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When we last had the dubious pleasure of playing against the striped Magpies from th’Norf, it was at theirs and they beat us 1-0. Check the picture above for a reminder how and why…

Times for us both have changed as our seasons have progressed. When we arrived in Geordieland in November Arsenal were 7 points and four places clear of Newcastle; our loss there brought them to within 4 and two, respectively, with Arsenal dropping to 4th as a result. As they arrive to what should be an Electric Emirates they sit only 5 places lower, but Arsenal are 18 points clear of the Saudi-owned club. Who’d want to worry about their hands or feet over that, let alone their heads?

So look for Newcastle to come and park the black and white bus in and around our penalty box, challenging us to try and break it down to get our needed win. They’ve not lost in their last 5 games overall, having advanced to the 4th round of the FA Cup. In those games they’ve scored 15 goals; that they have let in a further 9 goals against that tally shows Newcastle for what they really are: possibly high scoring, probably a soft center (it also mimics their season, letting in 41 against 53). Even if they park the bus they seem to, more than frequently, leave the keys in it…


Al-Eddiehowe likes to arrange his team in a (hopefully) bog-standard 4-3-3, with the same four or so sheikhs trying to create drama up front: Isak, Gordon, Murphy, and Wilson have about half their goals. It’s fortunate for us that Wilson is out until, supposedly, May, and Isak has a late fitness test on his groin injury. It should mean Almiron will start one side or the other of Gordon (or Isak, if fit), with Murphy on the other. Willock (yay, Joe!) has a late test for his calf, and Schär has been passed fit after injuring his wrist. Other principal players they’re missing likely include Joelinton and Pope. Sadly, we can expect to see the odious but brutal Guimarães on the pitch, trying to control the game in front of Burn, Trippier, and Dúbravka.


It looks like we’re considering Partey, Jesus, and Zinchenko to be returning, with Tomi still lost in space-time after leaving the Japan after the Asian Cup. Just kidding. We’ll be without those four, absent a miracle, except perhaps for some benchwarming. It’s going to be a slog, so perhaps we need to bring in some blood that has rest in it, rather than keep expending the energy of the same old players…if possible:

White — Saliba — Gabriel — Kiwior
Mø — Rice — ESR
Saka — Havertz — Trossard

Most likely, though, Arteta will bring in the same team that lost to Porto, swapping Martinelli for Trossard, Trossard for Havertz, and Havertz for ESR.

I am sure the dressing room is feeling the sting of that last-minute loss in Porto, and recognizing (unlike, apparently, some of Arsenal’s social media sphere, who have melted down into a quiver of jelly) that it was a mistake in an important game rather than an indictment of the team or its successes so far this season. I am also sure the crowd will be loud and proud in support of our lads, and hopefully that will lift us to victory even if there are some tired legs on our side of the pitch.

Holic Pound

If we look for Arsenal to continue our recent run of Premier League form, we can expect them to score some large number of goals, having averaged more than 4 from our last 5 games (while giving up only two!). If Newcastle rise a bit to their occasion we might see a 3-1 victory, which is going at a not-so-handsome 11/1; one more goal for us and one less than them gets you 18s. If you think Newcastle can avoid profligacy and actually score against our defense you might think they can score 2; Arsenal 3-2 Newcastle is to be had at a money-spinning 22-1.

Regardless of how you might bet, or not, whether you’re there at the stadium or parked on your favorite or necessary seat with or without a beverage in hand, be loud, be proud, and send all your winning energy to the lads from kickoff time tomorrow. Perhaps we’ll be singing “five for silver, six for gold” by the end of the game…


36 Drinks to “One for sorrow, two for joy…”

  1. 1
    bt8 says:

    Cheers scruz and thanks for the preview. Any win will do, but I would be (pleasantly) surprised if the game is anything but close.

  2. 2
    North Bank Ned says:

    An informative and uplifting read, Scruz, ahead of what, as you suggest, will likely be a scrap. As bt8 says, any win will do, but a comprehensive righting of the wrong suffered in the game at theirs would be all the sweeter.

