Tough Toon Test

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Arsenal face a stern test tomorrow as they travel up North to face high flying Newcastle United; who apart from a blip against Swansea at the beginning of December, have had a string of strong results. Their latest victory came in the form of a 5-1 thrashing of Stoke.

However, it isn’t like the Geordie’s will be awaiting us without some nervousness. Our 3-1 win over West Ham on Thursday clarified that we are nothing but title contenders this season. The return of our trusty wingers, Theo & Lukas, seems to have rejuvenated our attacking prowess; and it’s something Newcastle will be very wary of. On top of this, Alan Pardew will also know a goal will be hard to come by, judging by the form that returning captain, Thomas Vermaelen, has displayed. Whether he opts for on form Remy or veteran Ameobi, remains to be seen, but the center back partnership between the BFG and The Verminator should certainly be up to the task.

The real battle will be had in the midfield, and it’s here where Arsene must chose wisely what players he sends out tomorrow. Tiote returns and will most likely pair with summer reject, Cabaye, at the center of the park. But while Ramsey may be out with a hamstring injury, the return of Wilshere and a rested Rosicky atop Arteta and Flamini, one thing’s for sure; Arsene will not be lacking for options.

Where the manager potentially faces a dilemma however, is who plays as striker tomorrow afternoon. Does he stick with the struggling French hunk that is Giroud, or does he give either Podolski or Walcott a shot up there? Internet ramble would have you believe that Giroud just isn’t cutting it, and while there may be some truth to that, is it a wise thing to drop him and give somebody else a shot with the January transfer window looming?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: we need the points and we can’t afford to not hurt people’s feelings in order to obtain said points. Besides, I’d assume Giroud is a fighter who will only take it as a challenge to try harder, rather crawl into the foetus position in his bathtub and cry tears of sorrow while sucking his thumb. Secondly, I think it would send a very direct message to the rest of the team by dropping somebody who just isn’t performing. And thirdly, he’s played pretty much every game since the start of the season and considering we have worthy backup, it’s only logical to give him a breather. The same goes for Ozil too. Cazorla was one of our finest players last season, and recently he’s form has picked up, reminding us why we fell in love with the little trickster in the first place. I’d see very little harm in starting him over our German superstar in the match against the Geordie’s in tomorrows match.

As far as predictions go, I’m a little on the fence. I think we may struggle for long periods at a time, but I don’t doubt we have what it takes to grind out a victory in the end. Matches between us and Newcastle United tend to end with high scorelines, but with the quality of our back four, I just can’t see this being the case tomorrow. My money is on a 2-0 Gooner win.

UTA

Albanian Goone @TrimiRatkoceri

 

Gooner Ramble

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