Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Newcastle vs Arsenal

Written by Sam Hopkinson

Game Week 4 kicks-off this Saturday lunchtime with Newcastle hosting Arsenal. Newcastle have not beaten Arsenal in 8 of their last visits to St James Park (D4, L4) and the Gunners are enjoying a rich vain of form on the road picking up 19 points out of a possible 21.

The form book would suggest loading your FLIP Sports fantasy team with Arsenal players for this match…and to help with your team selection, we’ve picked out those players we’re expecting strong performances from:

DEFENDER

Gabriel Paulista

With the success of a Koscielny/Mertesacker central defensive partnership, Gabriel hasn’t had much of a look-in since signing for the Gunners. Initially he and Chambers found it tough-going against Liverpool, misplacing passes more than once and leaving them open to attack. Gabriel really grew into his role as the match went on, however, and even had a promising chance late on to give Arsenal 3 points. He also won 4 aerial duels, despite having to compete with Benteke, well known to be a handful in the air. Newcastle don’t pose the same kind of threat with Cissé, so will need to figure out another way around the impressive Brazilian.

MIDFIELDER

Florian Thauvin

Newcastle’s new winger has been labelled the “new Franck Ribéry” and it will be fascinating to see how he plays for Steve McClaren’s Newcastle this season. For Marseille he has never been that prolific—his last season he scored 5 goals and notched 4 assists. These aren’t the numbers of a game-changing player, but fans note that this was a poor season from him. He was even named in Ligue 1’s ‘Worst XI’ which shows he wasn’t in the best of form. That being said, he’s already gotten off the mark for Newcastle with this great finish against Northampton. Thauvin is a new player for opposition defences to figure out though, so given his pedigree, FLIP Sports expects him to have some success.

STRIKER

Olivier Giroud

 Is there a more underrated player in the league than Giroud? He scored 14 league goals from 21 starts last season, a very respectable return considering the players around him. Despite this he is often fighting for his position, and Arsenal fans have made no secret of their desire to sign Benzema from Real Madrid. Should Wenger fail to sign another striker, he can rest easy knowing Giroud can do an admirable job up front for him. Newcastle’s defence doesn’t look convincing at all yet, and Steve McClaren has plenty to be thinking about ahead of the match against Arsenal. With the space created by Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, Giroud should have some joy on match day.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Petr Cech

Well, well, well…Cech finally arrives. Arsenal fans might have been nervous for a minute back there – after shaky performances against West Ham and Crystal palace- but the ex-Chelsea man was a “tower of strength” against Liverpool. Cech made several fine stops and at least two world-class saves to keep a clean sheet for the Gunners. It’ll do wonders for his confidence and FLIP Sports predicts he will continue to get better as the season progresses. Arsenal’s makeshift defence needs some work before the game at Newcastle, otherwise Wenger will have to rely on Cech much more than he’d like.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn’t have football, he’d probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.