  3. 3
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Appetizing and amusing preview Scruz! Thank you.

    I almost agree with your team. I think we might see Jorginho in the DM role with Rice as the left sided 8. Martinelli stays on — with a point to prove — and Trossard comes on as a second half sub for Havertz who starts up front. Or will Eddie get a rare start?

    Hopefully the team will be able to shake off the disappointment of the midweek and find their fluency and swagger back. Any win will do, but a convincing performance to go along with it will be much welcome too.

    Come on Arsenal!

  4. 4
    Sancho Panza says:

    Thanks Scruz for reminding us of the huge gulf between the two sides.
    Score early please and it will be 3 or 4 to follow. Opponents are like pheasants in the road when we start fast.

  5. 5
    TTG says:

    Interesting preview Scruz.
    I like your team especially after the exertions in midweek. I thought Martinelli had the worst game I’d ever seen him have- tiredness or the formation? Your starting eleven with ESR inserted looks good but we do have to get some of our sick notes back in the fray ASAP both to ease pressure and to add what they can bring . I think the subs bench may contain Jesus, Vieira and Zinchenko.
    It will be a tough one . Over fifty years ago going for the title we found Newcastle obdurate opponents on an April day in a poor game but Charlie George produced some late magic to win the game . I expect this time that will be Saka or Ødegaard. A tense 1-0 is my prediction.
    Some Hokies are dining pre-match ( plenty of time with an 8pm kick -off ) in the Ecuadorean eaterie in Holloway Road. Let’s hooe we bring them luck. I’m returning after an enforced lay-off and looking forward to it .

  6. 6
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks scruz, I am optimistic about this one and getting some revenge for the travesty in the last game up there. Be nice to to send them home soundly thrashed.

  7. 7
    ClockEndRider says:

    Nice preview, Scruz. Arteta and the club have asked for the volume to be ramped up to 11 tonight. I feel this may be aided by the unusual 8pm kick off, enabling those of us lucky enough to have a ticket to prime ourselves with a few pre-match throat-loosening tinctures. I think the place will be rocking tonight, helping put pressure on the referee not to fall for the pathetic timewasting and Buster Keaton-style falling over routines they employed so disgracefully last time they came and stank the place out.

  8. 8
    TTG says:

    Don’t know if these are completely accurate but they show the range of earnings of the players in the first team squad,
    Interesting to assess what value for money they are providing

  9. 9
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks Scruz,
    Revenge for the loss at theirs and atonement for Porto midweek should lead to a 3-0 spanking for Eddie WhoHow.

  10. 10
    bathgooner says:

    Thanks for a fine preview, scruz, reminding us why we should be up for the scrap tonight. Their last visit to the Grove was a disgraceful display of anti-football only to be upstaged by their robbery at St James in the autumn aided and abetted by the officials. Let’s thrash these scum. Almost no-one deserves it more.

  11. 11
    Trev says:

    Cheers scruz, good job !
    So the black and white Porto arrive tonight – fouling, play acting, time wasting, and Howe.
    But not to worry- they’re no great sheikhs 😏

  12. 12
    BtM says:

    The last visit by these Foggers on the Tyne to the emirates proved to be a very frustrating watch in the stadium. Their bare chested, beer bellied legions gloried in an abysmal display of time wasting and shit-housery that earned them a draw on that occasion which left me feeling frustrated by an opportunity for three points missed. I’m hoping to witness a wonderful, massive dose of retribution for that one, the grand theft that occurred at their place earlier in the season and Guimaeres physical assaults on Jorginho on the latter occasion (VAR “It’s only a straight arm smash to the head” “It’s only a shoulder barge into the small of his back when the ball is nowhere close” “So no problems there”)

    I’m hoping to see ESR start. Is he really only on £40k per week? If he’s valued at that he’ll be gone in the summer for sure. Oh, and I’m also hoping to enjoy an Ecuadorean pre-match.

