In a rare development, Newcastle will play back-to-back Premier League games at St. James’ Park for the first time since last September, and that only happened because of the postponement of MD7 because of the passing of the Queen.
The Magpies return to their ground for the second time in twee weeks after beating bottom-dweller Southampton 3-1 last Sunday with an extraordinary outing by POTM Callum Wilson. It was Newcastle’s third win in a row and eighth in the last nine league games they’ve played.
Arsenal FC will arrive at SJP with (nearly) all hopes of lifting the chip lost after their bad results of late (1W-3D-1L) and trying to finish the campaign in second place ahead of Newcastle, which is still not a given considering the Magpies have a game in hand on AFC and can close the weekend just 10 points behind the Gunners with four still to play and Arteta’s boys looking wasted. Never say never.
Howe took to the microphones and addressed the most pressing questions by the media on Friday two days before the Magpies return to St James’ Park for the game against Arsenal scheduled for Sunday, May 7th.
The gaffer started his presser by praising the lads and their impressive run of results.
“All season we haven’t focused on where we are, who’s around us, form of teams—we’ve just focused on ourselves and that’s all we can do.”
“We have a tough run of fixtures but I think at the same time a great run of fixtures because every game is important.”
“They’re great occasions and we look to carry on our good form.”
Howe also made sure to keep everybody on their toes considering there is still more than a month's worth of competition—including five EPL games—still left to play.
“In our five games left we need to give our best preparation and focus to because the fight we’re in could go right to the end of the season.”
“We’re competing against elite teams who will fight to the end and we have to do the same.”
Sean Longstaff missed last weekend’s game against Southampton and Eddie Howe provided a half-promising little update on the Academy midfielder ahead of the clash against Arsenal.
“Sean Longstaff is OK.”
“He’s improved but he hasn’t trained yet.”
“We’re hoping either today or tomorrow he will but we’ll wait and see.”
Another extraordinary performer earlier this season that saw his campaign halted was Frenchman Allan Saint-Maximin. The winger announced his return to NUFC in his personal social network accounts earlier this week and Howe confirmed that he’s already trained with the group ahead of Sunday’s matchup.
“Allan has trained. He trained yesterday and it was great to see him back on the grass.”
“He trained very well too so I’m really pleased with that.”
Howe and the whole Magpies organization seem to be very pleased about the news related to Lewis Miley’s recently-signed new contract with Newcastle. The manager shared some thoughts and explained the player’s situation in the current team’s organigram and how the club should work on nurturing more homegrown talent going forward instead of building exclusively through the transfer market.
“I’m in a difficult position because I can only promote players through the Academy that I feel are good enough to play in the Premier League and that’s such a difficult journey to go on.”
“Lewis has got an amazing chance to do that. At his age, he’s got all the attributes and now he needs a little bit of luck and to continue on the path he’s on with the great work he’s already done.”
“I’d love there to be a few more. It’ll save us a fortune in the transfer market if we can produce more on a consistent basis.”
The Gunners will fly north to Newcastle carrying a bunch of banged-up lads. Arsenal won’t be able to count on William Saliba while there is a chance Mikel Arteta needs to come up with further solutions to the potential absence of backup Gabriel Magalhaes too, as he was forced off the pitch against Chelsea recently.
The pairing of Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny will remain out for the weekend and the rest of the year while rehabbing from season-ending injuries. Arteta used Jakub Kiwior as a starter against Chelsea and it worked for him and the team earning AFC three points on the day, which means he might stay put in the XI.
- Date: Sunday, May 7th
- Kick-off: 16:30 BST / 11:30 EST
- Location: St James’ Park, Newcastle (England)
- Broadcasts: fuboTV (CAN) — Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, SiriusXM FC, USA Network, Telemundo, nbcsports.com, NBC Sports App (USA) — Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League, BBC Radio 5 Live, SKY GO Extra, Sky Ultra HD (UK)
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