Arsenal v Magpies Preview and Lineup: Time for Azeez and Balogun, Partey Starter?

Arsenal v Newcastle 2 September 1893

by Andy Kelly

For this game, we go back to Arsenal’s pioneering days when they became the first team south of Birmingham to play in the Football League.

Date: Saturday 2 September 1893

Competition: Football League Division Two

Location: Manor Field, Plumstead

Attendance: 10,000

Referee: Joseph Tillotson

Match Report:

Arsenal 2

Shaw, Elliott

Newcastle United 2

Crate, Sorley

Woolwich Arsenal’s inaugural Football League appearance was played at the club’s “new” ground, the Manor Field, having vacated the Invicta Ground during the summer. A bumper crowd, travelling from all parts of London, turned up to witness the first Football League game played in the south of England.

Joe Powell had the honour of captaining Arsenal for this historic game and won the toss, allowing Newcastle to kick off at 3.30pm on a glorious Autumn afternoon.

Newcastle started well and caused a commotion in Arsenal’s penalty area from a corner, Charlie Williams fisted away and William Jeffery eventually cleared. But Arsenal drew first blood when, after just six minutes of play, Elliott broke through, fed Charlie Booth on the left wing and his cross found Walter Shaw who, with a terrific shot, put the ball into the net just out of Ramsay’s reach. This maiden League goal was met by rapturous applause from the crowd.

The game then settled down, play was very even with each team playing different styles: Newcastle playing more as a unit whilst the Arsenal players preferred to create their own chances. This was much in evidence as Newcastle had a good spell of possession resulting in Jock Sorely forcing Williams into a good save, and winning a series of corners. In amongst Newcastle’s possession, Arsenal twice broke away and James Henderson was unlucky to hit the post and also headed wide from a Booth cross.

Shortly after the break Arsenal went further ahead when, following an impressive solo run from his own half by Booth, Arthur Elliott beat Alex Ramsay with a stinging shot. There was a hint of offside by Elliott but the referee was not best placed to see it.

Thinking that they had won the game, Arsenal eased off which allowed Newcastle to continually press the Arsenal goal. Powell and Williams seemed to be equal to everything Newcastle threw at them but eventually, after 65 minutes, Tom Crate got through to score through a melee of players.

This goal spurred the Magpies on and they equalised in a similar manner a couple of minutes later through Sorley, despite protests for offside from Arsenal. This resulted in a frantic finale as both teams went all out for the win, but no more goals were scored resulting in a 2-2 draw which, on the balance of play, was the fairest result.

Line-ups (Newcastle picture above – Arsenal picture below):

Woolwich Arsenal: C Williams, J Powell, W Jeffery, D Devine, B Buist, D Howat, D Gemmell, J Henderson, W Shaw, A Elliott, C Booth.

Newcastle United: A Ramsay, H Jeffrey, J Miller, R Crielly, W Graham, J McKane, J Bowman, T Crate, W Thompson, J Sorley, J Wallace.

Facts about the match or players:

The crowd was entertained by the band of the 2nd Kent Artillery Volunteers.

Joe Powell would go on to die in tragic circumstances. Complications set in having broken his arm in a game in 1896. He died a few days later from tetanus. His funeral was attended by several thousand fans as well as representatives from Woolwich Arsenal and other football teams. A collection was organised for his wife and children, and the money raised was used to buy a tobacconist shop to provide ongoing income for his family.

William Graham wasn’t wrong with his prediction as Newcastle won the reverse fixture 6-0 later that month. However, in this game a number of Woolwich Arsenal players, including Charlie Booth, were struck by stones thrown from the crowd. The Newcastle committee apologised for the conduct of the home crowd to Arsenal director Fred Beardsley whilst the team were at the railway station making their way home.

Arthur Elliott has the distinction of being the first Arsenal player known to have been sent off during a game. He received his marching orders on 23 November 1892 against Ipswich Town for persistent foul play.

Arsenal v Newcastle FA Cup Games 
23 Apr 1932L12Final
15 Feb 1936D33 
19 Feb 1936W30 
03 May 1952L01Final
16 May 1998W20Final
09 Mar 2002D11 
23 Mar 2002W30 
26 Jan 2008W30 

We have met Newcastle 8 times in the FA Cup and have a positive record of – W4, D2, L 2 but sadly the only two losses were in the Cup Final.

