Writer: Talk of the Tyne
Date:Saturday December 28 2013
A lot has been said and written about the plight of our football club, Newcastle United, over the past few seasons but when we seem to get it right, it's sadly lacking.
I agree that trophies aren't handed out in December or awards being decided but one thing is and that thing is momentum.
If a team gets momentum then it can be a hell of a juggernaut to stop and at present it's us.
The next hurdle to overcome is an Arsenal side, full of pace, energy and guile. A side that has proved itself many times before and are used to the pressure that momentum can bring.
The pressure is off a bit for this game in regards to expectancy but on massively in regards to proving that we're rewarding of the right to sit at the champions league pretender table.
We win and we should get the respect we deserve from the other teams in the league as we'll marked down as a danger side. We'll also start to get mentioned in the graphics that a media site displays to highlight the challengers.
Maybe a battling draw or brilliant loss could also but deep down we'd be proving that we're not at that level, so a win's a must for that.
We go into this fixture without the long term absent Ryan Taylor and doubts remaining over Jonas Gutierrez also. Clauses in his contract triggering a new deal aside, maybe his time has passed anyway.
Arsenal lose Aaron Ramsey to injury but replace him with the return of Jack Wilshire. Whispers that Mesut Özil didn't travel may tinker with the mentally weak but im expecting him to feature.
Also expect all their big guns to be firing as this game is massive for them also after a bit of a bleak spell. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the only real absentee of note apart from Ramsey.
History is on their side as we've not beaten them up here since December 2005 when Gilberto Silva got a red card for them, so we're due a win.
Hopefully we don't play that containment game which allows the opponents to have the ball because Arsenal will murder us. Ive a feeling that we'll play an 'away' type formation in the first half with a 5 man midfield containing both Vurnon Anita and the return of Cheick Tiote after his suspension.
I also expect Ben Arfa to be kept on the bench for this one to get him raring for the second half.
My predicted starting XI
Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon
Sissoko, Cabaye, Anita, Tiote, Gouffran
Date:Saturday December 28 2013
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