This is going to be the quickest of match previews today becuase I’ve little time to babble on as is customary. In fact, I shall dispense with the vast majority of the formalities and the chitter-chatter as throw you straight into some team news.
Jack wilshere returns from serving a two match suspension for making naughty gestures towards a bunch of cretins hurling foul remarks at him regarding his children. I wonder if the FA will be banning Nicolas Anelka for his anti-semintic goal celebrations – I have to be honest here; I can’t help but think the whole thing is being blown way, way out of proportion. Nicolas Anelka is a bit of a pr*ck, but I’m not sure even he is stupid enough to purposely make such a blatantly racist statement on national television. The gesture can be taken two ways, and perhaps it simply was a dedication to a friend.
Aaron Ramsey, as we all know, will miss out with a thigh injury. Lukas Podolski could feature from the start along with Koscielny and Rosicky who are both back in the squad. Sanogo and Diaby have been sent in outer space to get them out of everyone’s hair for a few days. Given the short periods between games, we are likely to see some rotation of players, but I figure we’ll see more of that for the game against Cardiff. My best guess at the line-up would be:
I’ve gone with Podolski upfront because Giroud could use a bit of a break. Arsene will most probably decide to play the big Frenchman as he’s short on confidence at present and could use a goal to get himself back on track.
Newcastle have been performing well on their own turf in recent weeks. Their ranks include players capable of upsetting most defences and they’ll be a tough nut to crack when backed by their supporters. I’m slightly wary of this one. With the games coming so quickly, it is difficult for the team to consistently perform to a high level. We are playing a very tricky opponent, and whilst I don’t doubt for a second we have the ability to beat them should we have a good day, it’s going to be a stern test of our credentials.
We seem better suited to playing away from home where there is more space behind to be exploited. Theo’s pace and direct running is a greater weapon against a side that doesn’t park the bus and intends to attack and try to win the game. We have the talent in midfield to dominate possession, and doing so will be crucial to victory. As we saw at West Ham, allowing our opponents to take the lead and get their supporters behind them is something we want to avoid. Unlike West Ham, Newcastle’s attacking players will punish us is we allow them too many chances.
My guess is a fairly open game today. A draw wouldn’t be catastrophic, but a win would be of far greater use. I’m going to stick my head out and say we’re looking at a 2-1 triumph. Should be a good game, too.
That’s all from me. Let me know what you think in the comments section. Is there someone in particular you think should definitely play today? Do you believe we need to rest a few tired legs? Drop me a line with your views.
As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.
With all the grumbling and squabbling taking place on Twitter; with all the arguing bloggers and folks trying to make themselves appear virtuous by damning others, I think now is as good a time as any to remind you all what Twitter is really about. Take it away, Dyllan…
Great if you could all shut up about Anelka & Ramsey injury and get back to what Twitter is about. Calling @_ArmchairGooner a salty harlot.
— Dyllan Munro (@GoonerDyllan) December 28, 2013
Wise words from a very strange little man.