This is my predicted Newcastle team v Arsenal for Saturday afternoon.
I know the mood isn’t great at the moment…but a decent performance and win can go a long way towards getting everybody smiling again.
We know that getting rid of Mike Ashley is the only show in town but we can be allowed a little bit of football in the meantime.
Last season, Newcastle came under a little bit of pressure when playing the Gunners last season, conceding on 14 minutes.
Only to then come back and win 2-1 with goals from Perez and Ritchie, ending the match the better team and this was the day in April that finally confirmed we were safe from relegation.
That can’t quite happen on Saturday but I think Newcastle can pick up their first victory of the season.
Having broken the Arsenal curse and picking up the first win against them at St James Park since 2005, no reason why that can’t be repeated.
Under new manager Unai Emery, they haven’t been convincing and with having had most of their players away on international duty, Newcastle can take advantage.
In many ways this is an ideal scenario or Rafa Benitez, a two week break where he can work with players such as Kenedy who has had a tough start to the season.
Ritchie and Shelvey are back training, whilst other key players such as Lascelles, Fernandez and Diame have also been in for training rather than away with their countries.
This would be my Newcastle team v Arsenal:
This team has three changes from the one that beat Arsenal in April, with Lejeune, Perez and Gayle, replaced by Fernandez, Hayden and Rondon.
Both Perez and Muto have been poor so far this season, so why not give Shelvey a bit more license and add Hayden to Diame to give a solid base in front of the back four?
Encourage both Kenedy and Ritchie to support Rondon when Newcastle have possession, get Yedlin forward, and I think we can be in business.
Arsenal have already conceded eight goals in the Premier League, including two at Cardiff when they (Arsenal) were lucky to get away with a 3-2 win.
They look dodgy at the back and Newcastle have to try and press them further up the pitch rather than stand off like they did against Chelsea and Man City. The Gunners obviously do have some talented players but they also look fragile and Rafa’s team need to take advantage.