Arsenal FA Cup Final Appearances
 Winner  Loser 
4Arsenal10Sheffield U1936
10Arsenal32Manchester U1979
11West Ham10Arsenal1980
12Arsenal21Sheffield W1993
17Arsenal*00Manchester U2005
18Arsenal32Hull City2014
19Arsenal40Aston Villa2015


TA’s Preferred (maybe predicted) lineup:

I believe a few players could do with a mini-break and a few other players are in need of playing. To the former group I count Tierney, Holding, Saka, Laca and maybe Auba. The latter group could include Partey (fit again?), Gabriel, Elneny, Nelson, AMN, Willock, Eddie, Chambers (if available), Azeez, Pepe and maybe Auba (if it is deemed a good game for scoring a couple).

It is hard to tell how seriously Newcastle will take this game. Maybe the players see it as a good competition to aim for silverware, or they regard this as too hard a game to win (as it is away from home). But as always, Arteta cannot take a win for granted and needs to put out a hungry and strong starting 11.

Here is my preferred lineup:

Most important thing is to have a solid midfield and central defence. So I would opt for experience there. AMN and Soares are the nr2 full backs and they should play. Leno will have to play unless Arteta is a courageous man and will give Runarrson another chance tomorrow. I doubt it, but maybe he should. I love the 4-2-3-1 system as it allows us to give different players a chance to excel,and in the three sort-of-nr10s positions behind the CF – most likely to be Eddie – we can play a number of options. I guess Arteta will play at least one of Pepe, Willian or Auba in that three, and that would be fine with me, but I would love to see how the likes of Willock and Nelson would perform there. Another game for ESR is on the cards but maybe, just maybe, Azeez will get a surprise start? I am also hoping Willian will play in the central nr10 position tomorrow as he could do with a good, confidence building game. Final question is, will Balogun get a chance… maybe even a start?

69 thoughts on “Arsenal v Magpies Preview and Lineup: Time for Azeez and Balogun, Partey Starter?

  • Great piece of history, GN5. Being pelted with stones really sounds prehistoric! The good old days hey!

    Our records v the Barcodes looks indeed good and so great to see those FA cup final stats again. 10 finals since 1993 and only one loss: absolutely amazing.

  • 68000 – now too many to put in the Emirates stadium – C19 cases and 1300 (120 starting 11s) deaths reported in the last 24 hours. People stay home and use a mask, keep safe distance and use gels etc, if you have to go out.

  • GN5,

    Wonderful Post today and what a pleasure to read another wonderful historical article that you have such talent in producing. Thank you. 😁

    I love that sort of thing, because there is something special reading the names to myself of people from over a hundred years ago.

    I am a big fan of our young tyros, particularly Balo and Azeez, tho’ I am not sure they will even make the bench, as there is a contract kerfuffle with Balgunner.

    Hope I am wrong.

    I love the new blog colour! 😛

  • Saliba’s interview (transcript of the part about Arsenal) :
    “My first six months were tough. Because I just came of a six-month-period when I couldn’t train, because I was home. Going out was forbidden so I didn’t train outside and I couldn’t play games.
    So I came over (to London), as the League was coming to an end, which meant I had to train by myself.
    Then, after the summer break, we played friendlies right away, and I was outpaced, and I was slightly below par fitness-wise.
    So right after that the gaffer told me I wasn’t ready to play straight away. I just wish I had been given a chance, so I might get back in rhythm, but that’s football, that’s just the way it is”
    Like your lineup, TA … and your preview, GN!
    The Capitol stormed right in the middle of an umpteenth wave of pandemic … one year-ago, any writer of such dystopian stories would have been told it was too much, that he should hold himself back

  • Cheers LeG, all sounds a bit sad re Saliba. Hope he will be able to pick things up now.

    Indeed, it has all turned out pretty bizarre… 😦

  • TA,

    I normally don’t like commenting on people and how they rationalise things they do not seem to understand. (Look at the people who support Trump, a bully, a liar and so self centred nothing and no one outside himself matters, and yet his supporters don’t get it.

    It isn’t any one country involved. Lockdowns in Germany and France have brought out people to fight their police because they do not want lockdowns, even if they save lives — and it is no better in the UK.

