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Match Preview – Arsenal vs Newcastle United: Howe to travel with squad after positive Covid-19 result kept him out of first game in charge

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Credit: @Arsenal instagram... The Gunners face Newcastle United at the Emirates in the early kick-off on Saturday...

Eddie Howe is set to be in the dugout for the first time as the winless Magpies travel to the Emirates on Saturday.

Howe’s side will hope to come out of the blocks quickly in North-London after their disappointing 3-3 draw with Brentford last time out. 

The Magpies are the only team in the top four English divisions yet to pick up a victory this season. Their woeful start to the 2021/22 Premier League season has left them rock bottom and five points from safety.

A troubling Christmas period is incoming.

However, the team from Tyneside have outscored their opponents Arsenal who have only netted 13 goals in the league so far and come into the game after shipping 4 goals in their disappointing away trip to Anfield last weekend. 

Credit: @NUFC instagram – Eddie Howe set to be in the dugout for the first time as Newcastle boss

Howe’s side have been free scoring in front of goal at times this campaign and carry a substantial attacking threat with the exciting Allan Saint-Maximin in fine form.

Top scorer Callum Wilson has shown his worth by scoring important goals in his time at Newcastle but will hope to have more of an effect on this fixture than last time out at home to Brentford. The defensive troubles continued at St James Park and have left a lot of fans worried about the real threat of relegation.

With the January transfer window still eight games away, performances need to improve quickly but the potential for points tomorrow afternoon looks unlikely as Arsenal hope to bounce back from their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Arsenal have won the last six meetings between the two sides without conceding a goal as the Magpies have struggled at the Emirates, not finding the back of the net since 2014.

The Gunners currently sit in 5th position and are in good form following their lacklustre start to the season. They have won six of their twelve games and seem to have found their groove under Mikel Arteta.

The home side’s 10-game unbeaten run came to an end last time out after their humbling defeat to Klopp’s Liverpool.

Perhaps there is still a long way to go for this youthful Arsenal team but their fans have been treated to a decent run at home this campaign, as their side boast the join-best record alongside Manchester City and Chelsea.

They sit three points behind West Ham United in fourth and will hope to get back to winning ways to help bolster their chances of a European Place come the end of the season.

The lunchtime battle promises to be as intriguing as ever but with the form of goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and Newcastle’s torrid record against the Gunners, many pundits have backed the home side to get the win in this one.

Arsenal have never lost a Premier League home game against the side starting the day bottom of the table (W15 D6), winning the last eight in a row by an aggregate score of 23-2.

Form

NUFC – L L D L D D 

AFC – D D W W W L

Team News

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has no new selection problems ahead of Saturday’s Premier League fixture with bottom of the table Newcastle.

Midfielder Granit Xhaka is still unavailable but the Gunners have been boosted by news he could be back before the end of the year after his ongoing recovery from a knee ligament injury.

Sead Kolasinac is still missing with an ankle problem that picked up on international duty earlier in November. 

Newcastle striker Dwight Gayle is a doubt for the trip to London with a hamstring injury. Gayle is to be assessed after resuming light training on Thursday – he has hardly featured this season. 

Paul Dummett (calf) remains on the sidelines but his return should’t be too far away.

Eddie Howe will be in the dugout at the Emirates after returning a negative Covid-19 test and faces a selection dilemma at the back. There’s increasing pressure to restore ‘keeper Martin Dubravka follwoing his return from a foot injury.

Stand-in goalkeeper Karl Darlow had a tough afternoon last time out in the end-to-end 3-3 draw with Brentford. 

Before Howe took over, Newcastle had averaged just 6.5 shots per game in their last five league games with an xG of 0.57. These figures shot up in the first game under their new manager as the Magpies recored 23 shots and a 1.76xG.

The away side are likely to set up with added attacking impetus against the Gunners as they try to get on the front foot and search for their first win.

The appalling defensive record leaves Newcastle in a challenging position and although it was an encouraging start to their new era, this one promises to be a tough proposition. 

Potential Line-ups

NUFC – 3-4-3

Dubravka (GK)

Clark (LCB), Lascelles (CB), Schar (RCB)

Ritchie (LWB), Shelvey (CM), WIllock (CM), Murphy (RWB)

Saint-Maximin (LW), Wilson (ST), Joelinton (RW)

Arsenal – 4-4-1-1

Ramsdale (GK)

Taveres (LB), Gabriel (LCB), White (RCB), Tomiyasu (RB)

Smith Rowe (LM), Lokonga (CM), Thomas (CM), Saka (RM)

Lacazette (CF)

Aubameyang (ST)

Pre-match thoughts? Can Newcastle get their first win of the season? Are you happy with the appointment of Eddie Howe? Who is excited to see him in the dugout for the first time?

Join in the conversation and have your say.

More to follow…

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Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United

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North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..

 

“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”

 

Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.

 

What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

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Which Newcastle Players Are Going To The World Cup?

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Newcastle

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway next week and here are all the Newcastle players involved in the tournament

Callum Wilson (England)

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson is a player that has consistently shown the quality to earn a spot in an England squad at a major tournament but has sadly had his chances diminished by injuries in the past.

However, Wilson is currently injury free and is on the plane to Qatar! The Coventry City academy graduate averages a goal every 130 minutes in the Premier League this season, which is the second-best return of all English players behind Harry Kane.

The 30-year-old may have to bide his time for an opportunity due to England captain Harry Kane being the first-choice striker. That said, Wilson gives Gareth Southgate a great alternative should England find themselves chasing a game.

