Arsenal v Newcastle: the team, the danger of a ban and a record to beat


by Bulldog Drummond

And so, the last post of the build up for the Newcastle game.

The two clubs have played each other a massive 189 times, with Arsenal winning 83 and Newcastle 68.  The defeat back in May (2-0 away) was very frustrating, and very unusual.  In the previous 21 games we had only lost once (2-1 away in 2018) and our victories included the wonderful 7-3 drubbing on 12 March 2012 which will live long in the memory.

Prior to that most recent defeat, Arsenal had won eight consecutive games in a row against Newcastle, seven in the league and one in the FA cup.

In terms of the team Sports Mole report that Emile Smith Rowe “has taken part in a few training sessions… but he will only make the bench at best here if he is passed fit.”

And they, as with the TV commentators for the Brighton game, are noting how well Eddie is doing.  As they say, “Nketiah continues to fill the boots of Jesus admirably and could record his 12th goal from his last 12 starts at the Emirates, despite only having 16 shots on target during that eyebrow-raising run.”

Actually, my eyebrows stayed in place, but then Untold has never been critical of Eddie.

But it is interesting to look back at earlier newspaper articles, where headlines such as Mikel Arteta reveals plan to replace ‘unique’ Arsenal star Gabriel Jesus from the Metro were all the rage for a while.  These journalists!  What scally-wags they are.

The Short Fuse were even more direct saying With Gabriel Jesus injury, Arsenal must sign an attacking player. while Give Me Sport went with Arsenal will ‘consider short-term signing’ after Gabriel Jesus setback

We shall of course see in time.  But let us not forget that one way or another Arsenal have scored 40 goals this season, which only Manchester City have beaten with 44.   Below them in the goal-scoring stakes are a cluster of four teams in the low 30s.

The team news from Newcastle according to Sports Mole is that Alexander Isak, Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Targett, Emil Krafth and Paul Dummett are “all unavailable for the top-of-the-table clash.”  No one seems completely sure if Joe Willock will continue to play for Newcastle.







Which leaves Sports Mole giving us a line up of


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;

Xhaka, Partey;

Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli;


Which is exactly what the Evening Standard suggests although they change the format of the lineup slightly with


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;

Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka;

Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.

Personally I think the Sports Mole version is closer to the mark.  Odegaard does wander here there and everywhere but the best representation of this is putting him between and slightly deeper than Saka and Martinelli.

The BBC in their preview focus first on the negatives with the news (well, it’s not actually news) that “Bukayo Saka and William Saliba are both one booking from triggering a ban.”

Chris Sutton, writing for the Corporation’s website admits “I was wrong about both of these teams last time out – Newcastle were unlucky not to beat Leeds, but I was miles out when I said Arsenal would lose to Brighton, although the Gunners had to weather a storm at the end of the game.”

Which is good of him to admit a cock-up of mega proportions (he said Arsenal would lose, they won and scored four) but the “weather a storm” line is a bit much.   All away teams that are winning get that treatment at the end of the a game.

As for this match, he adds, “Newcastle are well organised defensively, but Mikel Arteta’s side are so impressive going forward. Arsenal’s other two league games in January are against Tottenham (away) and Manchester United (home).

“At the end of this month we will have a much better idea about whether they can go the distance in the title race, but at the moment they look like they mean business.”

And from that point he predicts a 2-1 Arsenal victory.  We are going along with a victory by a single goal as well, although that’s what we said before the Brighton game and look how that turned out.

Finally, here’s a nice find from the BBC: “Arsenal could equal the Premier League record of 29 clean sheets against a particular opponent, currently held by Manchester United against Tottenham.”  It would be a shame to remove a Tottenham Hots record, but well, someone has to do it.

37 Replies to “Arsenal v Newcastle: the team, the danger of a ban and a record to beat”

  1. Chris Sutton , never liked him , as a player he ‘cheated’ against Arsenal . Boot on the other foot Arsene would have let the opposition play the match again , why ? Because he is an honourable gentleman .

