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Arsenal vs. Newcastle: Match preview

The Toon come to, uh, toon

Yaya please help us
Yaya please help us
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Arsenal vs. Newcastle
English Premier League
Saturday, December 13
9.30 AM PT/12.30 PM ET/5.30 PM BT
Emirates Stadium, London
Current League Form: ARS not so bueno | NEW you know in a car when you feel the wheels wobble a bit it's like that
US TV: NBCSN | Worldwide TV listings

By the middle of September, Alan Pardew seemed like a man very much on borrowed time.  Newcastle had piled up a massive three points in the league, which saw them comfortably in the relegation places. Pardew was fined and suspended for headbutting a player, and one of the last straws for him seemed to be his sending out Hatem ben Arfa on loan. After that, it was reported that Pardew was down to his very last of last chances with the club.

What a difference two months makes. Newcastle come into this game in seventh place, level on points with Arsenal but with an inferior goal difference, after having reeled off five straight wins from mid-October to mid-November. A loss to West Ham closed out the month, and a draw to Burnley opened December before last weekend's win over Chelsea. So, for those of you following along at home, that's 19 points from eight games. Not bad, Pardew, not bad.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are coming off a Champions League game that claimed yet another casualty - Aaron Ramsey's out for a month with because why the fuck not.  Given that news, and the perpetual news of all the other injuries to Arsenal these days, I think Travis nailed this weekend's potential starting eleven pretty well:

That guy
The other guy over there
What's his face
That one guy
The man standing there
Yeah, him, right there
The brown haired fellow with his hands in his pockets

I gotta be honest. I'm as optimistic as the next dude but I'm kinda afraid of this match - Newcastle have shown some mortality in recent weeks, but Arsenal are kind of a hot mess right now. They played well against Gala, so I can only hope that form continues into this weekend, and that Arsenal can points it up successfully despite having to rely on volunteers, stewards, and that one guy.