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I suppose this preview is the last of its kind; by the time another one comes around the new ownership of Newcastle United will have had their first chance to flex their financial muscle and begin what other clubs have shown to be an inexorable rise up the table once money becomes no object.

I have no desire to dwell on the newest owners in the league, or the lack of regulation that the Fan-Led Review chaired by Tracey Crouch has miraculously uncovered, the best part of two decades since David Dein famously opined that “Roman Abramovich has parked his Russian tank in our front garden and is firing £50 notes at us.”

Part of my reticence is that other, better analysis is available elsewhere. The issues in football have been dissected by people with more time, knowledge and understanding than a daft bloke who takes his name from an eight-foot green dinosaur.

Yet, the stronger part of my desire to avoid the wider debate and focus on the football is that, frankly, the wider debate brings me almost to despair, and I have always tried to enjoy football.

I know, I know, football is not for enjoyment anymore; it is a lightning rod hoisted into the thunderstorm of furious resentment that allows people to ground some of their anger at… well, anything at all really.

However, before I get sucked down a path along which money gazumps morality, World Cups are played in the desert, and the only faintly reassuring familiarity in the entire football setup is that Spurs are still shit…

I would instead like to remember that football is something we do for fun.

And, as I consider that seemingly ever less important point – d’you know what?…

Since the Premier League was formed (kicking off the fiscal insanity we now suffocate in) Newcastle have been one of the most entertaining sides I have watched.

They used to play Liverpool in seven-goal thrillers every bloody season. I like that very much.

Kevin Keegan gave us all great value, especially when he lost his shit in that famous interview. Top stuff; pity Slur Alex came out on top.

If, on the playground, some other little git had already claimed “I’m Ian Wright!”, then I was not averse to claiming “I’m Asprilla!” He wasn’t one of our own, but Alan Smith was not half as glamorous as the mercurial Colombian. I never scored enough headers to claim to be Smudger anyway. And, to be fair, I occasionally picked him over God himself. Heretical, I know, but he had something of the Di Canio, Juninho, or Zola about him. There was always a chance that he might do something magaical.

Even in one of our darkest days as a club, now over a decade ago (that I apologise for bringing up, because I hate being reminded of it too) it had to be sodding Newcastle who came back from four nil down to derail our title challenge.

Not wishing to be outdone by Asprilla, or anyone else, God scored what was officially voted the Greatest Ever Premier League Goal against this lot, putting Dabizas on his arse with an improvised move no-one has replicated before or since and stroking the ball past a keeper whose failure to make a save was a Given. 

Now, it would be fair to say that recent incarnations of Newcastle have not been such a good watch (neither have we, unfortunately). Not that I consider this to be any excuse for some of the treatment these supposedly exemplary fans meted out to Steve Bruce. I have never had strong feelings about him as a manager but in the last eighteen months I have found new respect for his dignity and strength in dealing with the social media abuse aimed at him by fans of his own club (another new football phenomenon that is too dispiriting to muse on right now.)

I cannot imagine what that must have been like for a bloke who has always been a Newcastle fan. If I worked for over three decades to gain the expertise to manage Arsenal, I came in everyday and worked my balls off, and the response I got was everyone spending the whole time telling me I was shit and abusing my family, I might not have handled that situation with the class of Mr. Bruce, who seemed to be in possession of the entire club’s supply of that commodity.

I wonder if it has departed with him?

Nevertheless, I should point out, if it is not too late to avoid coming across all holier-than-thou, that neither can I imagine what Mike Ashley’s tenure did to the dispositions of the Magpies’ supporters. He was a truly terrible owner. So bad, I’d rather have had Kroenke than him, which is saying something.

Anyway, with those preliminary thoughts out of the way, on to the match tomorrow.

The Arsenal

I have not said much about our own team because I have not got much to say.


Tomi White Gabriel Tierney

Lokonga Partey

Saka Odegaard ESR


I think it is time for Odegaard to come back in to the starting 11. He is the long-term plan, not Laca, and this could prove a good game to get going again.

