Newcastle comes into this fixture after a very tough run. Having only one point, a woeful draw in Cardiff. Now it’s Arsenal at home, which is a match they won last season. Can the Magpies repeat this upset or are they doomed to settle in the bottom six after the fourth matchday?
About the Opposition:
With the Wenger Era over, Unai Emery needs to show his class. A name English fans could remember as he won the Europa League three times in a row with Sevilla, and at PSG he famously crashed out of the Champions League with a 6-1 drubbing in Barcelona. However, his coaching record extends beyond these moments.
Earlier in his managerial career, he promoted UD Almeria to La Liga. Off the strength of that campaign, he landed with Valencia. Unai’s tenure with Els Taronges was quite the success: he finished top 3 in La Liga three seasons in a row.
Tactically, he’s quite adaptable but prefers an offensive lineup. With Arsenal, he used 4-2-3-1 so far, with only players being rotated within this formation. It may take him some time to settle into his prefered starting XI, to find out how to adjust for different opponents and of course players also need time to get used to the new system and management.
Last time out, Arsenal had a close win at Cardiff with Lacazaette demonstrating a strong MotM performance. The game was entertaining for spectators, whereas Arsenal seemed to be confident in going forward and play some fantastic football, their backline was shockingly error prone. Petr Cech shows similar problems as Joe Hart had with Pep Guardiola, he’s not good enough with the ball at his feet.
A lineup prediction for them at St. James’ seems hard. Emery might drop Cech and start a young and hungry-for-match time German, Leno. A start of Lacazette up front seems fixed after his last match performance. Özil looks kind of lost in the new setup. The backline could be rotated entirely as the fullbacks also were anything but impressive.
A look at the Magpies:
Newcastle hasn’t won in their last six matches, with the 3-1 loss against Forest being the weakest performance of the campaign so far. The defence seems to do okay, but the midfield is missing incisiveness while Kenedy appears to have lost some of his magic from last season. At least Joselu is scoring. As a 5-4-1 seems to have settled against stronger teams, I could see us do the same against Arsenal. Not only could Shelvey see his return, but other players in the squad displayed good form in the internationals. If the Magpies can shut down Lacazette and Aubameyang like Agüero and Jesus, Newcastle could stand a chance. Pérez and Rondón should provide the quality to cause troubles in the insecure Arsenal backline. It’s maybe one of the better moments to play them.