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Newcastle vs. Arsenal - Match thread: Third straight season-changing game

Not for the Toon, surely for the Goon

Newcastle United v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Newcastle are hosting Arsenal in the last home game of the season and the lads are about to wave goodbye to the Geordie Faithful at St James’ Park. After what the fanbase had to endure for the first few months of the season—not to mention years gone by—it makes sense to host such a top-notch match to finish the home-turf campaign until a very improved squad takes on the Premier League next season after a magnificent summer of arrivals thanks to the new board.

Arsenal are coming nervous, shy, and fearful. They know they need the three points if they want to be in a relatively good position ahead of their final game of the season. The reason? A chance at qualifying for the next edition of the UEFA Champions League. Serious business right there, and a thing Newcastle fans would love to see the team fight for as soon as next year—they hope.

After getting clearly outplayed by Tottenham (3-0) last Thursday, Mikel Arteta and his boys are taking on Newcastle hoping to get back on the win column or at the very least to extract a point from Tyneside’s pastures. The defeat against the Spurs in the North London Derby was always a possibility, but the trouncing was too much to bear by the Gunners.

Arsenal had won their prior four games (against Leeds, West Ham, Man. Utd., and Chelsea) and, if I’m brutally honest, that’s no joke considering the absolutely disastrous luck they’ve had this season with injures, transfers, and the incredibly young squad they’re deploying week after week. On the positive side of things for Newcastle, Arsenal have conceded at least one goal in eight consecutive games, which of course includes scoring outings by the likes of Leeds and Southampton/Brighton/Crystal Palace on top of that.

The men from London will need to adapt to a brand new defensive line given the expected absences of Gabriel Magalhaes, Kieran Tierney, and Rob Holding—midfielder Thomas Partey is also out. The consensus choice at the back reads Tavares-Tomiyasu-White-Cedric, but that’s more out of need than actual talent and cohesion. In other words: even with their scoring woes, Newcastle are probably going to have a few chances at scoring through the 90 minutes, so they better take advantage of those ones to take the lead and get something from this game.

It is all up in the air when it comes to the Magpies that will take the field by kick-off time as Eddie Howe made clear a few days ago that he wants to test the waters and check on the status and viability of certain club players remaining in Newcastle next season. Does that mean the likes of Jacob Murphy and Dwight Gayle get more playing time? Is Miguel Almiron fighting for prolonging his Magpie tenure? Allan Saint-Maximin too, maybe?

Newcastle have had a very rough time every day they’ve met with Arsenal, no matter the competition. The last win by the Toon came in Sep. 2018 (2-0) in the Premier League at St James’ Park. Other than that, though, it’s been 18 losses in 19 games played getting back to Mar. 2012, and a couple of draws before that making it just one victory for the Magpies since February of 2011, more than 10 years ago.

Arsenal is facing their strongest opponent in the remaining two games left in their schedule. After Newcastle, they’ll be going against Everton in the final game of the season on Sunday. Of course, Everton is by no means an easy opponent if only because of their precarious situation when it comes to avoiding relegation, but Newcastle should put a more competitive set of players on the field on Monday than Everton next weekend.

The same goes for the Magpies, as they’ll wrap up the 2021-22 campaign against relegation-probable Burnley in parallel to that Arsenal vs. Everton game on a final and unified matchday to drop the 2022 curtain and enter a crucial summer that could define the future of the club.

Newcastle XI - Dubravka, Kraft, Schar, Burn, Targett, Bruno, Longstaff, Joelinton, Almirón Saint-Maximin, Wilson

Arsenal XI - Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares, Xhaka, Elneny, Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Nketiah

Newcastle vs. Arsenal

  • Date: Monday, May 16
  • Time: 3:00 pm ET, 8:00 pm UK
  • Location: St James’ Park, Newcastle
  • TV: SKY GO Extra, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Ultra HD, Sky Sports Premier League, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Newcastle (UK), UNIVERSO, UNIVERSO NOW, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, USA Network (USA), DAZN (Canada)

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Howay the Lads!