The best previews for games are discussions between fans. The editorial staff at Newcastle Toons and Pain in the Arsenal present you with a Q&A discussion to preview Sunday’s game between Arsenal and Newcastle United.
In an attempt to switch things up this week, our very own Durim Halimi (@DHalimi17) contacted Pain in the Arsenal, which is a site dedicated to covering Arsenal on the FanSided network, to coordinate a joint Q&A session to preview Sunday’s game between Arsenal and Newcastle United.
Four key questions were raised in this discussion in an attempt to provide readers with a unique outlook heading into this weekend. Henry Payne (@henry_vines) of Pain in the Arsenal has answered the following questions for our discussion.
1. After only claiming four points from their last four games, will confidence be a problem for Arsenal against Newcastle United?
Henry (PITA): Team spirit has been high since Arteta made his return to the Emirates. All you have to do is watch interviews to see that the players are happier, and thus, have greater confidence/self-belief. They recognise that there is still work to do, but the squad has been playing much better in recent weeks. All we need now is for the results to follow.
Durim (NT): Since Arteta’s arrival, Arsenal have been a difficult team to beat, but they have also found it difficult to close games out and claim three points. Eventually, that frustration will build up for several players and it does impact their performance on the pitch. Like Henry said, though, the team is playing much better football under Arteta, and I think the Gunners will be determined to earn a positive result on Sunday.
2. Who do you think will be the most influential players for both teams on Sunday?
Henry (PITA): I hope that Nicolas Pepe has an influential game, he was dropped for our trip to Burnley and we lacked balance going forward. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but he needs to take the next step in his Arsenal career. From a Newcastle United perspective, we’ve all seen how lively Allan Saint-Maximin can be and Miguel Almiron seems to have turned a corner.
Durim (NT): Arsenal are heavily dependent on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when it comes to scoring goals, so I have my eyes on him, however, their youngster Gabriel Martinelli is a top talent. The 18-year-old has scored ten goals across all competitions this season and it would not surprise me if he caused the most problems for Newcastle United’s back-line, assuming he starts. For the Magpies, Allan Saint-Maximin will be crucial offensively, but I think Isaac Hayden, who used to play for Arsenal, will play a key role on Sunday with his ability to disrupt counter-attacks in midfield.
3. Newcastle United are expected to sit behind the ball for most of the game. How well does Arsenal cope with ultra-defensive tactics?
Henry (PITA): Seeing as Arteta’s only been here a couple of months, it’s honestly difficult to say how we’ll play. Nonetheless, Bournemouth employed a similar tactic in a recent game against our second team and we were completely dominant in the first half. I would expect us to dominate proceedings again on Sunday, and I’m hoping for a few goals too!
Durim (NT): Newcastle United are one of the best teams in the league when it comes to sitting behind the ball. Arsenal will need to be creative in the final third, but that is something they have struggled with this season and this is reflected in the fact that they have only scored 32 goals this term. I expect Arsenal to play with a high line and maintain the majority of possession, but I do not see them creating many meaningful chances with the Magpies’ bunker-style defense.
4. What is your prediction for the game? Will Arteta claim his second win in the Premier League or will the Magpies cause another upset?
Henry (PITA): I do expect Arsenal to win and I expect us to score a few goals in the process. Nonetheless, Newcastle gave us a difficult game at the beginning of the season and although Arteta has made us more solid defensively, I’m always certain that we will concede. Arsenal 3-1 Newcastle.
Durim (NT): Overall, I am expecting a disciplined, but, for the lack of a better word, ugly performance from Newcastle United. Arsenal will enjoy plenty of time on the ball and I expect them to create more chances, but I think the narrative of wasted chances will continue for Arsenal. That being said, I am not predicting a win for the Magpies on the road, but I think the Gunners will be left frustrated in a 1-1 draw at home.