Emirates Stadium will host its second Premier League game of the campaign when Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle make the long trip down South. This season Arsenal.com will be identifying the key battles for the game. We will bring you all the statistics and information a fan could need so swot up now and come Saturday you'll be impressing anyone who'll listen with your new-found knowledge.
Cesc Fabregas v Nicky Butt
After shaking off his hamstring injury, the Spaniard is once again in contention for a starting place after completing 66 minutes of Wednesday’s Twente game. But the European Championship winner won’t face many tougher opponents this year than Nicky Butt. The 33-year-old was part of Manchester United Treble-winning class of ‘99 and made no less than 80 tackles last term, almost twice that of Fabregas. Although Butt doesn’t possess the box-to-box attributes of his midfield counterpart, his experience and determination has proved invaluable for Newcastle since his move in 2004. Cesc, 12 years Butt’s junior, is the more potent attacking threat, boasting 20 assists to Butt’s one. Not known for his goalscoring ability, the Mancunian managed three last term, while Fabregas impressed with seven from his midfield berth. The two, who notched up 67 appearances between them last term, are sure to provide an interesting contrast in the middle of the park on Saturday.
|Cesc Fabregas||Nicky Butt|
Kolo Toure v Michael Owen
Michael Owen is back. The former Real Madrid hit-man has returned from injury with a bang, hitting two winners in his last two games, against Bolton and Coventry respectively. The man assigned the task of stopping the 28-year-old is Kolo Toure. The Ivorian, rested against Twente, will be doing all he can to keep Owen at bay. Toure, who managed 30 appearances for the Gunners last term, was successful in 63 per cent of his tackles. The quick centre-half is equally adept at ball-playing. From the 208 passes he made, 130 were successful, including two assists. Owen only managed one solitary assist but finished the year with nine goals - an encouraging return from a season blighted by injury. Toure’s aerial prowess is useful in both boxes and Owen will have to be at his best if he is to evade the Ivorian’s grip
|Kolo Toure||Michael Owen|
Manuel Almunia v Shay Given
Shay Given is arguably one of the finest goalkeepers in the Premiership. Since his debut in 1997, the Irishman has built a reputation based on agility, positioning and judgement. He remains Newcastle’s most capped international player and sits sixth in United’s all-time appearance list, racking up over 400 games for the Magpies. Injury restricted Given’s appearances last year and the man from County Lifford only managed 1,630 minutes of competitive football, almost 1,000 less than his opposite number Manuel Almunia. Despite playing less than the Spaniard, Given still conceded 37 goals, 13 more than Almunia. It was an arduous task between the sticks for Given; Newcastle’s campaign included a run of just one win in 16 games. Almunia, who found himself preferred to Jens Lehmann for much of last season, has firmly established himself as first choice this term since the departure of the German in the summer. The Spaniard recorded 11 clean sheets to Given’s two last year and he will hope to add to that tally on Saturday.
|Manuel Almunia||Shay Given|
*Please note these statistics are from the Premier League season 2007/08Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 28 Aug 2008