    Depressing real.

  • Here’s our latest team news update ahead of Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup match against Newcastle United:

    There were no injury issues from the match at West Bromwich Albion last Saturday.

    Gabriel previously tested positive for COVID-19. He is feeling well and is showing no signs of illness. Only on the successful completion of the necessary protocols and medical checks in the coming days will Gabriel be able to return to full training with the squad.

    Thomas Partey
    Thomas is now back in full training with the squad after recovering from an injury to his left thigh. Thomas will continue to work hard to establish match fitness after being out of action for a month. He will be assessed regarding his availability ahead of Saturday’s match.

    As part of Premier League protocol, all members of our first team squad and support staff continue to be regularly tested for COVID-19.

  • Thanks RA, nice to see you back again.

    As you are aware I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of historical posts but I’m never quite sure how they will be received. Fortunately Total always brightens them up with his game thoughts.

    I hope all is well with you and I wish you all the best for 2021.

  • Le G,

    Thanks for the update on Saliba, it helps to explain what is going on.

    It is a bit sad that someone at Arsenal did not give him a hand to help him acclimatised.

    But that’s football — that’s life.

  • Hello and thank you GN5 for your 2021 wishes, and I wish you, your family and everyone on BK a happy and Prosperous 2021, too.

    You know I have always loved your historical articles, and hope you can produce more when you are able. (Yes, TA is, and always has been, quietly helpful and considerate.

    Hopefully, I will spend a little more time on BK, but to be honest, I am suffering blogging fatigue, and intend to let it go. I have, despite that, only stayed around occasionally on the other site because Rocky is such a great guy, and I just find it hard to leave him — tho’ he does not need my help!! 😁

  • RA, The self acclaimed ” Greatest President in American History” has, in four years” managed to lose the House, Senate and White House to the democrats. So I have to agree with him that that was a great achievement.

  • I agree RA – Rocky is an incredible blogger and I also miss blogging with him – but there were/are too many obstacles for me too consider returning.

  • RA, I know I speak for all Bkers when I say that I sincerely hope you continue to grace us with your astute comments.

  • I can see Arteta playing another near to full strength starting XI, Liverpool didn’t underestimate an Aston Villa U23 team and still had a job to put them to the sword so I don’t want to see too much fiddling with our starting XI, they’ve had a week off and should be good to go even if I understand the concerns about overplaying our youngsters, we have the option of five subs and can easily take half the team off so I’m not concerned myself.

    What I’d love to see is a couple of youngsters on the bench, maybe Balogun and Azeez?
    Azeez could save us a fortune and be just the answer as an alternative to Smith Rowe, but he won’t be ready for another 6 months or so, but I think he’s close…

    I know I run the risk of repeating myself and falling out with some of my pals on here but I really think that we have the solutions at the club already, they just aren’t quite ready yet and I’d hate to see Arteta block their progress by bringing in some expensive big timers on inflated wages who have to be played to justify their arrival for big dough…

    West Ham are said to be sniffing around Nketiah, now I wonder how that would affect Balogun?

  • You could be right Kev re not making many changes, but we will have to see. Giving players a good rest makes sense to me and we have the squad to do it. Will Newcastle play their first team?

  • Newcastle have a few injuries TA plus a few coming back from injury, after today we have 5 days before we face Crystal Palace in the Premier League and then another 4 days before we face Newcastle again in the Premier League, I think we’ll be fine fatigue wise. It’s no bad thing making players work hard to earn a game methinks…

  • Agreed Kev, I am worried about injuries, especially hamstrings. December asked a lot of the players I mentioned and ten days might just make the difference.

  • Samuel🎗Red circle⚪Red circle⚪🎗
    Interesting thing I found out today: the nephew of Tottenham CEO Daniel Levy is managing and posting on behalf of Mesut Ozil (Charlie Pentol-Levy pictured on the right next to Ozil’s agent Erkut Sogut). The Instagram post of Mesut being in Istanbul is false. Hes in LDN #arsenal

    A little snippet…

  • It’s only a matter of perception (and bias?) how to interpret Liverpool playing with 7+2 first team players against Villa’s B squad. If you are pro manager, then you will say “properly didn’t underestimate the opponent”, “takes the cup seriously” or “didn’t let his core team to side track”. However if you dare to challenge the decision you might criticize such move as “failing to give the youngsters an opportunity”, “risking injuries to key first team players”, etc.

