Preview: Newcastle vs Arsenal
By Randy Osae
Then a sinking boat, now a floating canoe.
Being an Arsenal fan this month might just feel like a driver with car insurance.
Arsenal never managed a league victory nor a goal in February, but in a more accommodating March, there is luxurious optimism of having every chance of scooping the FA Cup and Champions League.
And that sings well in mind for those who have witnessed every single funk and merry of this roller-coaster ride. Arsenal’s constantly rupturing campaign is now a gradually framing one.
But in his well-cushioned seat in the dug-out at St James’ park tomorrow, Wenger will be contemplating defense of yet another turning point in Arsenal’s season. In his long tenure, the manger has never had more deceitful instances of “turning points” in a season than this one.
Perhaps Wenger is not as comfortably cushioned as many carried-away fans are. Arsenal’s boss argues his side’s run of bliss could be irrelevant come May unless they keep all guns blazing till the end.
That said, any hurdle is ‘jumpable’.
And with Villa pipped for fourth place, even the Premier League title is.
“We have prepared ourselves mentally to give absolutely everything in every game.
“It is down to us. I would like to change the order of the top four to get in front of one or two teams.
“The title is not as much done as people think it is. Manchester United has a huge advantage, because they are four points ahead and a game in hand.
“But it is still open, because they all still have to play us, so it will be interesting.”
The Gunners head 280 miles off to Tyneside with form as spark-plug in another quest for maximum points – something they have failed to achieve in this particular fixture since 2004/05.
Spring just loomed out of the corner, but the Magpies already have bone-dry feathers. There is some familiarity with relegation warfare at Newcastle, but matters seem a bit too sticky this year.
Newcastle fear being glued to the Premier League’s basement for long. Not with nine games to go. And that is some reason to make Wenger’s men victims of revival on Saturday.
If the currently stricken Kinnear has his men fueled with intentions of prevailing, Arsenal have the know-how. The north Londoners have won their last three league and cup meetings with Newcastle – all by 3-0 scorelines and for good measure, have all been at the Emirates Stadium. That’s what varies.
The Gunners’ have status of being the top flight’s only unbeaten side in 2009. And that is becoming all too equitable game by game. They are redeeming their old selves, and another comprehensive showing tomorrow will let all know; Arsenal are back!
As if the boy was back on wheels, Theo Walcott has been reversed by another injury woe. His pace will be missing for a while.
However, Eduardo is fit again, along with Almunia, while Silvestre could also come into contention after some 10 weeks out with a calf injury. Captain Cesc Fabregas (knee) is back in training, but will not feature until after the international break. Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring) and Tomas Rosicky (hamstring tendon) continue their rehabilitation.