What a remarkable few months it has been for Alan Pardew and Newcastle!
While Arsenal fans have been drooling over the quality of Alexis Sanchez and moaning about Wenger’s stubbornness to sign defenders, Alan Pardew has masterminded a sensational turnaround at the St. James’s to overturn a torrid start which saw them go over a dozen games without a win, to being unbeaten since the middle of October. Pardew, has deservedly been named the Premier League’s manager of the month for November, as well gaining the not small honour of preserving Wenger’s status as the League’s only true invincible manager.
In fact, Papiss Cisse, in many quarters, has assumed the throne vacated by Cesc Fabregas.
And fresh from that triumph over Chelsea, Newcastle come to the Emirates in a boisterous mood, and it will take some great force to stop them.
History Favours Us
Whereas Newcastle was statistically the most likely team to stop Chelsea, having never allowed Mourinho leave that part of the North-East with three points, they have not always had it easy at the Emirates, and if history helped them stroll last weekend, it must be our turn to enjoy Lady Luck’s good fortune. Even without looking at the books, you do not remember the last time we failed to beat Newcastle at home, besides that Andy Caroll header that was so helped by a flapping Lukasz Fabianksi. Be it the time of van Persie’s immediate reply to Ben Arfa’s swivel-and-hit, subsequently winning by Vermaelen’s late goal (the celebration stills sticks!), or the 7 – 3 riot – and Walcott’s hat-trick – Newcastle have not had it easy when facing the Emirates crowd.
No Ramsey, Yes Giroud
Such a shame that Ramsey has been declared unavailable for this game as he looked to be returning to the form of last year, as his ability to contribute to the goals would have given us more variety against Pardew’s team which could prove stubborn to breakdown at times. But we have a man who has always had his way against Newcastle. Giroud has scored in three of the last four meeting with Newcastle, whether home or away, even in the last two at the Emirates. Despite a poor showing at Stoke, Giroud could still get the nod to lead at the tea-time tomorrow, and will show the power of his strength against the tough Fabricio Coloccini.
It is time for Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell to get a good run of games in the Arsenal team, even if it means shelving Welbeck and Oxlade Chamberlain for the present. With midfielders in short supply, Cazorla should pair with Flamini, while Poldi, Alexis and Campbell should be behind Giroud. Besides taking advantage of the increase in both player’s confidence with their full-time involvements from the Galatasaray game, we must have enough goalscorers on the pitch to match the stiffness of the Newcastle back-four.
Newcastle will relax a bit, while we must be fired up
Part of being on a very good run of games is the risk of slipping into a bit of complacency is there is a chance that they will not be as fired up as they were last weekend. Perhaps Mourinho was right that the blue color of Chelsea seems to ignite something adverse in Newcastle veins, and knowing that fire quenches without the necessary fuel, we will not be faced with the team with the exact same motivation as the one lined-up against Chelsea. It will be on us to show the fire necessary to obliterate the memory of the Stoke defeat.
Soft Pard for Wenger
Though they had a bit of a rumble years back when Pardew was still at West Ham, the Newcastle boss has expressed nothing but praise for the League’s longest serving manager and after helping preserve his decade-old record, you may expect him to go easy on him. Without Steven Taylor and their two-first choice goalies, Tim Krul and Rob Elliot, it will be a weakened Newcastle side already. What we must do is take full advantage.
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