After wins for both Manchester City and Manchester United, the pressure is on Arsenal to win at St. James’ Park to reclaim their position on top of the table. However, Newcastle are in scintillating form at the moment and will be extremely difficult to overcome.
Only a couple of months ago, Pardew was wanted out by the Newcastle faithful and yet he’s turned their fortunes around and made them a formidable team, especially at home. They are playing quick expansive football which is allowing players like Gouffran and Remy to flourish.
We will be without Ramsey (who appears to be out for a month) but we have enough depth in midfield to cope with such an injury. Wilshere should be back in the squad after he completed his two match ban on Thursday and he might go straight into the line up next to Arteta. It will be an important game for the young Englishman. Responsibility and discipline will be the foundations of a good performance by him against Newcastle.
Sagna – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Gibbs
Arteta – Wilshere
Walcott – Özil – Cazorla
I’m keeping things relatively similar to the game against West Ham as we seemed to click attacking-wise. Although our final product was missing (mainly because of Giroud), we were able to play quick passes and plays that were facilitated by our magician Santi Cazorla.
The two changes are Koscielny in for Vermaelen and Wilshere in for the injured Ramsey. My decision to bring Koscielny straight back in is because he’s our most talented CB. It’s as simple as that. You don’t bench someone that good. Vermaelen also seemed to panic when we conceded against West Ham and had they been more clinical, we could’ve lost 2 or 3 nil rather than winning that game.
Beating Newcastle would be massive for our title credentials and I think we can rise up to that challenge. 3 – 2 to the Gunners.