Newcastle United vs Arsenal: Three key players to look out for

The Hard Tackle picks three players who could make the mark and become gamechangers in the game between Newcastle United and Arsenal.

Arsenal’s challenge has unravelled recently, from being the bookmakers’ favourite for a brief moment to leaving the title race to fate. Mikel Arteta will talk about the team’s progress. But secretly, he would rue those three games they drew when they should have won comfortably.

Six dropped points in games against Liverpool, West Ham United, and Southampton have cost Arsenal a potential shot at the Premier League title. However, their hopes are still burning on a light flame, hoping that Manchester City will drop points in at least two games between now and the end.

While their prayers continue to flow for that scenario, Arsenal have a pivotal game to play against Newcastle United. Arteta will hope his players do not think about what happened here last year, which effectively killed their chances of a top-four finish.

This time around, a defeat to Newcastle or even a draw would all but end their title dreams. This game has huge gratification attached for the Magpies, with Eddie Howe likely to see a victory cementing their place as the third-best team in the division.

Manchester United’s loss earlier this week allowed Newcastle to keep hold of third place. With a two-point lead and a massively supreme goal difference, the Magpies will know the value of three more points on Sunday, keeping the players on their toes.

Hence, this game has ramifications for both teams, meaning the two managers will rely on a few players to show their game-changing qualities. For Arsenal, there’s Gabriel Martinelli and Thomas Partey, while Alexander Isak could play a pivotal role for Newcastle, as this game promises a mammoth encounter on the pitch.

Thomas Partey

Games of this magnitude often get decided in the middle of the park. The attackers usually have the final say with their goals; midfielders tend to play a massive role in deciding the direction of the result. When Arsenal take on Newcastle, there are many important battles about to happen.

Among all the battles, the one between Thomas Partey and Bruno Guimaraes promises to catch the eye. On paper, it is a mammoth clash of the titans, with both stars proving they are best in the position this season. The Ghanaian midfield metronome has marshalled the area and made Arsenal a strong force, and likewise for the Brazilian.

Both these stars are equally important to their respective sides but more so for Partey in this contest. The African star has a point to prove after some slack performances in recent games when the Gunners have dropped valuable points.

However, he has also been busy covering for Rob Holding at the back, which has restricted him from influencing play from the middle. With Arteta’s experiment with Jakub Kiwior working well in midweek, the tweak could allow Partey to play with his usual vigour and dictate the tempo from the middle.

Partey is crucial to how Arsenal plays in the final third, and his defensive qualities help protect the backline well. With a restricted role in recent games, the Gunners have often found themselves lacking control of games. But on Sunday, that might change.

Gabriel Martinelli

Arsenal fans are hoping benching the top scorer was only a rest for the attacker. Gabriel Martinelli will have recharged his batteries away from the pressure, especially after an anonymous performance against Manchester City. He will certainly hope to return to his goalscoring ways, but the Newcastle clash is tough for the Brazilian.

The Magpies are known for their defensive resilience, and the Brazilian will have to prove his worth by troubling that backline. Martinelli has plenty of goals in his game. But against Newcastle, he also has to show his defensive alertness.

On his side, there is the looming threat of Kieran Trippier dictating Newcastle’s attack. So it is upon Martinelli to keep the right-back busy and remain aware of defending against him. The latter part is very important considering the usual positioning of Oleksandr Zinchenko, who tends to leave a big gap behind for Gabriel Magalhaes to deal with.

Martinelli will also come under pressure from Leandro Trossard, with Arteta readily having his finger on the trigger to change if needed. Hence, the Brazilian must put up his best showing in this game and possibly become Arsenal’s game-changer against the Magpies.

Alexander Isak

After a slow start to life since becoming Newcastle United’s record signing, Isak has taken his game to the next level. He is now an automatic starter ahead of top scorer Callum Wilson as he continues to put in top-draw performances under Eddie Howe.

Against Arsenal, he will come across as the biggest threat to the Gunners’ defence. Isak will sense an opportunity in this clash, especially with the weak, right central defensive position. He could have a field day if Rob Holding comes back into the side. But Jakub Kiwior has proven to be more solid there.

However, the Polish defender barely has any Premier League experience and has yet to face a formidable opponent like Isak. Hence, the Swede could make the best of the opportunity and trouble Arsenal, as he could start in an unorthodox position on the left side of the attack.

Isak is also a proven goalscorer for Newcastle this season. The Swede will prove as the biggest threat for Arsenal, and he could take advantage of that tag. Hence, the battle between him and the Gunners’ centre-backs will result in a fascinating affair, which could decide the game.

Leave Comment


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.