NUFC vs AFC Preview
The final game of the season looms and Arsenal require a win to guarantee Champions League football next season. On paper this should be a formality for Arsenal as they are on a strong run (title winning if the season started in January) and Newcastle have been poor for most of the season. However, as the old cliché goes, football isn't played on paper it's played on grass.
Arsenal don't have the best record in recent years at St James' Park and will need a ruthless and professional attitude to see this game out.
If results go the right way Arsenal could finish 3rd or even have to face Chelsea in a play-off for 3rd position. I wonder what odds you would get on Arsenal to snatch a last minute 2-1 win to devastate Spurs and set up a play-off with Chelsea? Unibet is offering an odds of 8/1.
Arsenal had a great game against Wigan or at least the scoreline said they did. It was actually a very open match and the second goal dealt Wigan a winding blow and Arsenal soon followed it with goals number three and four to send Wigan down. It was quite flattering to Arsenal who whilst generally playing well did not look in complete control of the match.
Newcastle have nothing left to play for however their manager, Alan Pardew, has said that he wants to entertain the fans on the last day of the season and this alludes to open football which will suit Arsenal very well. However there is no love lost between Pardew and his Arsenal counter-part, Arsène Wenger, so his tactics could be set up just to entirely frustrate Arsenal to the chargin of Gooners everywhere and the delight of Spuds.
Olivier Giroud is available for selection again so Arsenal will have a physical prescence and target in the box and this may suit a tight game. Podolski has done reasonably well in his spell up-front for a player carrying an injury. If he starts, expect a goal to sign off with.
The team-selection is a tough one to call as Arteta, Jack and Podolski are all carrying injuries and Wenger probably won't want to risk them all. There are talks of Vermaelen starting as a defensive midfielder and he would surely relish the chance to play another game and will have fond memories of St James' Park having scored there last season.
Arsenal don't have the luxury of kicking off earlier or later than Tottenham so will have to ensure they are doing the business from the first minute to the last as word of Arsenal will make it to the Tottenham players.
If Arsenal are indeed to make Champions League for another season then this summer is surely going to see a great deal of team strengthening now the club has more money to spend.
It's bold but we're going for a 3-0 win for Arsenal to take third as we think Everton will take at least a point from Chelsea. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!