Newcastle United have a big game against an in-form Arsenal side tomorrow and the home fans will be pretty geed up for the clash. The Magpies have two games in hand over nearest rivals Bournemouth and can strengthen their grip on the 10th place with a win. Relegation is still mathematically possible, but with the bottom three sides struggling, Rafa Benitez’s side are very unlikely to go down.
Arsenal, on the other hand, are looking over their shoulder as they are just a couple of points clear of Burnley who just refuse to go away. Though they have a game in hand, Arsene Wenger’s side will want to ensure they pick up a win tomorrow.
The two sides are in identical for having won their last three games. Arsenal will be slightly leggy, though, as they had to overcome CSKA Moscow in the Europa League a few days ago. Both the sides have a few good players and we take a look at three key battles that could decide the outcome.
#3 Jonjo Shelvey vs Jack Wilshere
The two have similar roles for their respective sides yet they go about it in very different ways. While Wilshere is more nimble-footed and likes to dribble apart from picking out the attackers with his passes, Shelvey’s style is much more rugged. Unlike Wilshere, he shoots more and against Arsenal where the team will see less of the ball, his distribution will be key.
Wilshere is a more creative player than Shelvey and the latter will have to do a job of stopping the supply from midfield to the likes of Aubameyang. The Arsenal midfielder has mustered 1.7 key passes a game and will be a key cog in the midfield.
#2 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs the Newcastle defence
The former Dortmund man has been in pretty good form after a slow start and has mustered six goals in seven Premier League games so far. He was cup-tied the Europa League clash, so he is expected to start and his pace and movement will cause the likes of Jamaal Lascelles and Florian Lejeune problems.
Lascelles has done reasonably well this season and his understanding with Lejeune has been impressive, but with a player like Aubameyang to mark, they’ll have to sort out who does the pressing and who does the covering.
#1 Mesut Ozil vs Isaac Hayden
Ozil’s creativity is another thing the Magpies will have to watch out for. With runners like Aubameyang and Bellerin to pick out, Newcastle can ill-afford to give him any time on the ball to thread a pass. Former Arsenal midfielder Isaac Hayden could be given the nod to start in midfield.
A strong tackler in midfield, Hayden’s work rate will be key in unsettling Arsenal’s attacking forays.