Around about this time last year, ‘apathy’ was the watchword for our supporters both on social media and in the pubs and clubs of Tyneside; if it was apathy then I dread to think of what the collective term is for how we all feel about the club right now. The board, management, players and even club icons like Beardsley and Moncur are active culprits in what is the tragedy of Newcastle United in 2015. Last week against Everton was by no means our worst of recent times, but what was striking was the lack of commitment and pride shown by certain players.
Some will harbour bitter feelings towards the likes of Yohan Cabaye for jumping ship to seek trophies and the big stage, I think some of this ire is misdirected.
As depressing as it sounds I’d sooner have players at United who see us as a stepping stone to The Champions League than the ones we have at the moment who look happy to remain in their comfort zone and effectively down tools once they feel survival has been gained.
It’s a fair point to say this is a symptom of Ashley’s running of the club, but I expect better from professional sportsmen. What Coloccini did on Sunday was a disgrace, yet it was so predictable; I even read a tweet midway through the game anticipating it would happen. A 2 week trip back to Argentina beckons, it amazes me how much power our captain wields at the club; particularly when Nolan and Barton were dispensed of over the same issue.
In regards to the match this coming Saturday, the makeshift defence we all anticipated back in January will be on show up against one of the most potent attacks in the country. It is expected that Janmaat will be played as an emergency centre half and that one of Anita, Jonas or Colback will be shoehorned into a full back position. If Arsenal come at us like a wounded animal after their narrow Champions League exit, I worry that this could be one of the most embarrassing scorelines of the clubs history especially when twinned with the negativity that will plague the terraces.
Riviere was hauled off last week after another disappointing showing, it would be tough to justify another starting role for him in this game especially when Ayoze and Armstrong are on the bench. If anything it might be worth Carver sticking the young lads upfront as a ploy to get the supporters fully behind the team, although I doubt he has the capability to be so Machiavellian.
Cabella may be given a start purely due to the lack of numbers, although to be fair to him he showed some promising touches against Everton; albeit when the game was already gone.
Likely Line Ups
NUFC 4-2-3-1 Krul; Anita, Janmaat, Williamson, Raylor; Jonas, Colback; Cabella, Sissoko, Ameobi; Ayoze
Arsenal 4-2-3-1 Ospina; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Welbeck, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud
Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1 – December 2013 – A hard fought win for Arsenal in a game when we should have perhaps went for it a little bit more. A header from a set piece was nodded in by Giroud and we never really looked like scoring after that.
Newcastle 4 Arsenal 4 – February 2011 – An important performance from Newcastle in the context of the season given its close proximity to the Andy Carroll sale, the team showed its backbone and was inspired by the midfield quartet of Barton, Tiote, Nolan and Jonas who all played a blinder in the second half as we overturned the 4 goal deficit at the break.
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