  2. Tony

    “And they, as with the TV commentators for the Brighton game, are noting how well Eddie is doing. As they say, “Nketiah continues to fill the boots of Jesus admirably and could record his 12th goal from his last 12 starts at the Emirates, despite only having 16 shots on target during that eyebrow-raising run.”

    Actually, my eyebrows stayed in place, but then Untold has never been critical of Eddie.

    In fact you’ve been very supportive, as have others including myself. As you may be aware I have endeavoured to back up this positive view, or ‘opinion’ of Eddie with any amount of supporting statistics.

    There have been posters with the opposite view, such as:

    Mr Robert Bradshaw says:

    “Nketiah will never be good enough and nor will Balogun. End of”.

    Absolutely no supporting evidence for this statement was supplied.

    MikeB says:

    “It tells us that, (The Juventus friendly) although Eddie is a good player and on his day an exceptional player, he is, sadly, not good enough consistently enough to lead the attack for Arsenal”.

    No supporting evidence supplied for this statement either.

    Silentstan says:

    “All 3 friendlies have simply reinforced what was clearly obvious even to Stevie Wonder.

    2) Nketiah is not PL standard”

    No supporting evidence supplied for this comment either.

    In response to these baseless, fact less ‘opinions’ I gave my opinion that Nketiah was indeed premier league standard. The key difference being I supplied evidence:

    “Personally I have absolutely no doubt that Eddie will step up to the plate. The rest of the guys will continue to chip in. Therefore we have nothing to be concerned about.

    As I have shown elsewhere (See attached links) he is currently Arsenals most efficient goal scorer. He scores at a rate of a goal every 164 Minutes. Jesus is every 245, Martinelli every 290 and Saka every 386. So he’s not only the most efficient in front of goal, he’s by far the most efficient.

    He performed very well in our first 3 friendly’s playing a total of 194 minutes, scoring 2 goals at a goal every 97 Minutes. Again at a rate that is far better than our 3 other forwards. Then we lose to Juventus and we put that down to Nketiah do we? Even if you add those 93 Minutes played he still scored at a rate of a goal every 164 Minutes over the 4 matches, still way better than the other 3’s goals to minutes ratios.

    And it’s not that he played badly. He put the ball in the net twice, one being disallowed for an obvious offside, the other for a hand ball that I still haven’t seen. He also hit the post. Okay he should of tucked that away but these things happen. If that had gone in or one of the 2 disallowed goals had stood his goals per minute ratio would be 95, even better than the already impressive 143.

    I just don’t get it. I see a wonderful young striker with an already impressive goal scoring record, and he’s just going to get better.

    And just to add, as someone pointed out elsewhere, he’s playing up top without our 2 World class wide men there feeding him.

    Give the guy a break and have some faith for heavens sake.”

    And more recently I said this:

    “I am confident a front 3 of Martinelli, Nketiah and Saka will scare the pants off of any back 4. We will see”

    Well I think we have seen haven’t we.

  3. GAPS – HORROR – OMG-Arsenal are doomed !

    Here is the headline :

    Blow for Arsenal as midfielder ruled out of Newcastle clash

    Well turns out ESR cannot play. Maybe Arsenal should just concede the game and stay home after this unexpected catastrophical setback, shouldn’t they ?

  4. Les, you have a great memory. I have never forgotten Sutton’s unsporting behaviour in that match against Blackburn. I found it quite ironic when he criticised Martinez for his behaviour in the WC final. Pots and black kettles.

  5. The level of agression by Newcastle and the poor reactions by the ref are turning what should be a great game into an ugly fight.
    Visibly they are making a strategy of fouling.
    A bad memory of a 4-4 is coming up in my memory.

  6. Wow, Trippier must have something on the referee because his more than evident demand that Arsenal receive a yellow has succeeded.

