Ahead of the game this afternoon, Match of The Day commentator Simon Brotherton has been analysing the Newcastle v Arsenal match.
It had been a tortured recent history before 15 April 2018, Newcastle losing 10 Premier League matches in a row, before that 2-1 victory that confirmed the Magpies were safe from relegation.
A bit like our recent excellent home record against Chelsea (four wins and a draw) until it ended last month, no real reason you could put on such a good/bad record.
During those 10 losses in a row to Arsenal, the Gunners had never even been contenders for the title, yet they continually carried the luck.
Speaking of luck, three 2-1 defeats against top six sides already, have left Rafa Benitez and the fans wondering when Newcastle’s luck will turn.
Certainly the Chelsea and Spurs matches, Newcastle were unlucky not to get something, whilst that penalty shocker from Kenedy wasn’t bad luck, but three points there would have been a massive boost.
Instead, Newcastle know that nothing less than a win is likely to lift them out of the relegation zone today and Match of The Day commentator Simon Brotherton thinks much will depend today on how ‘adventurous’ Rafa’s team are.
Arsenal have conceded eight in four games so far and leaked two against a very poor Cardiff side last time out, so it is clear where their weaknesses lie.
Rafa Benitez revealed yesterday that apart from Florian Lejeune, he has a full squad available, with the only issues being whether Ritchie and Shelvey come straight back into the team from injury, as well as whether Yedlin and Rondon play from the start after getting back late on from international duty.
The big difference to the Chelsea and Man City matches where it was a very defensive formation, is that this afternoon Rafa Benitez does have more options, especially going forward/creatively.
Rafa won’t fundamentally change is tactics/formation, apart from the back five will probably change to a back four, but he surely will get his team further up the pitch pressuring the ball. Newcastle ran out comfortable 2-1 winners last season, having created more and more chances as the game went on and they caught Arsenal in possession, as well as hurried them into losing the ball.
A massive game for both teams but with home advantage and that desperation for a first win, hopefully Newcastle can just edge it.
Match of The Day commentator’s notes:
“Newcastle won the last meeting between the sides 2-1 at St James’ Park in April, and the way Arsenal have started the season, you’d think the Magpies are likely to have some chances here.
“The Gunners have conceded eight goals in four matches so far and were pegged back twice by newly promoted Cardiff last time out before winning 3-2.
“The issue may be how adventurous Newcastle are after losing three games to ‘top six’ sides already this season, all by a 2-1 scoreline.
“Their record against Arsenal in recent years isn’t great, having lost 10 league meetings in a row before April’s success.”
Newcastle have only beaten Arsenal twice in the last 23 meetings in all competitions (2W, D5, L16).
Defeat for Newcastle would leave them on one point, equalling their lowest ever return after the opening five fixtures of a Premier League campaign.
The Magpies could lose their opening three home fixtures of a top-flight season for the third time and first since 1987-88.
They have attempted 1,102 passes in the league this season, the fewest of any side.
Rafa Benitez has lost six times to Arsenal in the Premier League. Only against Chelsea and Manchester United has he suffered more defeats, with nine against each.
Mesut Ozil has registered two goals and one assist in three Premier League games against Newcastle, but is yet to play at St James’ Park.
Alexandre Lacazette has five goals and two assists from his last five Premier League starts.
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