Tavares has earned a breather. KT3 should be welcomed back into the side whilst his young understudy has a chance to reflect on an excellent few performances that hopefully will have him feeling much more at home in Red and White.

Apart from that, it picks itself really. I suppose AMN might start in midfield, but I doubt it.

I do not think there is much to add about last week. What mattered from the moment the final whistle blew was the response. The Gaffer has spoken this week about how pleased he was to see players speaking up in dressing room instead of remaining quiet (it appears that Ramsdale has been key in introducing that culture).

I doubt there were major dressings down or recriminations – the issue last week was not a lack of effort – but it is great to have a squad that clears the air, has rigorously high standards, gets upset when they are not met, and makes it very clear to all involved that we have to work harder and get better.

Excellent. I am fully on board. Go and tear the Barcodes a new one.

The Opposition

As ever, a new manager is appointed just in time to face us as his first game in charge (even Covid-19 has conspired to ensure his dugout debut will be against us). They will probably play with energy, as a managerial shake-up, coupled with a huge upswing in the fortunes of the club, are likely to bring a freshness that has, in fairness, been missing of late. Hopefully Joe Willock plays but fails to score. Saint-Maximin is their wild card, their modern-day Asprilla. An exciting player.

Even £40m Joelinton (who makes Pepe look like a bargain) scored last week, so who knows what could happen?

Apart from that, I will wait to see who they field, but I don’t think there will be anything revolutionary from Eddie Howe, or that we need worry about, especially as the personnel in their rather underwhelming squad are, err, rather underwhelming.

The holics’ pound

If Newcastle stay compact and make us play through them, which is exactly what I would expect, then we may be in for a frustrating game. We have not showed ourselves much good at passing through an organised and stubborn defensive setup for a while. That is precisely what I think Eddie Howe will bring to the table, so it will be up to us to deal with it.

There is little value to be had at the bookies, so I will plump for a classic 1-0 to The Arsenal, available at about 8s. 3-0 would be lovely if we start fast and get the bit between our teeth, but at 10s there is only incremental value in backing us to score an extra two goals that form does not yet suggest we will.

However, for those who want something a bit more interesting to get your teeth into, how about a long shot on Ben White to score his first for us? 40/1 might be worth a cheeky squid.

Right, what we need is a win. Just get three points, go into the top four, even if temporarily, and get back in the saddle. It won’t be long before Newcastle are whipping boys no more.

Have a good one, holics.

55 Drinks to “I Will Love It If We Beat Them!”

  1. 1
    Trev says:

    Excellent GSD, thanks !

  2. 2
    Countryman100 says:

    Great preview GSD. I completely agree with the early part where you muse on the fact that football used to be fun. When it wasn’t wall to wall on the tv, when the only analysis prior to the Sunday papers was on Sports report and MOTD, when you used to come back from watching the Arsenal smelling slightly of cigars, even if you didn’t smoke, where the place you teased your Spurs supporting mates was in the pub, the workplace or the playground rather than on WhatsUp or Twitter.

    Come on you Gunners.

  3. 3
    Bathgooner says:

    Great preview GSD. I agree with everything you say.

    But the burning question for Newcastle United in their new sports-washing PR role for the Saudi regime is, “Where is Jamal Khashoggi?”

  4. 4
    North Bank Ned says:

    I read your excellent preview on an appropriately grey and melancholy morning, GSD. The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there, as LP Hartley wrote so wistfully.

    I hope the morrow brings a joyous game and a glorious victory for the good guys to uplift the spirits.

  5. 5
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@3: There are many pieces to that puzzle.

  6. 6
    Trev says:

    How could you leave out “peanuuts – roasted peanuuuts – Tanner a bag !”

    Sorry kids – you won’t have a single clue ! 😜

  7. 7
    Uplympian says:

    Trev – “There’s only 1 Percy Dalton, 1 Percy Dalllllton” 🤓

    Great preview GSD, yes football paraphernalia has changed over the decades and no will continue to do so over the years to come.
    I’m hopeful for a nice performance & result tomorrow, we need it to put last weeks reality check to the back of the memory bank. I like the team you have suggested but I think he will still play Laca ahead of Ødegaard. Defence is not Toon’s strongest part so hoping for a goal boost – Auba needs to get his scoring boots on. Apart from the talented Sainte-Maximin, they don’t have a lot to offer. Our departed Joe has not discovered his scoring touch so far this season, let’s hope it doesn’t return until after this match at least. 3-1 to the good guys .

