Arsenal will be hoping to make it two wins over Newcastle and Kevin Keegan in just four days when The Toon visit The Grove on Tuesday.
Kevin Keegan will be egar to make up for his side’s FA Cup exit on Saturday after his side were cmfortably beaten 3-0 by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.
Keegan’s tactics are sure to be different. I’m sure he’ll not make the mistake of deploying gung-ho tactics twice in four days against a team like Arsenal, while having such a fragile defence.
Newcastle are certainly in desperate need of a win. The return of ‘King Kev’ hasn’t got off to the sort of start that Newcastle fans would have been hoping for. Two games in they haven’t scored a goal, they’re out of the FA Cup and drew at home to Bolton.
Keegan’s side sit 12th in the league, level with fellow Premiership no-hopers Tottenham on 27 points. They could climb to 11th if they win and Tottenham don’t.
Newcstle haven’t won a Premiership game since mid-December when they beat Fulham 1-0. Last six (Prem): P6 W0 D2 L4. That loss of form includes an unlucky defeat at Stamford Bridge and a 6-0 hammering at the hands of United, although that was flattering on United’s part.
Arsenal on the other hand have enjoyed some good form in the Premiership of late. Still only one defeat to their name, they sit level on points with United. Last six (Prem): P6 W4 D2 L0. Those four wins include a 2-1 win over Spurs at White Hart Lane, and a 4-1 demolition of Everton.
If The Gunners win, they could go three points clear at the top. And with United facing a tricky game against Pompey on Wednesday, Wenger will want to take full advantage of the oppertunity in front of his side.
Wenger had thre pieces of good news ahead of Tuesday’s match. Rosicky’s injury is a matter of ‘days, not weeks’: ‘There is no deep problem with Tomas.
‘He has a problem with his hamstring but it is not torn. He got a kick at Fulham and the inflammation around his tendon provokes some pain but we feel it’s a question of days, not weeks.’
On Kolo Toure he said: ‘He has a Grade One groin problem. It will keep him out for eight to 10 days.
‘But he will stay with the Ivory Coast squad for the rest of the tournament.’
Wenger also reveled that Robin Van Persie will return to training on Tueday.
Newcastle winger Damien Duff has clearly been on the happy stuff: ‘Things are definitely improving here with a new manager.
‘In the first half we played Arsenal off the park.
‘We limited them to long-range shots and got into some really good positions, but we just couldn’t capitalise.
‘I don’t think the scoreline was a fair reflection on the game.
‘We took our foot of the gas in the second half, and when you do against a team like Arsenal you get punished.’
Arsenal Team News:
Arsenal will once again be without Denilson and Djourou through injury. Toure, Eboue and Song are still away on international duty, while Van Persie will return to training tomorrow, but is still a couple of weeks away.
Player to watch: Manu Adebayor
The ‘Togonator’ (nice one Mr Stillman) has hit yet another purple patch. He showed his dark side on Tuesday, before demolishing Newcaslt on Saturday. A great poachers goal followed by a superb individual goal showed just how much this lad has come on this season. Another brace would do me.
Newcastle Team News:
Mark Viduka will not make the trip to Arsenal after suffering a set back.
However, mindless thug (just my opinion) Joey Barton will return after the conditions of his bail were altered. Emre returns from suspension. However, Faye, Geremi and ahem, Martins are all on international duty.
Player to watch: Joey Barton
He has a massive point to prove tomorrow. He’ll want to impress his ne manager as well as his judge. And he’ll be egar to stop Fabregas working his magic in the midfield.
No repeat of Saturday’s exploits I’m afraid. The return of Barton and Emre will add something to the Newcastle midfield other than the own goal scored by Butt. 1-1.