Predicted Newcastle United Line-Up v Arsenal
Newcastle United v Arsenal
Sunday 19th May 4pm
Surely the script is written, Steve Harper (6/1 to keep a clean sheet) caps twenty years at St.James’ Park with a man of the match performance as Newcastle deny Arsenal Champions League football and a freak set of results sees United finish an unlikely top half tenth.
For that to happen the team will have to put on a display (NUFC 5/1 to win) because Arsenal travel north with the best current form in the Premier League and everything to play for.
Added to this they have the meanest defence on their travels, conceding only 14 in 18 matches.
With that ranged against Newcastle you have to only be grateful that we are not facing the Gunners having to get a result to stay up, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I don’t care now if we get beat four nil…
With the mackems playing Tottenham it has given us a curious end to the season with the two matches dictating who ends up in the Champions League.
Maybe it will be us and the mackems in that position next season!
Newcastle need to do some repair work first, because while the last three away matches have produced five points, the last two home games saw one hundred and four thousand fans come through the turnstiles to see United concede nine and score none, as Sunderland and Liverpool heaped on the embarrassment.
The good (or bad) thing about those two matches is that much of it was self-inflicted, so it is in our players’ own hands to sort it out, with most fans still believing that at least on paper we have what is a decent side.
While Steve Harper is an essential change, Alan Pardew has at last got some options because while Santon, Krul, Sissoko, Shola and Haidara are all almost certain to miss out, the manager does have the option of recalling Steven Taylor and Sylvain Marveaux (19/1 to score last goal).
I think Alan Pardew will be desperate to make sure there is no repeat of the Liverpool surrender so I’d expect him to go more safety first and so if Marveaux is to make a contribution it will be likely as an impact sub.
I do though expect Steven Taylor to return after illness, though I wouldn’t discount Williamson holding onto the shirt.
With Gouffran grabbing the winner last week I’d expect him to remain through the middle with Cisse (8/1 to score first goal), while we all hope to see Hatem Ben Arfa (great value at 14/1 to score first goal) sign off his season in style after a largely disappointing campaign.
We could just edge it but I’m guessing that we may have to be patient early on as the manager attempts to ensure the game isn’t over before it has started.
We are owed a performance.
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