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Preview: Arsenal v Newcastle, Team News, Line-Up & Prediction
Arsenal play their first game of 2016 when we host Newcastle United at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon.
We start the New Year sitting top of the Premier League after beating Bournemouth 2-0 on Monday night so we’re in a great position to really push for the title during the second half of the campaign.
Our away form is going to be crucial as we play many of the ‘big’ teams away from home but it’s equally important to win our matches at the Emirates and we can’t afford any slips ups against Newcastle.
The Geordies have lost their last two games and sit in the bottom three of the division so there can be no excuses for not picking up all three points tomorrow.
Flamini is set to return from a minor knock and should replace Chambers in midfield but otherwise it will be the same squad that faced Bournemouth.
Sanchez is expected to return to the squad next week but he’ll once again miss out this weekend due to a hamstring injury.
Wilshere is still a month away from making his comeback so remains on the sidelines along with Rosicky, Cazorla, Welbeck and Coquelin.
As for Newcastle, they have injury problems of their own with Vurnon Anita, Tim Krul, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor, Massadio Haidara, Gabriel Obertan and Papiss Cisse all on the sidelines.
Goalkeeper Rob Elliot is a doubt due to a stomach bug.
Gabriel deserves to keep his place after an excellent display against Bournemouth so I’d partner him alongside Koscielny tomorrow.
Monreal and Flamini should return to the side but I’d stick with Oxlade-Chamberlain in attack ahead of Campbell. Otherwise the team pretty-much picks itself.
Newcastle at home is the type of fixture we have to win if we want to win the title. They are capable of turning up and producing a performance against the bigger teams, so we shouldn’t take them lightly just because they’re in the bottom three, but I’m backing the boys to do the business tomorrow and cement our position at the top of the table.
Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle