Rest Everyone! Newcastle Prematch & Predicted Line-Up

No injuries to key players, please

With our one chance of glory teetering on a knife-edge and due to be resolved on Thursday evening, our trip to Newcastle today feels like an annoyance and an encumbrance.

We have no chance of achieving European qualification via the Premier League so this game is important only in its potential for us to build some momentum and confidence and as an injury risk to key players.

With that in mind I hope Mikel Arteta rests as many of the important players as is reasonably possible, including those returning from recent injuries.

As for Newcastle, they have been involved in a relegation scrap all season and are currently sitting fourth from bottom. However, they are nine points clear of Fulham who are one place below them and their PL survival seems all but guaranteed under the likeable Steve Bruce.

Even so they won’t want to take any chances and they are on a run of good form, unbeaten since March 20th when they went down 0-3 at Brighton. Since then they have drawn with Spuds and Liverpool and beaten Burnley and West Ham.

All in all it could make for a challenging day for the boys in red and white (or whatever colour we wear today). Newcastle have a bigger incentive to win and we’ll have half an eye on Thursday night.

If I were El Patron I would use the game to give some of the fringe players a chance, with a team like this:


Bellerin – Holding – Gabriel – Cedric

Xhaka – Azeez

Nelson – Willian – Martineli


In particular I would keep Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Luiz, Aubameyang and Tierney wrapped in cotton wool.

However, I suspect that Arteta will go for a more familiar line-up with only one or two fringe players used and maybe that’s not a terrible idea: a sense of continuity can be beneficial.

I can’t see that the strange formation used in the first leg against Villareal will be tried again but you never know.

Predicted line-up:


Chambers – Holding – Gabriel – Xhaka

Partey – Ceballos

Saka – Odegaard – Willian


Whatever the team, let’s hope we get a confidence-boosting victory and no injuries.

Come on You Gunners



67 Responses to Rest Everyone! Newcastle Prematch & Predicted Line-Up

  1. LBG says:

    Morning Rocky
    Confidence boosting victory, no injuries, no VAR controversies to detract from one true mission. Beat Emery, beat Manure and hold aloft another trophy, Spuds!

  2. RC78 says:

    Hi Rocky – thanks for the post!

    Hi LBG – may your words become reality 🙂

    My preferred line up for today:
    Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric – El Neny, Ceba – Willian, Odegaard, Martinelli – Balogun

    My prediction on Arteta’s line up:
    Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric – Partey, Xhaka – Pepe, Odegaard, Willian – Nketiah

  3. fred1266 says:

    Surely Ryan in

  4. RC78 says:

    I think we gotta play Leno – GK is such a particular position. Let him ride on his good game…

  5. fred1266 says:

    With Leno so bad don’t think it makes a difference, he has bad game today and can affect him for Thursday,

  6. RC78 says:

    True but for once he is pbbly feeling he did his job properly…lol

  7. fred1266 says:

    Does a poor job regardless

  8. LBG says:

    Sad news from Mikel “Tierney and Laca have not trained yet with the team and are unlikely to be ready soon”.
    So, Mikel, how will you solve the left back position on Thurs. System change required. Four across midfield. Saka on left, Smith-Rowe on right, Partey and Elneny in middle, if you insist on Xhaka at LB. Double up on right winger. I’d play BOdegaard and Martinelli up front.
    A real dilemma.

  9. LBG says:

    Could Mari play at left back? Dont like the idea, but three at the back?

  10. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky, now I can see the team sheet I can be happy that Willian won’t start on Thursday, but unhappy that Martinelli will also start on the bench. I would definitely have started with Azeez in place of Ceballos but I see he’s not even on the bench.

  11. LBG says:

    Martinelli my play if Aubameyang breaks down, Rasp. I certainly dont think he will complete the game.

  12. LBG says:


  13. LBG says:

    I hope we keep 11 on the pitch today.

  14. Rasp says:

    Great start and a confident save from Ryan.

  15. fred1266 says:

    Clearly aubameyang should have held up the ball and try to shoot next side

  16. fred1266 says:

    Protest at United Liverpool game , how on earth dey get into the pitch

  17. LBG says:

    Xhaka is such a limited player.

  18. fred1266 says:

    Yep and he rated more than AMN

  19. LBG says:

    I know you want AM-N back, but surely not at left back!

  20. RockyLives says:

    Credit where it’s due, Ceballos and Willian have both looked OK.

  21. LBG says:

    Think Elneny playing centrally and deeper is best for him, but worry if he doesn’t have the security of a Partey alongside him.
    My problem with Willian is he cannot/ will not drive forward ( because he tends to lose the ball). This means its knock inside or back as a rule.