  8. 8
    Pangloss says:

    Vocalist, Alex Morgan

  9. 9
    Ollie says:

    Great preview, GSD (I cannot ever type that and not think of German Shepherd Dog though…). I do think Steve Bruce is one of the good guys too,

    Bath @3. He’s sadly and obviously not with Wally.

  10. 10
    TTG says:

    The season Newcastle threatened to win the league we took some business guests to Highbury to see us beat them 2-0 ( Marshall, Wright) . As we were leaving after the complimentary drinks and nibbles we found ourselves wending our way through the Newcastle team boarding their coach, It felt incumbent on us to say something encouraging . I’d never seen so crestfallen a group considering they were several points ahead of United still. I made a very quick , what I thought was encouraging , comment to Steve Howey ( Sorry about the namedrop C100) something like ‘ don’t worry you’ll still do it ‘ and his reply was ‘ I’m glad you think so ‘.
    I should have put my house on United then .
    My point is that this is a club with failure in its DNA just like the Spuds . I’m interested to see if it changes . I like the Geordies but the weight of expectation on a club that has achieved diddly squat in fifty years is massive .
    Eddie Howe has a massive job, a limited CV and an awful team . They may get a dead cat bounce tomorrow but we usually own them and Auba has a great record against them . I’m expecting to win at least 2-0 .

  11. 11
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers all.

    Ollie, it is great to have you in this bar. Dave would approve!

    And, if GSD isn’t for you… some of my friends call me Dino. 😉

  12. 12
    bt8 says:

    Only one GSD, there’s only one GSD; same is true about Ollie actually.

    Peach of a preview.


  13. 13
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Excellent preview GSD! These early morning (7:30 AM here in US east coast) games in the weekend present a dilemma whether to watch live and sacrifice some weekend sleep or watch it recorded but feeling refreshed…

    Agree with your starting line-up. Let us hope for a thumping win that would also improve the GD.

    Go Arsenal!

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    A piece of historical trivia. Newcastle United and Woolwich Arsenal were admitted to the Football League in the same season, 1893-4, and were each other’s first opponents. The game ended in a 2-2 draw at the Manor Ground.

  15. 15
    TTG says:

    Forgot to say- top-quality preview GSD . Many thanks

  16. 16
    Bathgooner says:

    I remember watching Newcastle beat us at Highbury in the mid 90’s and they were the most exciting club team I had ever seen until Wengerball. They attacked us in waves with such pace and verve that I thought they were going to storm the North Bank. I had never seen live such exhilarating attacking from any club team before with the possible exception of the ’67 Celtic team. It’s a shame they didn’t win anything.

  17. 17
    Bathgooner says:

    But that ain’t the team nor the club we face tomorrow. So let’s whop ’em for Khashoggi!

  18. 18
    bt8 says:

    Impressive tumble by Asprilla, that one.

  19. 19
    OsakaMatt says:

    Great preview GSD, many thanks.
    I’d love to see us rip into them and be 3 up after 20 minutes.
    Like Uply I think MA will stick with Laca for now. Don’t know if
    Calum Wilson is fit but he’s a fair striker and with him and Saint-
    Maximin the defence will need to be on their toes.

  20. 20
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@19: Laca, and his ageing legs, may be saved for the Man U game next Thursday, with Ødegaard’s guile being more useful against the Toon on Saturday.

  21. 21
    Esso says:

    Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares, Partey, Sambi, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka, Aubameyang

    Subs: Leno, Tierney, Lacazette, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Pepe, Elneny, Nketiah, Martinelli

  22. 22
    Esso says:

    Same team except Odegaard for Laca

  23. 23
    OsakaMatt says:

    @19 Good point Ned, anyway Odegaard is the call.

  24. 24
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers Esso.

