Arsenal vs Newcastle: 3 Things To Watch For


Arsenal start the new year against Newcastle. Will it be a perfect start to the second half, or will Arsenal surrender first place and break our hearts?

Venue: Emirates Stadium

Date: Saturday, Jan 2

It is hard not to label Arsenal’s rise to the top of the Premier League as anything less of a miracle derived from hard work and a bit of luck. The millions of injuries to key players and the replacement of those key players has been painful to witness. Yet through it all Arsenal just keeps chipping away, bouncing back after losses and low points. The one constant this year has been the rise of our new team leader, Mesut Ozil. When he is in the game there is always a sense of hope that something special will happen.

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Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle

1) Ozil will inch closer to a league record

At the midway point of the league, Arsenal’s record signing German leads the league with 16 assist and is therefore on pace for 32 assist, which is 12 more than the current assist record. As per, Ozil has created 79 chances with an average passing percentage of 89%. Ozil has been brilliant, but last game we saw another aspect of his game that is quickly developing into a weapon. Ozil has scored three goals off of ten shots on target, which is not too impressive. However, it is important to note that Ozil is more willing to shoot. What’s more impressive is his lack of hesitation in front of goal this season.

Ozil has been playing the game with flow and grace, his ability to change the tempo of the game, the attitude of the game, and the outcome of the game is the reason why rumors have once again appeared where top-tier teams are interested in his services. Although it is safe to say all the talk is fake and made up, it just shows how amazing he has been this season. No doubt Ozil will continue to shine in this game.

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2) Arsenal are surprisingly good at defense

Ever since Ramsey started playing in the middle, the biggest question was if he could be as disciplined as Carzola at the back and understand when to be aggressive and when to be passive. Its fair to say Ramsey has passed so far in flying colors, with the Welshman scoring twice in his past five games, as well as creating seven chances and being a part of three key defensive plays. However, the more impressive part of Ramsey’s game has been his passing, as he has improved with ball control and decision making since moving to his central role.

Its easy to say Ramsey is too good to be left of any team but if anyone can recall I said prior to the start of the season that Carzola would have to make way for Ramsey and other younger players to occupy that role despite Carzola’s effectiveness. As crazy as that statement was, I think we can all agree that Ramsey has proven he can do what Carzola does and provides the team with a completely new and different element with those amazing tackles and runs forward.

3) Too much talent to not score three

As we hit the second half of the season, one thing has been quite clear. Arsenal can score a lot and Newcastle are not that good at defending. Having given up 34 goals to Arsenals 18 so far this season, Newcastle owns the third worst record. Newcastle are a tough opponent but the difference in class between the two teams will begin to show as we pass the 20 minute mark and Arsenal will unlock this defense if not carve it open.

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I know it is a little greedy to predict three goals, but regardless of my thoughts as to the scoreline, one thing is for sure, Newcastle will have to play an impressive 90 minutes if they don’t want to lose.