Following the latest International kick-about yawn-athon, we can once more concentrate on the angst of supporting Newcastle United. Continuing our more than tricky start to the season, this Saturday sees the Gunners come to Town for a good, old fashioned 3pm-er.

For the first time in a generation, it will not be a twisty faced, shortsighted pantomime dame, without his make up on in the away dug out. The Gooner fans TV boo boys have managed to finally get their wish, innit. The most decorated manager in the famous old club’s history has finally exited stage left.

Were they right in wanting him gone? Is his replacement up to the job? I guess time will tell on both of these questions. Arsene reinvented English football with his unbeatable 90’s sides. They were built on total bastards in defence, two immensely talented, massive central midfielders in Vieira & Petit with guile, skill, pace & a plethora of goals from the likes of Henry and Pires. To be fair to the Wenger deniers, his teams of the last 5 or 6 years were a pale and insipid comparison of these earlier marauders.

Some of us may have poured cold water on their plaintive cries for change, given even their relative success in latter years, but from their angle they’ve gone from being top two mainstays to top end also rans. We, of course would gleefully wrestle elderly relatives to be where they sit in the pecking order, but that’s what a decade or so of having a prick for an owner will do for you.

Having gone through the long winded grief of trying to oust Wenger I’m hearing that some Arsenal fans were a little underwhelmed by the new man. However, a look at this chap’s CV will show you he’s no mug. Ask Juergen Klopp. His strongly fancied Liverpool team were brushed aside 3-1 by Unai’s Sevilla in the 2016 Europa League Final. This victory was one of a three in a row, a record that will take some beating. MENSA’s Paul Merson has been quite vocal in his criticism of the new guy. That should, at least add a few crumbs of comfort if you’re a Gunner.

Having scanned Arsenal a few times in the early part of this season, they look a little Jekyll & Hyde to me. Particularly at the Emirates they look a little disjointed & laborious. The West Ham game a good example of this. However, we should not be counting chickens here. Anyone who viewed their recent match at Stamford Bridge will know that only outrageous profligacy saw them failing to gain a well earned victory and their three goal haul in South Wales demonstrate that they have plenty of goals in them.

What of United? I think it’s fair to say our last run out shocked many of us. There was much to admire in that performance. However, plucky displays v England’s leading lights in Spurs, Chelsea & Man City have yielded more than a few ‘could / should’ve beens’ but nada in the points column. Superb opposition, shit luck & even shitter refereeing have cost us dearly.

Whilst we were clearly playing different versions of Chelsea & Arsenal at the back end of last season, we did get 6 points and a +4 goal tally. If we fail to get anything this weekend the task just gets ever harder. We will need to do better against some of the lower hanging fruit.

Arsenal’s recent away performances lead you to the probable conclusion there will be a few goals in this one. Newcastle will of course be organised and committed. However, to win this, we’ll need more than pluck. We’ll require a top end performance from the likes of Rondon and decent supply from the flanks. Arsenal’s defending is a bit iffy and decent quality from us will see us notch.

I can see goals at either end am going for a fence sitting 2-2.


Nick Clark