  7. Bloody useless referee. Newcastle players badgering the referee should all be carded. Newcasthe like the Stoke Orcs of old.

  8. Well, Newcastle is probably more happy with that half than Arsenal. What an awkward side to play against and thoroughly displeasing to the eye. Hopefully, the midfield and forwards can find a way to give opportunities to the centre backs as there were a lot of passes between Gabriel and Saliba with the rest of them standing around.

  9. Burn was a piece of work…shoving Gabriel to the ground and then complaining that he fell on him…Correct decision by VAR.

  10. Wilson is a flopper…Xhaka actually just placed a hand on his bank and he fell down.

  11. Just saw the replay of gabriel being brought down by Burn…no VAR intervention. So blatant that even the Guardian feed of the game is mentionning it…. totally incompetent refereeing all the way.

  12. Forget the useless refereeing, and look at the game. I don’t know about you guys, but to me this is the fiercest team we’ve encountered so far. They are testing our mettle. Not surprised by their position in the table.
    Arsenal need to be able to win games like these.

  13. Our bright light has definitely been Saka. Tries to make something happen everytime.

  14. This Newcastle team is well drilled in defence and has been happy to waste time since the interval.

  15. Heads up boys, Newcastle has come here with the attitude of a bottom third side.

  16. at least 8 minutes extra time for time wasting and a handball at the end. piss taking ref

  17. We played well. Second half especially. But we should of had 2 penalties. You need those decisions in these tight games.

    That shirt pull on Gabriel was so blatant how could VAR not give that? Imagine we were listening to the deliberations. Now try to imagine how, under any circumstances they can look at that and state that there was no foul. They just couldn’t do it. SO HOW HAVE THEY? Joke.

    The hand ball at the end was more subjective but I still think it was a penalty.

  18. Football team held to draw by cloggers, bus-parkers, time-wasters, absent VAR and useless / incompetent / biased referee.

  19. How on earth did VAR not intervene with the pull on Gabriel ??? I knew it when I saw it was Stuart Attwell as the VAR ref. He would give us nothing. Newcastle a terrible defensive side. Reminded me of the “great” Italian teams who only defended and the hoped for the one lucky counter. Not my cup of football. But the managed to double up for the whole 90 minutes on Saka and Martinelli and we couldn’t break them down. Still we are top of the league and we played one of the most difficult teams in the league when it comes to phisicality and aggression.

  20. Newcastle Utd. backed by all that Saudi money managed to produce a Stoke City performance. Anti-football is back in the Premier League. Madley and Attwell helped to ensure that.

  21. I’ve calmed down a bit. Well played to the boys. Yes, we were unable to get past the parked bus, the felled trees and the authorities gone walkabout. We’ve come to expect the latter. Another positive was that we kept going forward AND did not concede any silly counters. Saka, in particular, played on the front foot. I am still positive about our chances going forward. Up the Guns!

  22. Arteta sounds as annoyed as we are. This is what he had to say:

    On looking frustrated at full time…

    I’m really proud. The way we played, the way we dominated the game. The approach that we had from the beginning. We lacked that spark in the final third to find the opening to find the right moment an extra pass and a little bit of finishing quality but we had a lot of situations in and around the box to do better. There were two scandalous penalties.

    On the last penalty shout in particular…

    Both of them. It’s not particular. It’s a penalty or not a penalty and it’s both penalties.

    Personally I can accept that the referee could miss them. But VAR? No way. As I said earlier. Joke.

