Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Date: Sun 19th May, 2013.
Kick off: 4.00pm.
Referee: Howard Webb (Sheffield).
UK TV: Sky Sports 1.
Hello, good afternoon and welcome to our final match banter of the season!
Of course, this game sees us facing Arsenal at St James’ Park. Thankfully, it will not be a do or die game for Premier League survival against very stiff opposition thanks to our previous 1-2 victory against the not quite so stiff Queens Park Rangers – That would have been just too much to bear. Even so, the fact that we have been teetering on the abyss so close to the end of the season is indicative of what a disappointing season we’ve had.
Before I carry on though, just a quick note to let you know that I will actually be at the game this time. Hence, I might not be posting the team sheets, links to watch the game online etc as I usually do. I will try, though if some of you regulars could help out by posting the teams, that would be most appreciated! Alternatively, they can be found on the club’s official website
As you can see in the table below, though our recent form looks much better than it did a while ago, with the Magpies gleaning 8 points from their last six games, it still pales in comparison to that of the Gunners, who have been making a late surge in their attempt to oust fierce rivals Tottenham from the Champions League places. Things are by no means settled for them, with only a point between the two North London sides and Tottenham facing Blunderland in their final game, this will be a big game for the vistors, just as Tottenham’s will be for them. It’s just as well there’s nothing potentially catasclysmic resting on this game for us, as it’s gannin’ to be a tough one!
|Newcastle United||W | D | L | D | L | W||8|
|Arsenal||W | W | D | W | D | W||14|
Finally for this part, our two most recent home games against Arsenal have been at the extremes, the last one being a 0-0 bore draw, with the one before that of course being the stunning 4-4 draw between the sides which saw us recover from a 0-4 deficit to eventually even things up at the death as the Gunners went and shot themselves in the foot. Tiote’s final goal is something that will live on in NUFC folklore for quite some time.
Getting the long term crocks (Ryan Taylor and Haris Vuckic with their cruciate injuries) out of the way first, Tim Krul will also remain out with his shoulder. Fellow goalkeeper Rob Elliot also out due to suspension from his sending off against QPR in our last game. This provides a perfect opportunity to say a fond farewell to Steve Harper, who will get his last competitive game for the Magpies after 20 years of dedicated service.
Long term casualty Abou Diaby will continue to be out with his knee. Also, Mikel Arteta is a doubt with his calf and will undergo a late fitness test.
What the managers have been saying…
As I mentioned above, a place in next years Champions League is still being fought for by the two big North London clubs, and speaking on the game’s importance for our opponents, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had this to say:
“Sometimes you think it would be nice to have a game with no pressure, but when you have one you think, ‘let’s get it back, it’s so boring’.”What would be terrible would be to go to Newcastle and have nothing at stake for us.
“We have what we wanted, so let’s just finish the job.”
He also said:
“I had the feeling that it could go to the last day. We are in a position nobody expected us to be in. We have our destiny in our hands, our fate in our hands and that’s what you fight for in th game. It’s a game that we now want to win but at least we fought back to be in a position where we are masters of our own fate.”
Alan Pardew continued to bash away at his latest campaign that Newcastle United could, at least in theory, finish tenth if the Magpies beat Arsenal and everyone below Swansea in ninth loses. He also had some kind words for the abovementioned Steve Harper on what will be his last competitive game for the club. He had no similar words for Danny Simpson however, who could also be playing his last game after almost four years at St James’ Park. It is only fitting that I should pay tribute to both players and their contributions to the club down the years, though I feel that a mere mention here is not enough. So, I will have a bash at something a little more extensive in a later blog or blogs.
Anyway, getting back to Pardew for now, if you are wondering why I haven’t included any quotes from his interview, you can see what he had to say in the run up to the game in the Press Association video below.
NUFC Blog on “Bergkampesque.”
And finally, just a quick mention that not for the first time, yours truly has contributed a little “view from the other side” type thing to popular Arsenal blog, “Bergkampesque” along with Kev from the home of the exclaimation mark, Newcastle United Mad!!!!! which you can see if you follow the link below:
Howay the Lads!
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Steve Harper; Mathieu Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa; Yohan Cabaye, Cheick Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez; Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse, Yoan Gouffran.
Substitutes: Jak Alnwick, Danny Simpson, James Perch, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Adam Campbell.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Wojciech Szczesny; Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs; Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey; Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott; Lukas Podolski.
Substitutes: Lukasz Fabianski, Nacho Monreal, Thomas Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Olivier Giroud.