  13. 13
    Uplympian says:

    Cheers Scruz – nicely set up for the match.
    We have several reasons of late to rub sand into their eyes so let’s hope the team can take out their disappointment in Porto to good effect against them. With the Toon’s impending lack of success this year it’s probable there will be no Howe at the end of the season.
    A hard fought narrow win will be sufficient, an easier 3-0 win would be luverly.

  14. 14
    Lonestar Gooner says:

    Good preview, Scruz.
    Not much really needs saying…our lads are professionals. We need a professional performance. Get in, grab the three points, get out.
    Given we won’t play again in the league until Monday, 4 March, Arteta might be tempted to push the boys just a bit.
    I back us to be resolute, disciplined, and ruthless. 4-0 to the good guys. Get in, you Gunners!

    Alas, I’ll be unable to watch live because young Josh is making his debut as spring season team captain at the same time. I’ll be watching him with equal parts excitement, pride, and trepidation. Here’s hoping he bags a goal (or three :)).

  15. 15
    bathgooner says:

    Good luck to Josh. I hope he channels his TH14 spirit. Relax, pop!

  16. 16
    bt8 says:

    More good luck to Josh.

    In other news, Granit scores as Bayer Leverkusen set a new German record of 33 games unbeaten, putting them 11 points clear of second-placed Bayern. I know who I’m backing in that one.

  17. 17
    bt8 says:

    Granit went to Leverkusen
    And taught them how to win.
    Harry went to Munich
    And taught them how to lose.

    Simple, but poetic in its way.

  18. 18
    North Bank Ned says:

    BtM@12: ESR had ill fortune in the timing of his current contract, which he signed in 2021-22 for five years. Although it doubled his previous salary, it came a year before the big jump in first-team salaries that occurred in 2022-23. Saka’s current contract started in 2023-24, as did Reiss Nelson’s. Their new contracts reflect the change in the pay scale.

  19. 19
    BtM says:

    Thanks, Ned – I recall there was much fanfare around the fact that ESR had persuaded Arsenal to give him the No 10 shirt as a component of the negotiations around his new contract. It appears he did well on the shirt, although he’s had little opportunity to wear it on the pitch, but much less well financially. I wonder to what extent the fact that he’s at the very low end of the pay scale impacts his attitude.

    I really would like to see him succeed at Arsenal but if he can’t get a place in the team that won’t happen and time would appear to be running out.

  20. 20
    scruzgooner says:

    thanks, all. nervous for today, not least because i can’t watch. i’ll be doing a 2-hour silent scream as i lunch with my mother-in-law, though.


  21. 21
    Esso says:

    Cheers scruz!

  22. 22
    Esso says:

    Arsenal: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Rice, Jorginho, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Havertz

    Subs: Ramsdale, Cedric, Elneny, Smith Rowe, Trossard, Vieira, Nelson, Nketiah, Jesus

  23. 23
    bathgooner says:

    Yet another game that is a huge test for this team. It’s a ‘must win’ really. Fail to take all three points and we drop off the pace. We simply must win. If a burning sense of injustice is a good motivator then we should be firing on all cylinders. It’s time we demonstrated the gap in quality between these two teams in the scoreline.


    Just win!

  24. 24
    North Bank Ned says:

    Dr F. nails the team.

    Good to see Jesus and Vieira back in the match day squad.

  25. 25
    bt8 says:

    COYG. I will be driving during the game but supporting in my mind

  26. 26
    Trev says:


    That’s all.

  27. 27
    bathgooner says:

    A great performance in that first half. Started like a tornado and the ‘codes didn’t know what hit them nor how to react. Deserved the two early goals but should really have scored at least one more to reflect our dominance. I can’t believe that the ‘codes will be as poor in the second half and we really must not let them back into the game.

    Come on Arsenal. Finish these pretenders off.

