What a difference a result can make! - 26/09/2003

What a difference a result can make!
Confidence restored

How a season can change! From doom and gloom prior to the UEFA tie to the expectancy of tonights game. Whilst the Brada match was an excellent game for the club, tonightís match can be just as good. Wednesday night proved that Newcastle can still play good football Ė and throughout the team there were some excellent performances. It was actually difficult to pick a Man of the Match, Shay Given kept a clean sheet and managed two excellent stops, I thought Olivier Bernard looked very solid and looked to get forward at any opportunity. OB came in and looked a solid partner to Titus Bramble, who himself scored a cracking header and gave another assured performance. Kieron Dyer looked very good playing an unfamiliar role on the right. Robert looked as hungry as Iíve seen him and in setting up three of the five goals, Iím sure Bobby Robson would have been very happy with his performance. Another strong candidate was Craig Bellamy, Iím sure he enjoyed his two goals, and I was particularly impressed with the clinical manner he took his first.

So with a healthy first leg lead to take to Holland, the focus now switches to this evenings game in London. This can be a classic, and irrespective of the quality of the game, itís going to be very interesting to see how Arsenal come out after the Man U game - and how Newcastle play having had the confidence boost after the Brada game. For me, an Ďon formí Arsenal are a candidate for best team in the world, but which Arsenal will turn up? Who knows how theyíll react to all the media attention theyíve attracted? This will be an intense game, you can bet that thereíll be a few tackles flying about and Newcastle will be looking to upset Arsenal by attacking their Achilles heel Ė their discipline. Expect Viera and Keown etc to be tested!

One thing that Newcastle canít afford to do is to sit back, if so, Arsenal will slaughter them. Newcastle are an attacking side and without doubt, weíre best at taking the game to the opposition. If Bellamy, Robert, Dyer can pick up from Wednesday nightís game, you can bet that this will be a classic. Some might say that the players will struggle with only a day off between the games, Iíd disagree. The 5-0 score line will put a spring in their step and Paul Winsper does a great job as fitness coach. Arsenal will be disappointed if they slip up, and Iím sure most supporters at Newcastle will be happy with a draw. One things for sure, Iím really, really, looking forward to it!!!

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