  22. LBG says:

    Xhaka is a f****** idiot.

  23. fred1266 says:

    I just saying AMN is a great utility player, who would you prefer to fill in at LB xhaka or AMN

    For me AMN

  24. fred1266 says:

    Rocky clearly we watching different game willian being his usual meh self

  25. Rasp says:

    Great cross from Martinelli and good finish by Auba. Ryan continues to give a solid performance, holding onto the ball and distributing sensibly.

  26. fred1266 says:

    Bellerin having a good one

  27. fred1266 says:

    I love how Ryan told them to go up the pitch instead of taking it short

  28. LBG says:

    BOdeguard for work rate and creativity or Martinelli.

  29. fred1266 says:

    Martinelli for me wasn’t impressed with odegard still believe he brings nothing to our game

  30. Rasp says:

    We’re in danger of being in another Martinez situation. For me, Ryan has proved to be a much more solid and dependable keeper than Leno. The nervous defence is nowhere to be seen today.

  31. fred1266 says:

    Ryan is loan

  32. RockyLives says:

    Spot on. But I bet Leno starts on Thursday.

  33. Rasp says:

    Shame we didn’t sub Martinelli for Pepe

  34. Rasp says:

    I know it’s true Rocky … but I’ll never understand it. Ryan hasn’t once put a defender into trouble or failed to come and take a cross.

    Fred … I believe we have a right to buy option on Ryan at the end of the season.

  35. fred1266 says:

    Why would we buy Ryan surely we can do better than him, sell Leno get a proper no.1 which I don’t see Ryan as

  36. Rasp says:

    Apart from nearly picking up a second yellow, I think Xhaka has had a decent game today … but, before anyone says it … it is only Newcastle

  37. Rasp says:

    Fred, Ryan is a more than adequate No. 2 keeper, the problem is that Leno isn’t an adequate No. 1

  38. LBG says:

    Manure fans at the ground and outside the hotel dont want to lose the Premier League tonight to Manshitty and/ or to Liverpool.
    Shut up Roy Keane! They have not done it because “they luv the Club”.

  39. LBG says:

    What did Martinelli do wrong?

  40. LBG says:

    I have a big related hope for Thursday as well. Lock down the Emirates completely. Dont let the justified horror of all of us at Super League shenanigans, distract from what is required of the players in that game.

  41. LBG says:

    Hope you are not trying to post dodgy private videos!😯

  42. LBG says:

    “Buying fouls” – CHEATING FULLSTOP.

  43. fred1266 says:

    no LBG lol

  44. LBG says:

    Good one Fred
    I believe Elneny and Partey should be in for Thursday.

  45. Rasp says:

    LBG, I only said I wished Martinelli had been subbed because the toon player who was red carded scythed him down and I’d rather he had been protected so he can play a part on Thursday. I thought he had an excellent game.

  46. LBG says:

    A clear explanation! Thanks, Rasp.

  47. allezkev says:

    Mat Ryan is really a very good goalkeeper, also our defenders seemed very much at ease with him behind them, dare I say more relaxed than when Leno is in goal.

    As for Jon Goodman the co-commentator on Sky he couldn’t have been more anti-Arsenal if he’d tried, he was absolutely obsessed with seeing Xhaka getting a red card, I hope it ruined the rest of his day.

  48. fred1266 says:

    What impressed me most about Ryan was

    1. 77 minutes we have a 2 goal lead and he just decided he not going to take short goalkick and told everyone to go up the field

    2. How he was always outside the penalty area which made it easy for him to stop any over the top balls

  49. LBG says:

    Agree with your comments on Goodman but he is only one of many on Sky with the same desire to bash the Club and show their own prejudice. And its led by Alan Smith.

  50. LBG says:

    Ryan was also speaking to Gabriel in Spanish, as he had a spell at Valencia in the past. Surely we must find a way to keep him. The lessons of Martinez must be learnt, eh Fred?

  51. RC78 says:

    I agree that Ryan is an able Nr.2 keeper and that there is a doubt about Leno being a Nr.1 keeper….

  52. LBG says:

    God bless Kenny Sansom, in hospital following serious head injury.
    With Cole and Winterburn the best left backs in my time. Hope Tierney matches them.

  53. fred1266 says:

    If Ryan is that good why was he removed as number one at Brighton, am not opposed to us keeping him but not as a number one

    It just feels like Cech all over again, u not good enough for your team so you go to arsenal to shit down the place

  54. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Rocky
    Apologies for a slightly prolonged absence over the last week or so. It was a good result yesterday at a place its not always easy to go to.