  28. 28
    bathgooner says:

    Well, that was a very classy performance from everyone in red and white. It’s a shame about the clean sheet and though the second half was more even we thoroughly deserved to smash the Saudi serfs.

    Loved the song, “Beheaded in the morning, You’re gonna get beheaded in the morning!”

    See no evil Eddie was looking a tad nervous at the end. Can’t see him surviving the close season. I suspect the Crown Prince has been tapping up the odious Mourinho. Birds of a Feather and all that.

  29. 29
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Excellent performance in the first half. Solid in the second.
    Very good result. Well done everyone.

    I’m a but gutted we conceded such a crap goal. Joe Willock has been a thorn in our side this season. I hope and expect Arteta will be showing them the video of that one on Monday. But it’s churlish to be upset about the goal we conceded on a day we scored four and played so well.

    Keep it up lads.

  30. 30
    Lonestar Gooner says:

    Cheers Baff and bt8! Just finished watching the match after a full day of youth footy. Josh played well and bagged two goals in a 4-4 thriller. He’s a much better leader than his old man 😎.

    Anyway, what a win! It was a professional display… just what the doctor ordered. And I almost predicted the score.

    Kudos all ‘round. Great performance. A few days welcomed rest, then win the next match. And the next, and the next….


  31. 31
    scruzgooner says:

    i enjoyed that.

  32. 32
    TTG says:

    Very good evening.
    A relaxed GHF ( and guests ) early dinner in which Btm and C100 were in good form and then a rip-roaring first half. The best high press I have seen us do. We didn’t really need a counter- press because we didn’t lose the ball !
    A real team performance. Arteta has my admiration for galvanising tge team after Porto. We had a hard midweek game in Europe, Newcastle had time to prepare and we walloped tgem.
    One story from the night about the fickleness involved in choosing your team. On my tube from the ground there was a tiny but delightful ( and very tired) seven year-old lad . It was his first game . He was overwhelmed with the atmosphere ( he loves Saka ) and apparently he’d met some really nice Barcode fans who made a fuss of him .
    His Dad was a lovely chap and was telling me he was born in Japan but through family difficulties had to move to North London to live with his grandmother , Grandad had passed on but as he discovered football he asked his Gran who Grandad supported vowing to follow that team . ‘ Oh he was a big Arsenal fan ‘, she said. So he discovered Wrighty and the Invincibles and loved it.
    One day in 2005 visiting his Gran she had West Ham on the telly . She explained ‘ Tgey were your Grandad’s team – he loved the Hammers!. Never missed a game!’
    So he never knew which team his Grandad really supported it but was so glad Grannie made a slip when he asked her. To become a Spammer and miss our glory days would have ruined his life he reckons . And now he is bringing up the next generation . It touched my heart to see the joy on the boys’ face and the pleasure his Dad got from last night .

  33. 33
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Lovely stuff TTG. Thanks for sharing that story.

    Much like City, the barcodes have a lot of serious, fantastic footy fans who have had to face some tough choices and soul-searching with the advent of their new owners. No surprises that the away day fans were so good to a young gooner, even though no-one should be under any illusion that being decent human beings would detract from the passionate support they give their club.

  34. 34
    TTG says:

    Well said GSD . I was Chairman of a Charity in Newcastle for a while and everybody up there supports Newcastle. Most of the people were warm and friendly, deeply passionate but kind at the same time.
    Their treatment of the young lad yesterday warmed his Dad’s heart. My eldest grandson received similar treatment at his first game – Mexico v Senegal in the Olympics at Wembley . He was four and a half. He was taken into a Mariachi band, given a mini sombrero and treated with great live and affection by Mexican and Senegalese fans .
    He also got to see THAT crossbar from 1966. It filled his heart with a love for the game he’s never lost . Even though he is now a Marshdweller!

  35. 35
    Lonestar Gooner says:

    Lovely story, TTG. Thanks for sharing that.


  36. 36
    Bathgooner says: