Just a few months ago, we took all three points when Arsenal came to St James’ Park back in April – and one of the key reasons behind that win was the dominating performance of Mo Diame.
He was absolutely monstrous that day and we need to see more of the same tomorrow.
It’s early days this season, with 75% of our league games so far coming against big guns like Spurs, Chelsea and Man City, but big Mo has let his levels slip ever so slightly.
He did admit after the Spurs game that he was carrying a slight knock, but he’s not been quite as effective at breaking up the play, imposing himself and dominating the midfield battle – something he was doing just about every week in the second half of the 2017/18 season.
It’s key that he’s back to his best tomorrow. Arsenal aren’t the most physical of sides, so it’s vital he really does impose himself – with his dirty work often giving Jonjo Shelvey the freedom to create when he gets it right.
We gave him a 10/10 during our ‘player ratings‘ piece after April’s game, saying the following about his performance:
“Monstrous, yet again. He was everywhere today, covering more distance than any other NUFC player (11.46km) and making more successful tackles (7) and interceptions (5) than anyone else. He’s winning headers, winning his battles and just dominating opposition midfielders week in week out, and today was another massive display from the big man.”
Let’s home we see another barnstorming display from big Mo – a player who can set the tone for our performance if he’s at it from the off.