With the season opener just around the corner, it struck me that the Toon’s fortunes may be all coming round at once.
I opened the papers this morning to the news that Samir Nasri is apparently jumping ship from Arsenal to join his former team-mate Gael Clichy at Eastlands.
What struck me in the article was the fact that it mentioned that the deal could be concluded before the opening weekend, which would be great for us although obviously it remains as newspaper speculation at the moment.
Certainly that would be a severe dent to Arsene Wenger’s side, but there are a number of other reasons why I am quietly confident about our chances on Saturday evening.
1: Cesc Fabregas is set to play no part as Arsenal and Barcelona battle over the price tag on his head. Having not been involved in any pre-season games, Wenger does not want to risk the player suffering an injury. This is a huge bonus for Newcastle as a fully fit Fabregas can be absolutely devastating in a match. With him out of the game, that stops one of the great threats advancing on our goal.
2: Jack Wilshere withdrew from the England squad due to an injury that he sustained during the Emirates Cup. Wenger insisted for the player not to be included as he stated that the Hertfordshire born player was not fully fit. It is likely that Wilshere will play no part in the home game either. He is one of England’s future talents but if he’s out injured then that’s another bonus for Alan Pardew’s side.
3: Robin Van Persie is another doubt for our first game. He battered the Newcastle defence in February and scored twice. He too withdrew from the Holland squad as his troublesome ankle began to hurt after he took a challenge that left him in serious discomfort. Without Van Persie, the Gunners have lost their main attacking force something that I’m sure our defence will be very pleased about!
4: The central defence position has not been solid for Arsenal for a very long time. Last season there was plenty of examples of the defenders not of the quality that many Gunners fans thought they should be. Thomas Vermaelen has suffered another injury that sees him miss the opener at St James’ Park. This position has been a sticking point for Wenger and an area where perhaps Newcastle could capitalise on the mistakes that they make. Wenger lost out on Phil Jones who decided to make his way over to Premier League champions Manchester United, but since then there has been no moves from the club to try and bring another defender.
5: Our squad looks a whole lot stronger. With the signing of Gabriel Obertan confirmed today, it breaths an air of pace that was missing in our team last season. I think that if Keiran Gibbs starts at left-back for Arsenal then Obertan could use his pace to outrun him, or at least match him. The fact that Cheik Tiote has now returned back to the UK is a very big bonus for Newcastle and Alan Pardew. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the news. Who could forget his wonder goal? Having him partner Yohan Cabaye in the middle of the park will be a dream partnership that certainly should be able to test Arsenal out. With the signings of Demba Ba and Sylvain Marveaux I get the impression that this side is going to be a very attacking force this season.
These are my top reasons as why I think that we could have a decent chance against Arsenal. I was thinking about this the other day when I saw articles from pundits who didn’t rate our chances this season. But if you look at the teams around us such as Aston Villa, West Brom etc they have not brought in as many players to improve their squad as we have. I can’t wait to see what the outcome of this game will be but there are several positives that can point to us giving Arsenal a run for their money with so many of their players carrying injuries.
It certainly should be an exciting game!
P.S The title of this article is taken from Patrick Wolf’s song ‘The Falcons’ which I feel links to Newcastle at the moment. Here’s the link.