Something happened last Saturday that we hadn’t seen in ages: Newcastle were held to a goalless draw in a Premier League game for the first time in nine matches spanning a month and a half. The last time to do that to the Magpies was Manchester United and it happened all the way back on Oct. 16th.
Newcastle had scored at least one goal in all but three games this season before Saturday, so it was quite bizarre to see the squad limited to none—let alone against a relegation-bound team such as Leeds. Brighton, Crystal Palace, Man Utd, and now Leeds are the only clubs able so far to prevent NUFC from bagging at least one.
Arsenal, who are hosting Newcastle on Tuesday, don’t really look capable of that with a defense that has not leaked many goals overall (14 goals allowed in 16 games) but that somehow has struggled mightily at home. Of those 14 goals against, 8 came in games played at the Emirates with Arsenal conceding at least one goal to their opponents in all matches played on their stadium with just one exception (Nott. Forest back on Oct. 30).
This game, on a Tuesday, is the only one scheduled on such a weekday for the Gunners this season barring fixture changes as the season advances and things get tighter with other competitions interfering and taking weekdays off the schedule.
Newcastle has already played (and won) on such a day, as recently as on Dec. 20 when they defeated Bournemouth in the 4th Round of the Carabao Cup right after the World Cup break. Arsenal today and Leicester next Tuesday make for two of the remaining three Toon Tuesdays on the Magpies 2023 fixture list.
Mikel Arteta will have everybody—with the exceptions of Gabriel Jesus and Reiss Nelson— available on Tuesday, including the returning Emile Smith Rowe. That doesn’t mean the latter will play, though, considering Arteta has been very loyal to his most-used XI and no wild changes are expected, even less against a title contender such as Newcastle.
Because yes, that’s right. Arsenal might be leading the title race but the Magpies are lurking and sitting third in the Premier League table with 34 points in 17 matches, just two points behind Man City and nine behind the Gunners.
With Pep Guardiola staying off MD19 until Thursday, a victory by Newcastle will see them sleep in second for the next two days and 48 hours. A loss and a win by Man Utd later today is the only combination that could have Newcastle dropping a place on the table from now until at least Jan. 14 when league-play returns.
Eddie Howe spoke to the media on Monday providing some fresh takes on Newcastle’s state of affairs just hours before today’s game.
You can read everything Howe had to say here, as part of our pre-match coverage.
FotMob.com predictions at the upcoming Starting XIs from the Magpies and the Gunners are in, so let’s go through what could be coming from Newcastle’s Eddie Howe.
- Not Available: Isak (calf), Shelvey (calf), Krafth (knee), Dummett (calf), Targett (foot)
- Doubtful: —
- Key game in the race for the title—whether that ends up involving Newcastle or not. Arsenal are in front of a massive chance to go 10 points ahead of Man City with the Citizens facing a struggling Chelsea next Thursday. You bet they will be trying to win this one however possible.
- Of course, they’ll have the Magpies in front of them... which, no joke. Newcastle have earned exactly two points per game, have allowed the fewest goals against (11) in the whole Premier League to date, and have bagged 32 bangers themselves.
- Arsenal and Newcastle are the only two Premier League teams with at least four wins in their last five games. Arsenal lost for the last time on Nov. 9 (they are on a three-game winning streak after that). Newcastle have gone unbeaten since the last day of August winning nine games and drawing five.
- No changes are expected in Eddie Howe’s lineup barring a comeback from Callum Wilson in replacement of Chris Wood, who started last Saturday’s matchup against Leeds. Wilson already entered the pitch last weekend, so there is a large chance he gets to the NUFC XI today if he’s fit/healthy enough.
- The injuries suffered by Jonjo Shelvey a few days ago and Matt Targett after the game against Leeds have Newcastle’s bench in shambles—and it’s hella worrying with a whole lot of games still to be played from now through May.
- Seriously, the Magpies’ reserves read like this entering Tuesday’s matchup: Karl Darlow and Martin Dubravka (goalies), Jamal Lewis, Javier Manquillo, Jamaal Lascelles (defenders), Elliot Anderson (midfielder), Matt Ritchie, Ryan Fraser, Allan Saint-Maximin, Jacob Murphy, Chris Wood (forwards).
- Eddie Howe is keeping fans grounded and their hopes for big transfers in the January transfer window down, but reinforcements are needed. It’s not about flashy signings or huge splashes, it’s just about strengthening a rotation that will suffer mightily in the injury bug bites it. Yuri Tielemans and/or James Maddison? Can live with that.
CHN Predicted Lineup
DEF Trippier - Schar - Botman - Burn
MID Longstaff - Bruno - Willock
WNG Almirón - Joelinton
⚡️ ⚡️— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 3, 2023
Saliba at the back
Odegaard in midfield
Martinelli on the wing
Let’s start 2023 positively pic.twitter.com/B1TN2fYDuQ
- Date: Tuesday, January 2nd
- Kick-off: 19:45 BST / 16:45 EST / 14:45 PST
- Location: Emirates Stadium, London (England)
- Broadcasts: fuboTV (CAN) — SiriusXM FC, nbcsports.com, NBC Sports App, USA Network, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, UNIVERSO NOW, UNIVERSO (USA) — Sky Ultra HD, SKY GO Extra, Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event, BBC Radio 5 Live (UK)
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Howay the Lads!