Pre Arsenal Thoughts For Rafa & NUFC
With takeover talk providing the main talking point, we could be forgiven for taking one eye off the ball at the bigger picture.
Here at Mike Ashley's Newcastle, that may have been the hidden intention anyway and until anything happens in the landlord stakes it's something to be wary of but the football has to take centre stage before it's too late.
I agree that the way we're set up in just existing on the most minimal of spend has got us as noncompetitive as they come in regards to the top ended internationals although in relation to team work and spirit, Rafa Benitez has us right up there.
With confidence slipping, the effort is still there but one day this may change as players get used to being beat week on week but ahead of a trip to Arsenal, the thoughts have to turn to a game with no pressure as we're not expected to get anything.
Even the best Newcastle sides have failed to win in North London and aside from a late Robbie Elliot winner at Highbury as well as an Alan Shearer and Lauren Robert inspired 3-1 win around 15 years or so ago, the only other time we've got anything there is in their new ground with Andy Carroll lumping the ball on from a free kick to win 1-0.
Rafa will today do his usual pre match press conference and aside from face difficult questioning over many things, his message will surely be along the lines of raising the players confidence with this free game in mind.
On the missing front we have Jonjo Shelvey timing a suspension just right to sit out the pre-Xmas games and it will probably be still too early for Paul Dummett to join the senior squad with his fitness not there yet.