The Opposition Opinion – Arsenal (H) – “I’m not worried about Newcastle in the slightest..”

With the dreaded international break finally over, the ‘Opposition Opinion’ is back once again this week, with us getting some thoughts from North London ahead of today’s big game with Arsenal.

As ever, we are looking to bring you a view from the other side before this week’s game, interviewing an opposing fan to gain their opinions on NUFC, some insights into their own side and their thoughts on of our upcoming match.

This week we’ve been speaking to Arsenal fan James Pearce, with him having the following to say ahead of their trip to St James’ Park:


Q1 – What short of shape are you guys in coming into this game? What have you made of Unai Emery so far?

“After a slightly worrying start to life under Unai Emery – losing our opening two to City and Chelsea – we’ve recovered with wins over West Ham and Cardiff. 

“That being said, it’s very much work in progress, with our defence still looking so vulnerable (see soft goals conceded at Cardiff last weekend). 

“Emery demands that everyone pulls their weight and works hard (hence why he’s not been afraid to sub Ozil when he’s stopped running) which is great to see, but his insistence on passing out from the back worries me – with Petr Cech having about three or four heart in mouth moments already this season!”

Q2) Who are the strengths and weaknesses in your current side?

“Strengths are definitely our front two. I doubt there’s a better striker duo in the league than Aubameyang and Lacazette. Give them a chance and they’ll punish you. They’re quick, agile and great athletes. 

“Ozil is a quality player and an assist king, but he sometimes doesn’t pull his weight enough. 

“As far as weaknesses go, they’re definitely in defence. I’m not a fan of Mustafi at all. He’s rash and quite weak. We really do lack cohesiveness and leadership at the back.

“Cech is a disaster waiting to happen to. You’ve probably seen how many close shaves he’s had already this season with us intent on playing out from the back. We all want to see Leno start but it’ll be Cech – unfortunately..”

Q3) Who do you see as the strengths and weaknesses in Newcastle’s side?

“I’m a fan of Rondon. He’s a big unit, he works hard and he’s strong in the air. I do worry that he’ll bully our centre-backs if you play to his strengths, but he’s been so isolated whenever I’ve watched you lately. 

“Shelvey is a class act and is someone who should be in the England squad (as should Lascelles). Again, I’d worry about his range of passing if you had enough players forward for him to hit!

“Diame was absolutely brilliant when we came to your place back in April. His closing down was so impressive. I don’t think there was a blade of grass he didn’t cover that day.

“In terms of weaknesses, I don’t rate Yedlin. Take away his pace and he wouldn’t be a Premier League player.

“I think Perez is so overrated too. He always look so weak and flatters to deceive.” 

Q4) What sort of game do you think it’ll be and how do you see it panning out? Score prediction?

“I can’t lie, I’m not worried about Newcastle in the slightest. 

“I’ve watched you recently against Man City and Chelsea and you just sat deep and had no interest in getting forward. Yes you defend well but it’s so negative. I’d be embarrassed. 

“Because of this, I think it’ll be quite comfortable for us. We’ll pass the ball about and eventually break you down.

“You might cause us problems if you really get into us, chuck balls into the box and get support to Rondon, but if you do what you did against Chelsea it’ll be the same end result; a defeat.

“I never bank on us to keep a clean sheet, but I think we’ll have too much for you going forward.

“1-3 Arsenal.”

Q5) And finally, how do you see both sides faring over the season? Predictions for rough league position?

“This year is a big transition period for us. I’d be surprised if we got in the top 4 to be totally honest. I’ll say 5th.

“As for you, I can’t see you doing as well as you did last year. You won’t go down, mind. I reckon you’ll finish around 14th.”

Some interesting bits here from James, who seems quite unimpressed by Benitez’s cautious approach recently – feeling as though Arsenal will make easy work of us if we do sit back once again. I think he may be surprised!

A big thanks to James for taking some time this week to speak with us this week!

Next up will be the thoughts of a Palace fan ahead of our trip to Selhurst Park next weekend.


(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

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