  23. The Newcastle defense was tight and hard to breakdown. As Walter pointed out, they were double-teaming Martinelli and Saka. This worked because Zinchenko couldn’t break it down. Except for the first and last 6 or 7 minutes he played as the #10. We have in Odegaard one of the best in football and yet Zinchenko looked to control the ball and the match. Why is he just outside the box, in the middle of the pitch trying to direct traffic? The offense gets narrow and the box gets crowded, hampering the abilities of Eddie and Odegaard. Xhaka is already up there, FFS. Arsenal’s offense ticks over with Odegaard reading the game and distributing. The Boxing Day match was like this one in the first half and Arteta changed it up. Zinchenko was not dominating the ballin the 2nd half. He makes no runs down the left to cross or play the give and go with Martinelli effectively. And he is woefully out of position on defense, last one back. I’m not blaming him entirely for the loss although it might seem that way. Both sides were sound defensively today but I don’t think Arteta got the best from the attacking players. They stood around waiting for the ball. No runs to speak of. If you want to say there was no space – make space.

  24. goonersince72

    We actually created a lot of chances today, unfortunately we just didn’t put any away.

    We had 17 shots, that’s more than against Brighton, West ham, Wolves and Chelsea.

    We hit the target with 4 of them, that’s more than against Chelsea. The same as against Wolves and only one less than against West Ham. It’s just none of them beat the keeper. And lets not forget we were playing a team in incredible form with the best defence in the league, yet we totally dominated possession as well. These are the stats for our last 5 games.

    V Chelsea 14 shots, 2 on target for 1 goal 56% possession

    V Wolves 14 shots, 4 on target for 2 goals 63% possession

    V West Ham 16 shots, 5 on target for 3 goals 66% possession

    V Brighton 14 shots, 7 on target for 4 goals 32% possession

    V Newcastle 17 shots, 4 on target for 0 goals 67% possession

    “The Boxing Day match was like this one in the first half”

    V Brighton first half we had 8 shots, 3 on target with 33% possession
    v Newcastle first half we had 7 shots, 1 on target with 63% possession

    “Arteta changed it up”

    Not really

    V Brighton second half we had 6 shots, 4 on target with 31% possession

    That’s less shots and less possession than the first half. But that statement could be true of today.

    V Newcastle second half we had 10 shots 3 on target with 71% possession

    That’s more shots and more possession than the first half.

    “Zinchenko was not dominating the ball in the 2nd half. He makes no runs down the left to cross or play the give and go with Martinelli effectively. And he is woefully out of position on defence, last one back. I’m not blaming him entirely for the loss”.

    Well firstly we didn’t lose. And secondly, what ARE you blaming him for then? You make comparisons between the 2nd half of the Brighton match with todays match which simply don’t add up.

    We totally dominated this game pretty much from start to finish and definitely much much more than we did the Brighton game. Having more possession, having more shots and defending better. Against Brighton we conceded 9 shots at goal, 4 on target for 2 goals. Today we conceded 8 shots at goal with just 1 single solitary shot on target for zero goals.

    All that was lacking today was the clinical finishing that we have come to expect.

    Other than that this was a great performance against a very very good opponent, and pointing the finger at Zinchenko, as you seem to be, makes absolutely no sense at all.

    Looks like you was watching a different match to me.

  25. In fairness, Newcastle played well. They were disciplined and well organised. They worked very hard and deserved the draw…….well that’s the least SkyTV think. We were better than them statistically and at football and also because two absurd penalty decisions went the way the PGMO had pre-determined they should go…..provided they believed the media would allow them to get away with it.

    Don’t get me wrong, Newcastle are a good side. But we are by far the best side in the leagu at the moment . Whether we’ll be “allowed” to win it, who knows.

    Before the season started I’d have happily accepted top four. However, £20 each way on Arsenal to win the league makes things a little more intense….but I’ll still be happy with top two!!

    Tonight was not a bad result…and, for a change…..
    I’ll be cheering on Chelsea on Thursday.

  26. Mikey

    Thank you, but to be fair I did make a mistake as I did the big comparison with Brighton when goonersince72 was making the comparison with the West Ham game. So I will put that right now and do that comparison:

    Over the 90minutes.

