The Magpies will host a livid Arsenal at St James’ this Sunday Afternoon’s Premier League fixture.
There’s a good possibility of magpies nicking points in this one as the Gunners are completely out of form at this moment with a recent narrow loss to Villareal in the Europa League Semi-final 1st leg doing them no favors.
After a torrid run of only two wins in 16 league games followed by a disaster 3-0 defeat to the hands of Brighton which saw Newcastle slip ever closer to the relegation places, many toon fans have given up hope and demanded to sack Bruce.
On the contrary, the club hierarchy(Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley only) decided to back Bruce publicly and this has worked for now the least with Steve Bruces’ side has since taken eight points from their last four matches to move nine points clear of 18th-placed Fulham with only five matches remaining.
The players deserve a lot of praise for showing hunger and desire on the pitch. Recalling Ritchie, Longstaff and Murphy are proving key for our side, and finally a big thanks to our loanee super-sub Joe Willock to bang in with crucial late goals.
But the Magpies need to be wary of the wounded animal in Arsenal, they are 9 points away from 5th place. The reality is the Gunners have little left to play for in the Premier League this season and they will be focusing on the Europa League tie this Thursday night.
The Mikel Arteta’s side can play it into Newcastle’s hands if they tried to dominate irrelevant possession cause Wilson and Saint-Maximin turn Newcastle into a different beast and a decent counter-attacking outfit. With Murphy and Miggy also available the toon have enough pace to cause potential havoc on transitions.
Joe Willock will be unavailable for this one as he’s on-loan from Arsenal themselves and can’t face his parent club. (So no trump card for Brucey this week)
Jamaal Lascelles, Fraser, Hayden and Darlow all ruled out due to long-term injuries respectively.
Fabian Schar will be available but Bruce stated that they have to be careful as he’s been out for eleven weeks. He has played in U-23’s game against Palace, so there’s a good chance he may be involved.
Matt Ritchie has got a calf injury and is doubtful too but Bruce believes he’s a touch and go and will be Ok.
For Arsenal, both Kieran Tierney and Alex Lacazzete will face late fitness tests and it’s doubtful that Arteta would risk any of them.
Formation and Predicted Lineup
counter-attacking 5-3-2 formation will be the preferred formation for obvious reasons, as it provides solidity and if executed proactively it works wonders against possession-based sides.
In goal would be our indispensable shot-stopper Martin Dubravka, who made many crucial saves in the Liverpool tie.
I want to see the trio of Fabian Schar, Fede Fernandez, and Dummett as my three centre-halves, I have gone for Schar because firstly he’s ball-playing and has lately shown his defensive aggressive press notably in 0-0 draw against Liverpool earlier this season. (and most importantly he has the ability to take Shelvey’s creator role in the future and you know I can’t take Shelvey jogging in the middle of the park)
And also sometimes our defense criminally backs out and tends to go deep into our own box and resist tackling, which only increases pressure upon us.
Ritchie and Murphy will act as wingers turned wing-backs and Murphy’s added pace and dribbling ability has given Newcastle a new element.
In the midfield Shelvey, Longstaff, and Miggy will get a nod. (I am forced to pick up Shelvey because Willock is not available and you just can’t have the “Irish Colback(Hendrick)” on the pitch)
Upfront will be a duo of Wilson and Saint-Maximin. (I’m sorry lads! I will also miss our Brazilian sensation too, we’ll have him as a sub though)
Prediction: Newcastle United 2-1 Arsenal
I am a bit confident these days, so going for a narrow 2-1 win for the Magpies. With Wilson opening the scoring with a simple tap-in from 5-yards served on-plate by our Magic Maxi. Aubameyang will score leveler (As he always scores against us despite his poor form). Joelinton coming up with another surprise goal to seal things off after coming as a sub.
Do let us know your predictions in the comments below!