Kieran Trippier (England)

Gareth Southgate has always been very fond of Kieran Trippier’s abilities and what he brings to a team. For example, in Euro 2020 Southgate opted to play Trippier at left-back ahead of a more natural option in Ben Chilwell due to the 32-year-old’s experience and leadership qualities.

Trippier brings bags of experience at major tournaments after reaching the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

With injuries at right-back to the likes of Reece James and uncertainty around the fitness of Kyle Walker, Trippier could start at right wing-back in England’s World Cup opener against Iran.

Nick Pope (England)

The last player to complete The Magpies’ England trio is Nick Pope. Toon’s No.1 has been outstanding since arriving from Burnley in the Summer and has earnt his place in England’s World Cup squad.

Pope has the joint most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (6) alongside Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson and fellow England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

It remains to be seen if Gareth Southgate picks Pope to be his first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale. Pope started both of England’s last games in the Nations League back in September.

Bruno Guimarães (Brazil)

Moving to South America and the favourites to win the competition, Brazil. Bruno Guimarães has been one of Newcastle’s stand-out players this season and has deservedly earned himself a spot in Brazil’s very competitive World Cup Squad.

Guimarães has statistically been the best midfielder in the Premier League so far this season and will be hoping his performances have done enough to earn him a start against Serbia in Brazil’s opening fixture.

That said, Brazil manager Adenor Leonardo Bacchi has predominantly played with a midfield two of Manchester United duo, Casemiro and Fred at the base of the Brazilian midfield.

Fabian Schär (Switzerland)

The Magpies’ centre-back has been in great form alongside Sven Botman at the heart of Newcastle’s defence this season and will be hoping to continue his form in Qatar.

Schär has some tough competition in his position in the form of Manchester City centre-back Manuel Akanji and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Nico Elvedi.

Switzerland find themselves in the same group as tournament favourites Brazil, which will see Schär reunited with Toon teammate Bruno Guimarães in Gameweek 2.

Who didn’t make the squad?

The most surprising player to not make their country’s squad is Sven Botman. The former Lille centre-back has been a major part of why Newcastle has the Premier League’s best defence so far this campaign.

Louis van Gaal has a great pool of centre-backs available to him and opted for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Nathan Ake over Botman.

Another Toon player with World Cup disappointment is Joelinton, who has failed to follow Bruno Guimarães on the plane to Qatar.

Joelinton has been a revelation under Eddie Howe following his remarkable transformation from a striker to a box-to-box midfielder. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Joelinton this year.

Have Your Say

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Which Newcastle player will be the best performer?

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What We Learnt (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle)

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deadline day

Newcastle United were victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday, winning 2-1 and now sit fourth in the Premier League. This is the first time they’ve been there at this stage of the season in 10 years.

 

Goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron were enough to scare away any chances of a second-half Spurs comeback. That’s six goals for Miggy in what is now his best-ever season for goals in black and white.

 

With 21 points, just five behind Manchester City and seven behind current league leaders Arsenal, the Toon are looking better than ever, but what did the victory yesterday tell us?

 

Toon are charging for Europe

 

If you didn’t believe it at the start of the season you should now. Eddie Howe has transformed Newcastle into a team with a winning mentality with a real sense of togetherness in a squad who are willing to battle for one another, week in and week out.

 

Very few teams will travel to London this season and manage to come away with a point, never mind three when playing Spurs. Not only this game, however, but Man City (3-3), Liverpool (2-1) and Brentford (5-1) have also shown that Howe and his side mean business this season and are willing to go toe to toe with some of the very best teams, coaches and players in the world. 

 

In his first signing interview, Sven Botman said, “Newcastle wants to reach the top and the top is in the league and, at the end, maybe in Europe.” Maybe he didn’t specifically mean this season but now he and the rest of his teammates should believe that they have a real chance of playing European football next season.

 

Almiron transformation shouldn’t go unnoticed

 

Almiron made 30 appearances last season in the league and finished with just one goal and no assists. Now, after just 12 games and six goals, the Paraguayan is already on course to smash his previous goal-scoring records which have seen him accumulate nine Premier League goals over the course of four seasons. 

 

Loved by the fans and with the full support of his teammates, it can only get better for the Paraguayan at this point. His goal against Tottenham showed the dribbling, flair and finishing quality he withholds, something that Steve Bruce and Rafael Benitez could never get out of him.

 

Eddie Howe must be awarded credit for this development, as with the current budget the club has, he could’ve easily found a replacement in the summer. But, just like Joelinton, Miggy has cemented his spot in Newcastle’s starting eleven and is proving every week why he deserves to be there.

 

Wilson & Burn should be considered by Southgate 

 

On TalkSport recently, Neil Warnock warned Gareth Southgate saying his loyalty to players might be his downfall and said Dan Burn is “Mr Steady Eddie” referring to his versatility, being able to play left-back or centre-back.

 

Burn started 28 Premier League games last season and this season has 11 out of 12. His consistent dominating performances in Newcastle’s back line have put him into the conversation for a first-ever England call-up and I don’t think many would disagree. With John Stoned injured, Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings not in good form and not getting regular game time, Gareth Southgate’s defensive decisions should now be a lot more challenging.

 

Callum Wilson has proved yet again his abilities as a top Premier League striker. His goal against Spurs not only put him in the headlines over England captain Harry Kane but also made it four in eight for the English man this season who has averaged 2.8 shots per game with an average scoring frequency of 162 minutes. 

 

With no clear-cut backup striker to Kane, is Wilson ahead of Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham in the race to be England’s number two striker?

 

So, what do you think? Do Newcastle have a serious chance at European football next season, can Almiron stay at his best and should Wilson and Burn be considered for a World Cup call-up?

 

Join the conversation on our Facebook page …

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