So our march towards relegation continues and we’re back up north for another PremPlus game. This will be our fifth and final away game on PremPlus for this season. Over a quarter of our away games have been put on poxy PPV.
The loss against Everton was our first league defeat of 2007, but now we’ve got the taste for it we can’t seem to get enough. We travel to geordieland in search of our first point in a month. We managed thirty chances against West Ham without scoring, so we’re probably looking at about sixty or so required for Gallas to score with his cock again in order to beat the barcodes. With this being our second game in three days you’d perhaps expect a drop of rotation from Arsene. Whether the team is demoralised or galvanised by the hatrick of defeats remains to be seen. If we fail to win again we’re going to start nervously looking over our shoulders at Bolton who are now only two points behind us, making next Saturday’s match all the more important. Third place is gone bar Liverpool’s team spontaneously combusting, just need to concentrate on fourth. In their next four games, Bolton play the team above them, the team below them, and Chelsea, so hopefully circumstances will conspire in our favour for a change and make the task at hand a bit easier.
Fixture History – Wenger Years
In the league we’ve won three times, drawn four times and lost twice at St James’ Park. In total in all competitions, we’ve won twelve times, drawn eight times and lost three times, the most recent coming at the back end of last season with Solano scoring the winner in a game where Gilberto was sent off for very little if I remember correctly.
We’ve won three and lost three of our last six league games. Newcastle have won two, drawn one and lost three their last six. Both teams have been knocked out of Europe during that time period by Dutch teams. At St James’ Park this season Newcastle have won seven, drawn five and lost four. They lost their last home game to Manchester City, but previously hadn’t failed to take at least a point in a league home game since the start of November, which was against the team that they beat on Saturday.
Apart from the three musketeers out till next season we should have a fully fit squad. Not that it seems to help us much these days.
Shola Ameobi and Michael Owen out till May, otherwise they have a full squad to choose from too.
Don’t really know where the possible rotation might come. We only have three fit wide players and they all started against West Ham, so atleast two of them will have to play again. Diaby and possibly Denilson could come into the side, and maybe one of Baptista and Aliadiere to join Adebayor upfront. Seeing as Eboue was only just fit for Saturday, I’d expect Hoyte to start rather than risk him twice in three days. Or maybe Djourou at right back or something completely random to keep us off guard. The return of our ‘First Choice’ back four has coincided with five goals conceded in two games, so I don’t see Wenger having too many qualms about making a couple of changes. Maybe one or both of Djourou or Senderos to come in at centre back. Personally I’d go double Swiss. Completely inaccurate guess coming up:
Almunia, Toure, Fabregas, Hleb, Aliadiere/Baptista
I expect they’ll make a couple of changes from the side that beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Brammal Lane, but I can’t guess exactly which ones. I’d think Emre, Dyer and N’Zogbia to return in midfield.