3 November 2023
5 reasons Newcastle vs Arsenal is a must-watch game
It shows just how far the two teams have come that you can look at a full list of Saturday Premier League fixtures and pick out Newcastle vs Arsenal as the undisputed pick of the bunch.
As we gear up for their meeting this weekend (live on Showmax Pro Mobile, courtesy of SuperSport), here’s a look at how this fixture has now become a must-watch.
1. Two teams looking to repeat last season’s “overachievement”
A few clubs that are used to playing in the UEFA Champions League are now just watching it because of Arsenal and Newcastle gatecrashing the top four last season.
It was Newcastle’s highest league finish in 20 years and Arsenal were in serious contention for their first league title in 19 years. Their starts to this campaign suggest that these achievements weren’t one-offs.
The Geordies have climbed up the table with a six-game unbeaten run and have dreams of going all the way in the Carabao Cup after knocking out both Manchester clubs.
The Gunners are second and have yet to lose a league game this season. They also pulled off a statement victory over Manchester City that will give the team belief that they’re actually a better outfit than last season.
It’s hard to find two clubs in the Premier League that have more optimism these days.
2. Two of the Premier League’s best attacks
Not only do they get the results for their fans, but these two clubs have been easy on the eye for the neutrals as well.
This season, Newcastle are the joint-top scorers in the league along with Aston Villa. This included an 8-0 thumping of Sheffield United that amazingly included eight different scorers.
Arsenal have also been firing up front having scored one goal more than Manchester City and the same number as Liverpool (an unheard of statistic a couple of seasons ago).
Both attacks are characterised by their collective efforts. There isn’t just one danger-man, which is so important to the way they play. If the opposing defence gives too much attention to one player, it allows more room for others to pounce.
3. Howe vs Arteta
Aside from the players, it also sees two of the most popular managers coming up against each other.
Newcastle United’s passionate support base has a history of looking at the manager as a messianic figure and it’s currently full steam ahead in their backing of Eddie Howe.
While Howe has no doubt been helped by some extra transfer investment that his predecessors didn’t have, it’s how he’s transformed players he inherited that has really caught the eye.
As for Mikel Arteta, he was a popular appointment at the Emirates because of his playing days at the club and has backed up the sentiment with notable improvement every season he’s been in charge.
Both Howe and Arteta are relatively young as well. Both sets of supporters will be dreaming of long managerial reigns.
4. Both teams are capable of clean sheets in big games
The defensive improvement of both teams has been noticeable the last few seasons and after many years of battling perceptions of being flaky, they are now two of the hardest nuts to crack in the Premier League.
Newcastle had the joint-best defensive record in the league last season along with Manchester City. They got a clean sheet in 37% of their games last season. They’ve started this season by upping that to 40%.
As for Arsenal, they’ve got the second best defensive record this season (one goal behind Manchester City) and more importantly, pulled off the most impressive clean sheet any club in the world would boast about when they beat the defending champions 1-0 last month.
Of the two defences, Newcastle do look the most settled in terms of consistency in selection and building combinations. Arsenal might need a few more solid defensive performances before they give off that feeling.
5. A fixture with a history of drama
You don’t need to just look at the present to be enticed by the fixture. A look through the past shows that there’s something about Newcastle vs Arsenal that brings drama, especially at St James’ Park.
This includes one of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history in 2011 where Arsenal took a four-goal lead in less than 26 minutes, only for Newcastle to miraculously respond with four second half goals to make it a draw.
It’s a fixture that has also attracted some of the most unforgettable classic goals from Premier League legends like Alan Shearer and Denis Bergkamp.
It’s a game that often brings out the best in players, and conditions seem perfect for that to be the case on Saturday.
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