    V West ham 16 shots, 5 on target with 66% possession
    V Newcastle 17 shots, 4 on target with 67% possession

    So apart from goals almost identical

    V West Ham first half 6 shots with 1 on target with 72% possession
    V Newcastle first half 7 shots with 1 on target with 63% Possession

    Again apart from goals almost identical

    V West Ham second half 10 shots with 4 on target with 60% possession
    V Newcastle second half 10 shots with 3 on target with 71% possession

    Again apart from goals almost identical.

    So, yes goonersince72 is correct we did step up in the second half of the West Ham match, but we did exactly the same today, against a much better side.

    In actual fact the 2 matches are eerily similar.

    I Know we all see things differently I just thought it was unfair to a) suggest we didn’t play that well, and b) that in some way that was down to Zinchenko

    I thought we did play very well as a team, and the stats seem to support that. They suggest we played equally as well as we did against West ham, probably better because, as I say Newcastle are a lot lot better team than West Ham. I also felt Zinchenko played very well as an individual and was a big part of todays very good performance.

    But of course as I said, what was missing today was our usual clinical finishing and that had nothing to do with Zinchenko

    But it is about opinions it’s just I like to try and support mine with some stats, if I can.

    At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. However we played we are still top. Still clear and Man city may even lose to Chelsea.

  27. It was truly a tough game for us , but we did try our very best against all the odds . I take it as a point gained , as to two points lost.
    Hope that Chelsea sort out Man City . That would truly cheer up my Chelsea loving son !
    Up the Gunners !

  28. Just read “ The Numbers “ on Arseblog News it stated the ball was in play for only 53 minutes , the average ball in play time is 61 minutes . This is down to one thing , bad refereeing , allowing time wasting to happen , didn’t we have our centrehalf yellow carded recently for the same offence with pundits astonished , no consistency across all aspects of refereeing

  29. Nitram,
    I was wrong. It was a draw not a loss. Of course some of this is subjective. I prefer Odegaard running the show. In two lengthy comments you never mentioned him but praised Zinchenko’s performance “as an individual” and “was a big part of today’s very good performance”. Perhaps we were watching two different matches, lol.

    To me the banter is all in fun. I look forward to your comments and read every one!

  30. goonersince72

    Yes it is, and you are of course right, it is subjective.

    I mentioned Zinchenko because I felt you was putting a lot of the blame for what you seem to of perceived as a bellow par performance at his door. Your basis for this seems to be, put simply, is that he got in Odegaards way.

    Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, either way I don’t think it stopped us playing very well as a team, and the fact we posted better stats than our 4 previous games in almost all parameters except goals, supports that.

    It certainly wasn’t Zinchenkos fault we wasn’t as clinical in front of goal as we have been.

    So subjectively I don’t agree we played bellow par. Statistically we didn’t perform bellow par. Therefore whatever Zinchenko did, didn’t harm our overall performance. The question seems to be, did it affect Odegaards performance, because I think we both agree that as an individual, Odegaard did have a bellow par game.

    His intricate little passes just didn’t come off. He wasn’t clinical with his half chances. It happens. Someone somewhere, Chris I think, suggested he looked tired and I tend to agree. This isn’t a criticism. He still didn’t play bad, just not at the amazing level we have become used to. I just don’t think it’s fair to put that bellow par performance down to Zinchenko. I tend to agree with Chris that he just looked a bit tired.

    And I agree the banter is part of the fun and I too appreciate your comments. A debate like this is what it’s all about. We just saw it differently and that’s fine.

  31. What I can’t understand is how Wilson received a yellow for the studs up challenge on Saliba in the first half? I’d like to hear what the referees (Walter, Nitram, etc) have to say about that as I thought that a studs up like that is supposed to be a red. A few years ago Mitrovic (Fulham) received a red for stomping on 1 of the Arsenal players’ foot, hence my question. Was this not over-the-top from Wilson? Could someone please enlighten me as that would have changed the game, in my opinion

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