    Jjgsol made some points earlier in the week and was asking the question as to why he may be wrong about Arteta. Firstly I think we were genuinely cheated by VAR in both the Fulham and Everton games, so that is partially responsible for recent results.

    However, looking at yesterday’s game collectively with the recent Fulham and Everton games there is a connection despite the different results. That connection is that our stats are looking solid.

    Even though some performances and results are inconsistent our stats are looking consistently dominant in recent times. We are now more often than not the dominant team in possession, passing, and shots on goal.

    I’ve never been one to completely rely on stats but I think these more consistent positive stats will eventually reap reward. Compare it to the Emery regime where even in the winning purple patch we were often winning with stats heavily against us, particularly shots on goal.

    I always felt that this wasnt sustainable, and it wasn’t. I think with a few tweaks to the personnel and the formations and combinations we will see these more consistently dominant stats converting to a far higher win rate.

  55. RA says:

    Hi Kev,

    You were absolutely right about the co-commentator for Newcastle, his lack of professionalism and appalling bias was a disgrace.

    He is not the only one — whenever Manure or ‘Pool are on TV, the commentary team are all loyal ex-players and, apart from the gremlin Keane **, they never say anything detrimental about their old clubs.

    ** Keane is either screwing up his face and saying no one is as good as he was, from the GK to the Manager, therefore Manure are rubbish, or that Utd are the best team in the universe – and Arsenal are the worst club, with the worst players in any universe.

  56. RA says:


    Your question about Ryan being released by Brighton which must make him a 2nd rate GK, perhaps falls into the same category as Martinez — who was our best GK, and got released, so that we kept lucky Leno instead.

    Who knows?

  57. RA says:

    Hi GB,

    I agree in principle with most of what you said @10:54.

    I had a little problem with your logic regarding the sustainability of the stat of Emery’s era as compared to Arteta’s.

    At the moment the Emery stats are way better than Arteta’s, and if he is given the boot at the end of the season, everyone will say his stats were unsustainable and he had to go.

    If you meant MA’s stats were currently improving, and therefore they will continue improving into the future, then I feel there is not enough evidence to show that is true.
    (Hopefully your view will turn out to be achievable, — but as they say, “Hope can be a killer”.)

    Interpreting stats and making predictions based on them can be very difficult call, and with a squad that even MA says needs upgrading in the summer, I’m not sure I can agree with that part of your comment.

  58. GoonerB says:

    Hi RA. Im not sure I was quite clear enough in my meaning regarding the stats.

    Of course at the end of the day the stat that really matters is the end score. The end score is what translates to higher win rates and higher points accumulation rates, and in this Arteta trails Emery.

    Behind those stats are others that can often mislead but can also show a positive trend that may point to something better on the horizon.

    Sometimes we are doing better with those poorer background stats which is where I felt we often were with Emery and it wouldn’t last. I remember in that 12 game or so winning streak that I was always uneasy because we were winning but the itger background stats said it should have been otherwise

    Conversely I think those background stats can sometimes point towards an upward trend even if not fully rewarded by game wins.

    I have always felt that Arteta had to take us back to the drawing board in terms of our style and game management. We are now mostly the dominant team in possession and are out passing and out changing our opposition.

    I feel this is important because once you learn how to capitalise on it those types of stats are sustainable with more consistency across a season, something we have lacked for many years

    I do feel this will convert into a lot more wins as we go through next season which is why I’m backing Arteta. However, I do feel he cocked up the first leg at Villarreal last week that has left us in a dangerous situation, but that is another story.

  59. GoonerB says:

    Sorry out chancing not changing

  60. RC78 says:

    New post – it is about team selection against Villareal. The first of a series of post before Thursday.

  61. RA says:


    I do see what you are trying to explain — and as a fan you see meanings in things that are important to you.

    The following might sound a little snidey, but you will know me better than to think that I mean it in that way — I am referring to “confirmation bias” — and rather than using my convoluted definition, I am using the standard definition gleaned from Google – have a look. 😜

    Confirmation bias: Is the tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs.

    This biased approach to decision making/analysis is largely unintentional and often results in ignoring inconsistent information that does not fit the bias.

    But as I said, you are a fan and being a supporter your interpretation of stats and your needs are part of the job!! 😛

    (Just don’t get a job as a financial risk analyst) 😳

  62. fred1266 says:

    Ryan and emi situation is totally different

    Ryan number for years at Brighton and losing his spot suggest he not good enough anymore

    Emi was never number one which is why he wasn’t considered

    As a said above it basically cech all over a again,

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