    In Arsenal case it is not only our perception and bias. The club has a long and proud tradition to develop youngsters. But even if the involvement of Balogun and Azeez is still disputed, we have a ton of (the largest squad of recent decades) that we kept for such contingencies. So assuming Partey is too early to throw back into deep water and Gabriel is yet to report for full duty we have a seriously strong squad without any of the starters against WBA:


    I think this line-up checks the creative capacity, the attacking potential and the defensive stability, but assuming Partey will start against Crystal Palace and ESR will retain his place at #10, then the one from Xhaka/Ceballos that will not supposed to start at Selhurst Park could have the nod ahead of Azeez in order to establish a clear midfield superiority.

    If we keep 8 out of 10 outfield players from our WBA win, then keeping youngsters around the squad under such (false) pretenses that they could get opportunities in cup competitions is just a trendy catchphrase, as ‘cup competitions’ used to mean more to Arsenal than 4-5 EL games and a couple of early League Cup rounds. Not to mention that the probability of no international football next season is well above 95%…

  • I absolutly agree, TA. Mine was not a probable line-up, only a sufficiently strong one, while giving the opportunity to both fringe and youth players.
    Regarding the 95%, which route do you foresee us playing in an international competition next year? Climbing back to #6 in the PL? Holding on to the FA Cup? Or winning the Europa League?
    None is impossible, but I don’t think assessing the combined chance to 5% would be unreasonably pessimistic…

  • Last season Emile Smith Rowe was playing for Huddersfield and became very very popular with the Terriers fans and the then management team of the Cowley brothers. Some niggling injuries again interfered with his development but he’s finally made that step up at Arsenal recently surprising those many fans who don’t follow the youth like many on here do. It’s not an exact science developing young players, fans are impatient, unrealistic even and young footballers evolve at different rates but Smith Rowe is there now and we’ll have many years of incisive and intelligent football to look forward from him.

    Bakayo Saka beat Emile to it because Bakayo is a special talent.

    Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah are still trying to establish themselves as is AMN, but who is next off of the La Hale End rank?

    Azeez? Balogun if he stays? Moller? Cottrell even?

    Or could it be Tyreece John Jules? He’s gone down the Smith Rowe route away from the spotlight quietly developing at Football League clubs and like Emile he’s been suffering some growing pains in terms of niggling injuries as the boy becomes a man.

    But if Balogun buggers off maybe that’ll open the door for TJJ to step through and into the senior squad, a player who reminds me a bit of TA’s favourite Nederlander, the one and only Robin Van Persie…

  • Good point, PB.

    We are a top six team, perhaps top four and I reckon we have at least 50% chance to make it into the former. The cups are always a gamble so I am not counting on them.

  • I think Rúnarsson will get another chance today.
    He seemed useful in training videos, and I suspect Arteta prefering the message “everybody can have an occasional mistake that should not affect his career” than going full Karius on him.
    No disrespect to the Magpies, but if Mikel chooses the tactics right then the goalkeeper shouldn’t make much difference from the qualification point of view – especially with Saint-Maximin and Lascelles out injured. Joelinton and Wilson could be still threatening with Almiron behind them, but the shiny new Arsenal is capable to score plenty, even if we concede one…

  • Daniel Ballard has looked good for Blackpool but got a booking just before half time, he’ll have to be careful now as his Tony Adams’ style is frowned upon by referees these days, the Seasiders or Tangerines are leading West Brom 1-0 at Bloomfield Road.

  • At Dean Court, Harry Clarke is playing left side of a three for Oldham Athletic, he’s alongside some older guy who looks and sounds Italian, Pelligrini is his name (could be an Argie as well?) the older guy looks as if he’s been around the block a bit and the experience should really help Harry.
    Bournemouth took the lead but Oldham equalised, so 1-1.

    Harry Kewell coaches Oldham and you can see as they play good football.

  • Ballard is playing on the right in a back four.

    Finally Doncaster Rovers at Blackburn is 1-0 to the Donny at Ewood Park.
    Not on BT Sport sadly so I can’t report of TJJ bu5 he’s had a couple of shots and Donny are winning 1-0
    TJJ is playing centre forward according to the BBC so very RVP then TA, from AK 😀

  • Another fine preview post by GN5, steeped in the historical and so enjoyable to read. The magpies may have beaten us in two FA cup finals, but it’s fair to say they haven’t done so in the modern era so, we expect this trend to continue at our home.

    I fully expect Arteta to play a strong enough squad with the youngsters involved, alongside some regular first team players who need games. The latter includes Pepe, Willian, Cedric, AMN, Luis, Mustafi (won’t play him, though), Chambers, Elneny and Gabriel. The youngsters like Martinelli, Nelson, Willock, Nketiah and Balogun should also get a look in.

    I feel we would see Rúnarsson start, just to give him a chance at redemption, assuming he does well in training. If he isn’t picked, then I cannot see why we won’t be in the market for a new, reliable back up keeper. My predicted line up would read something like:

    Rúnarsson, Cedric, Chambers, Luis, AMN, Elneny, Partey, Pepe, Willian, Martinelli and Nketiah/Auba. We should see Ceballos, ESR and/or Auba/Balogun come on later, assuming we don’t have any defensive injuries.

    If West ham are interested in Nketiah, I say sell. It would give us a chance to keep Balogun who, to my mind, is a much deadlier striker with the right attributes.

  • Harry Clarke did ok, got booked, started on the left, finished on the right, but could stop Bournemouth running out comfortably 4-1 winners

  • Great lineup suggestions … maybe Arteta thinking the same as some have said here on Auba… trying to get him some confidence goals if possible. I would’ve gone for Eddie instead, but I wonder if he’s on his way somewhere soon to bring in cash.
    I’m glad Laca on current form being rested, I would like Tierney to have been rested today.
    Lacazette might be needed to do the hard work again soon, next against Roys boys.

  • Agreed with Jnyc.
    Mari’s involvement is justified as Gabriel will most likely retain his place against Crystal Palace, but there is no need to overuse Tierney – and demote AMN not to play even in cup competitions.
    Regarding the front 4 it is understandable trying to give the opportunity for Auba to impress, and it is really exciting to see Willian in the middle (AM). So I expect to go through, however the Willock-Elneny midfield engine seems like the lightest partnership possible there.
    I am sad that no academy players made the bench (expected Balogun and Azeez), as there is no need for Saka and Lacazette on the bench if you have Nelson, ESR and Nketiah there.

  • marti announced injured during warm-up by french tv (muscular injury), they don’t know who’s going to be picked instead: reiss”s day, at long last??? i sure hope so
    100% in agreement with Jn about ainsley (and calum, and eddie!!)

  • Lascalles is surprisingly available for Newcastle. Joelinton starts at LW (if we can believe to LiveScores – which is rarely the case), and Carroll is the lone striker in 4-5-1. Ex-Arsenal Isaac Hayden plays as CDM against his former club.

  • well … looks more like a pre-season friendly, than like an FACup tie
    not unpleasant, but uneventful
    how was Lascelles not sent off for his assault on reiss at he 8th minute is a mystery which ceases to be a mystery once you remember you’re in the parallel, anti-arsenal, PGMO universe
    we’re in need of a spark, which bukayo-emil provided in the last three games; as opposed to willian-auba who look like lost souls. willian has left his legs, but probably his heart and soul too at Stamford bridge; as for auba, he’s been the main victim of mikel’s tinkering with the positions upfront, seeing him struggle like this is painful
    reiss is rusty, he had two very poor touches in the box, he hasn’t played in a longtime, so i hope he won’t be condemned for this, i sure hope he’ll ne kept on the pitch until the final whistle
    why mikel keeps picking soares ahead of calum is something i’ll try not to think too much about; cedric was poor against city in the carabao, he’s poorer still today, what calum shows at colney must really be dreadful
    mari is a very good player, his positioning is excellent, he’s very good on the ball, as well as in the air, and he has this rare quality of being able to defend while (almost) never have to tackle
    i like joe a lot, just hope he’ll take more risks in the 2nd half
    the absence of folarin on the bench makes me very, very sad, but COYG, give us the 15th

  • The game has not sparked into life yet and looks like one that needs a goal. Auba has had a sniff in the first half and another in the second but our main man is yet to get that all important, confidence boosting goal.

    We have a few players who appear to be trying too hard to impress and in the process, over-complicate things. Willian, Willock and Pepe come to mind (at least, from the bits I have seen). Willock has had a chance for a header but he may have made contact on his way down from his jump.
    ESR coming on may change the tempo a bit. Let’s see what he does. A shame we aren’t getting the best from our big players like Auba, Willian and Pepe. Time for the kids, I guess.

    Shame about Martinelli. Poor kid just wants to play….

  • ET
    not much more to say
    just hope no one’ll get injured
    i really thought kavanagh would have the guts not to turn his first decision round …

  • Eris, Pepe had some good moments. Maybe even more than awkward. Willian and Willock were really bad tonight, as was Auba. At least he has 30 minutes to redeem himself, but I wish Arteta replaces him with somebody fresh (Nketiah).
    Tierney was/is great tonight, Mari is having an overall good game, Xhaka has a commanding presence since he came on, and I’m satisfied with Luiz as well. So we are good at the back, and poor in the front – bar Pepe.

  • emil!!! so happy for the lad …
    i agree with pb, that pépé tried really hard, and had some classy moments, but laca boosted the team right away

  • what a goal – granit’s through pass, kieran’s cutback, and … auba’s tap-in, at long last, let’s hope this one took the self-doubt weight off his shoulders once and for good
    wembley here we come
    15 sounds just right to me

  • wow missed both goals lol had to watch it on replay Granit I think has been our best player today while being on the pitch half as long and everything Laca touches turns into gold.

  • Okay. I will hold up my hands and admit I missed chunks of the game; but right after I posted that, I agree Pepe did a lot of good things.

    We needed the second half of extra time to put this to bed, but all’s well that ends well. Happy for ESR; the boy is just hungry and deserves his plaudits. We are through to the next round.

    Good job, guys.

  • Also got to thank Carrol for those misses. I am not too fussed about FA cup this year but did not want an early elimination or a loss with our recent momentum. I am hoping for a great UEFA cup run and would not mind if we went out of FA cup earlier so that we do not have too many fixtures especially in this covid environment. I also do not see Mikel playing many youngsters so in the competition so that also decreases my interest in it.

  • Saka was uncharacteristically poor (besides Willian and Willock), but Xhaka, Laca and the golden trio at the back, Tierney, Mari and Luiz won us the game. Cedric wasn’t bad, he deserves some credit for his defensive contribution (led the pitch with 5 tackles), but he was too quiet offensively.
    My MotM candidates are Tierney, Mari and Xhaka.

    I wonder if Arteta would rest those who played 120 minutes tonight, especially Auba and Tierney, as we have proper, in form players for all other positions.

  • The changes made were effective and brought the team back to life and, yes, Xhaka put his stamp on it soon as he came on. I had hoped we could play Partey but it’s either he hasn’t attained full match readiness or Arteta wants him to put his feet up for this one. Saka and ESR brought energy while Tierney was just a right pest for the Newcastle right back, even when he had re-enforcements.

    Game started without intensity and it says a lot for the potency we had on the bench that things changed when we made the first 3 substitutions in the second half. Newcastle did have their opportunities but praise must go to Leno for some acrobatic saves. Tierney seems to always have a man of the match performance in him, every game now. Any wonder Arteta chooses to play him even in this cup game, albeit against an EPL side. Pity, he can’t get the vociferous adulation of our fans in a filled stadium.

  • I was very happy that Partey was left out I want us to be very careful with him has been injured twice in quick succession and was kind of rushed back for Spurs game. He has hardly played.

  • Well said, Eris. Leno didn’t have many shots to stop, but those were critical, and he did flawlessly. He was reliable playing from the back too. Benrd indeed added value to the team that Rúnarsson might would not have done.

  • Well pb, I agree on your description of Bukayo Saka– until Pepe came off and he was moved to the RW. Similar to how he’s been so good over there these last several matches. The perspective spatially, on the run of play seems to change dramatically for him when Saka is on the right.

    Then of course, Saka did have the pre-assist pass that Lacazette headed into ESR’s path for the winner.


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