old Arsenal fanatic and aspiring Sports Journalist, who will be studying how to write about the Beautiful Game at Solent University from September in an attempt to make my dream into a reality.”
Good luck to you James – and don’t let your lecturers convince you that the way sports journalism exists at the moment is the only way to do it. It is possible to apply a certain degree of intelligence and not treat your readership as utter morons.
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