The Newcastle United FC will face a tough test on Sunday when they square off against Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal FC squad. They will be coming off a 5-1 Boxing Day victory over Stoke City FC, and appear to have more than mere momentum on their side. They have been quietly asserting their dominance all season long. Since the beginning of November, with their 2-0 win over Chelsea on the 2nd, Newcastle has only lost once in nine matches. Despite the fact, that they are sitting in sixth place, only two points outside of the top four spots, they are the team that everyone appears to be discounting as a genuine threat. If they stay on course and topple the Arsenal squad on Sunday, that might finally change.
Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew, has said on several occasions that he felt his squad was not getting the attention that they deserved. He is not wrong. For whatever reason, the success of Newcastle has not translated into their being treated as a legitimate contender for the title. Even the Premier League pundits who have watched and provided commentary seem unwilling to name the Newcastle run as more than a fluke. Nobody seems willing to believe that it can be sustained. The squad has beaten Stoke City, Manchester United, Tottenham, and Chelsea in their march toward Sunday’s showdown. It will be difficult to dismiss Newcastle United FC as a fluke if they are able to face this tough test against Arsenal and come away with a win.
At the center of the Newcastle United story, literally, is the world-class play of midfielder Yohan Cabaye. Part of the reason that Newcastle has been largely overlooked is that they have a different approach to their play. There is no single threat up front in the vein of Sergio Aguero for Manchester City or Luis Suarez for Liverpool. Cabaye takes control of the game from the center of the pitch. He has an uncanny awareness of the entire field of play at all times, and is able to place the ball with such accuracy that he can find whichever teammate is best positioned to attack the net at will. He is as unselfish as he is skilled; a real team player.
With scoring threats like Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, and new-found favorite Loic Remy to choose from, Cabaye is able to orchestrate an assault which is difficult to plan for. The Newcastle squad has a number of players who are capable of being viewed as stars in their own right. The fact that they are able to share the limelight among them and truly work as a team might just be the key to taking them all the way to a spot in the top four, if not the eventual Premier League title. There are a lot of managers who talk about the importance of team performance over individual accolades. Alan Pardew’s squad is a group of players who are putting their money where their mouth is on that front. While they do, indeed, face a tough test against an Arsenal squad that is desperate to keep their spot at the top on Sunday, the Newcastle United FC appear ready to meet the challenge admirably.
Editorial By Jim Malone