    I think that’s a good swap. And fair play that Tavares hasn’t been hooked straight after a tough game at Liverpool. It could be good for him to get right back to work today and put in a performance that helps last week fade even further from his mind. However, he can’t keep KT out indefinitely.

    I dunno why, but I fancy Pepe to score from the bench today.

  25. 25
    Esso says:

    Cheers for preview GSD.


  26. 26
    Pangloss says:

    Presumably Tavares is in because Tierney couldn’t be trusted not to go out bare chested with red and white body paint.


  27. 27
  28. 28
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


  29. 29
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I’m in the pub and I have a pint of the black stuff.

    Here’s to Dave.

  30. 30
    bt8 says:

    Here’s to Dave (Sans Guinness though, it’s not yet 7am here)

  31. 31
    Gooner_KS says:

    Oooh come on Auba…

  32. 32
    OsakaMatt says:

    Frustrating half, but we’re playing ok.

  33. 33
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    We should be ahead. Plenty of chance to rectify that in the second half.

    Lehmann was a good keeper but perhaps somewhat overrated as he played behind a monster defence in a season when we didn’t get beat.

    It is not since Safe Hands himself that we have had a keeper who I actually EXPECT to make amazing saves. Ramsdale is staring to develop that aura.

  34. 34
    Gooner_KS says:

    Bang, what a cameo from Martinelli
    Let’s improve the GD

  35. 35
    OsakaMatt says:

    2-0, stuck at it at well and great run and finish from both Saka and Gabi.
    I’d have wanted that penalty if I was Wilson hohoho

  36. 36
    OsakaMatt says:

    Should be a penalty and a yellow for Lascelles for that one

  37. 37
    OsakaMatt says:

    I am not completely biased of course😉

  38. 38
    OsakaMatt says:

    Back on the winning track, completely controlled the game and defended very calmly when we had to – plus a great save from Aaron.
    Good to be a Gooner

  39. 39
    North Bank Ned says:

    Controlled win after a slow start. Clean sheet, too. I would have liked a goal or two more but otherwise not much to complain about. Hope Saka is OK for Thursday. He was moving us up through the gears before he went off. Wonderful goal from Gabi, which he made look a lot easier than it was.

    Unless Newcastle splashes the petrocash to good effect in January, they are going to struggle to stay up.

  40. 40
    Esso says:

    Great performance great result!

  41. 41
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I told you lot it would be 1-0 or 3-0. 😆

  42. 42
    Ollie says:

    What the previous three gentlemen said.

  43. 43
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing Martinelli more and more involved as we have a busy few weeks coming up. He took his goal so we’ll and his attitude is fantastic.

  44. 44
    Ollie says:

    Well, GSD jumped in, so, er….statement still stands if one considers GSD to be either a Dog or a Dinosaur.😆

  45. 45
    Ollie says:

    Though I agree with his latest too for good measure.

  46. 46
    bt8 says:

    An excellent 3 points to have under our belts, and confirmation of our upward trajectory despite the previous result. Onwards.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Looking over my preview I see that I have commented on DB10-s wizardry that that “no-one has replicated before or since.”

    Replicating it before he had actually done it would have been a trick worthy of God indeed. 🤣

  49. 49
    Silly Second Yella says:

    This next song is dedicated to Mr. Arteta

    Take it Dino

  50. 50
    North Bank Ned says:

    GSD@41: Just split the difference!

  51. 51
    Esso says:

    Heh remember a version of that as a Leicester City chant in late 70’s/early 80’s. Was in their end for semi against Sp*rz in 82.

  52. 52
    North Bank Ned says:

    **Raises bat to silence before realising most of the crowd is taking, ahem, a late lunch.**

  53. 53
    North Bank Ned says:

    It is interesting that Martinelli got the call ahead of Pepe when Saka went off. You would have thought that Pepe would have been closer to a like-for-like replacement. Not at all sorry to see Gabi come on, and his goal rewarded Arteta’s decision.

  54. 54
    Countryman100 says:

    Just back from the game. Bit pedestrian in the first half but two absolute bangers to win it second half. Happy with that.

  55. 55
    Bathgooner says: