So here we go again. As we once trudged down to Highbury in anticipation of an FA Cup exit now we head down to the Emirates for part one of our Gooner Games double header. The club allege 5,000 tickets have been sold for the match, which, I believe, is a bit of a pisser as aren`t we supposed to get 15 – 20% of the stadium allocation? Never mind. Following the 0-0 draw against the Bolton Wrestling XI last week it should be a more stylish affair against the Arse.
Amidst all the hype of King Kev`s return little did people realise how hard the fixtures around his return would be. Having nailed Stoke and drawn with Bolton, the step up in class to Wenger`s side is simply enormous. Watching them get torn limb from limb against Spurs was an interesting experience, in the sense that you saw the best and worst of them in a microcosm.
The good? Adebayor. Another stunning goal akin to the ones he scored against Spurs and ourselves in the league, launching a hammer of a shot past Cerny in nets. Some of their passing play was sublime, as per usual, and the way they surged forward looking for goals was tops to watch.
The bad? Falling apart like a pack of cards when the pressure was on them. Abou Diaby and his inability to control a ball. Bendtner`s defense of set pieces. Theo Walcott`s dribbling skills.
The ugly? Squabbling like spoilt bairns amongst themselves. Avoiding an FA charge for it (Big Four bias by the FA? Never?).
Lets not kid ourselves though – they`re light years ahead of us on the pitch at the moment and they`re going to have to be seriously off their game and us be amazingly on ours. A lot depends on how they handle the infighting and bitterness of being humped 5-1 off their nearest and dearest.
Pre match hype?
Arsenal Team News:
For the Gooners, Clichy and Senderos return. Eboue, Toure and another fringe lad are off at the ACN. Expect Almunia to return in goal, a midfield consiting of five – Hleb playing loose – and Sagna and Clichy marauding on the left and right flanks.
Player to watch: Adebayor
A more than amble replacement for the arrogant prick that was Henry. A totally different player but no less effective. Netted a belter earlier in the season in our 1-1 draw at SJP.
Newcastle Team News:
For ourselves, Smith and Butt come back from their recent indisciplinary bans though Emre is still out. Viduka is still deemed too far away to be ready. Faye, Martins, Beye and the former Captain Crapstick, Geremi, are away sunning themselves in Ghana. Barton remains in Cell Block H. Expect a 4-4-2 with Owen and Smith up front. Rozenhal is likely to miss out for Butt.
Player to watch: Steven Taylor
Has to combat Adebayor and hold things together at the back. The moment he slips up, we get humped harder than Ashley Cole`s hairdresser
NUFC v AFC in the cup
1901/02 1st Round won 2-0 (a)
1905/06 Semi Final won 2-0 (n)
1931/32 Final won 2-1 (n)
1935/36 5th Round drew 3-3 (h)
1935/36 5th Round rep lost 0-3 (a)
1951/52 Final won 1-0 (n)
1997/98 Final lost 0-2 (n)
2001/02 Quarter Final drew 1-1 (h)
2001/02 Quarter Final rep lost 0-3 (a)
Boldly taking a 1-1 draw for this one.
Arse away – next Tuesday – followed by the Fiddlers at home on Sunday.