Good morning all,
Although we have a good record at Newcastle, I have a feeling that today's game will be a very difficult one for us. We have won our last 5 league games, which I said in the preview to the West Ham game, is the first time we have done so that this season. I also said last week that it would be a pivotal weekend due to our opponents having difficult fixtures; but this week will be even more important. Liverpool host United on Sunday, so a win here will be vital in piling on the pressure for both teams before there match. It seems I will be saying that this week is pivotal between now and the rest of the season. I like this quote from Arsene Wenger;
"In the disappointment, it’s important that we don't forget we won the game on Tuesday night."That is exactly what we must remember; we put in a very good performance and although it was not enough to put us into the quarters, let's hope we can maintain that momentum, and even look to replicate it again today.
As I said on Thursday, there is no big news when it comes to the team news, with the only player likely to return being Tomas Rosicky, whereas we have no new injuries from last Tuesday. Wenger did say, however, that we have a few bumps and bruises and he will have to look at that, but in general the news is positive. Here's the team I would go with;
Bellerin Mertesacker Koscielny Monreal
I would also possibly look to bring in Rosicly if he is fit, but It would be hard to drop either one of Ozil or Cazorla. Fatigue, may make that decision easier for the manager, but Cazorla didn't start last week against West Ham and he always looks to play Ozil when he can. He is on good form as well at the moment, so I would keep him in. I think the defence speaks for itself, maybe there is an argument to bring Gabriel back in, but I think Per should keep his place. Ramsey should definitely come back in as he has looked like the player from last season that we all wanted to see, with 2 goals too boot in the last 2 games. The big decision is Sanchez dropping to the bench, but he has looked tired in recent games and should sit this one out, especially since he will almost definitely start for Chile against Brazil next week (albeit at The Emirates, thankfully). Although the manager has admitted that he needs a rest, he also said that he can't really afford to, here's what he said, from Arsenal.com;
“He’s a bit fatigued. “Also, because he is in a position where he has scored less, he wants to force his game and then he is more included in physical battles.
“Maybe goalscoring is on his mind so he wants to do too much and he wants to force his game.
“I’m tempted to rest him at some stage, I have been for a long time. It’s not that he won’t let me, I will decide that!
“It’s just that every game now is so important, you always have a hesitation to do it.”
It's great that Sanchez, unlike a lot of players, wants to play every game but there comes a time when, he will have to be rested, especially with Liverpool coming up straight after the international break. It would be terrible if he got injured; so let's do the most we can to prevent that. I think we can win today without him; Newcastle aren't doing so well at the moment.
In the last 16 games we have only lost 3 games, while in stark contrast, the bar codes have only won 3 in the same amount of games. We have also beat them 6 games in a row, the culmination of which was that delicious 4-1 win back in December. It is also worth pointing out that Newcastle will only have 13 outfield players available for the game according to John Carver. The list of absentees also include Papiss Cisse and captain Fabricio Coloccini,who both miss out through suspension. Looking at this only makes it more likely for Newcastle to beat Arsenal now, doesn't it?
Let's hope we can keep up the momentum of the last few weeks, and when we look at the last time we won a second leg tie 0-2 after a 1-3 home reverse, against Bayern Munich, we remained unbeaten for the rest of the season; that sounds like a good omen to me.
Right that's it, lets hope for the victory that we need today, I'm going for a 0-2 win. Let me know your predictions for the game in the comments and what team you would play.
I'll have a review tomorrow so come back for that.
Have a good one.