Is This The Most Disheartening Period In Newcastle History?
By the time Newcastle kick off at The Emirates tonight, just over four months will have passed since they left they field having stuck 5 past Stoke City and sat in 6th place in the league. Whilst I'm sure it's easy to boss a game where you've had two opponents sent off and the 9 that are left are being managed by an angry Welsh parody of Father Ted, that game came on the back of results against Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Southampton, and a first win at Old Trafford since the invention of the digital watch.
What's happened since has arguably been the most disheartening slide in the club's recent history. Yes, we went down a few years ago, but that was with a load of average players getting beaten every week by teams that tended to have too much for them – compared to spending almost every game since the turn of the year watching one of the most talented squads we've ever had getting turned over by teams who've sussed that if that, if they merely apply a little bit of pressure and can find a goal, we'll have no answer.
Some will tell you it's because we lost Cabaye, some will tell you it's because Remy's been out, some will tell you they're already on their holidays, or it's the tactics, the coaching, the dressing room, Pardew, Ashley, Gillian from Wonga. Regardless the result has been 12 defeats in the last 17 matches, and two goals in our last 7 games.
Form so horrifyingly awful that regional television ad breaks in 2023 will be filled with small sized law firms asking you if you attended any Newcastle home games under Pardew. “Remember a starting line-up that included Ameobi and Dan Gosling? You could be entitled to compensation! Call now!”.
Anyway, to Arsenal. Despite managing to “Arsenal” their way out of contention for the title, a victory against our mob would probably secure fourth spot for them. I've no idea how Everton, who looked a bit like a rabid dog chasing down a fat child in the race for the Champions League a few weeks ago, have managed to mess it up, but there you have it, Wenger's men just a finish line to cross and merely our rotting corpses to step over in the process. Wonderful.
We've allegedly got almost a full side to choose from, although news broke on Sunday of Hatem Ben Arfa not travelling down. I say “news broke”, he actually posted a really sad picture of himself on Instagram telling everyone about it. No, really. This a day after he was photographed comfort-eating alone in Chicken Cottage. Also no, really.
Santon's missing for the rest of the season - big shame. Papiss Cisse might well have kicked his last ball for us - big shame. Luuk De Jong's been ruled out with an injury - big shame. And Moussa Sissoko might pass a late fitness test and play - also a big shame.
In terms of tactics, we'll no doubt be treated to the latest Pardew masterclass. Last time out we went 3-4-2-1, and away at Southampton we had 3 left backs on the pitch at the same time, so your guess is as good as mine for how we'll line up. A False One perhaps, Inverted Centre Backs, A golfer on the wing.
You can get 0-4 Arsenal at about 12-1, Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Carver's Mental But We Could Be On For A Good Run(Well that didn't quite happen did it? - Ed)