Preview Newcastle v Arsenal | Gunners fitness boost, Leno to start please + prediction

By on September 15, 2018


Premier League football is back after the interlull and Arsenal travel to St James’ Park to take on Newcastle United this afternoon.

The international break probably came at a bad time for Arsenal as we had just started to put a few results together following our disappointing defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea during our opening two games.

We came from behind to beat West Ham 3-1 at the Emirates at the end of August before winning a five-goal thriller at Cardiff City two weeks ago to leave us sitting 9th in the table on six points.

Unia Emery is starting to get his ideas across to the players and we look dangerous going forward but familiar issues at the back continue to undermine our potential so let’s hope for a solid display this afternoon.

Newcastle have endured a nightmare start as they’ve taken just one point from their four games so far but their three defeats have come against Tottenham, Chelsea and Man City so we should probably give Rafa Benitez some slack.

Team News

Arsenal have no fresh injury worries to contend with following the international break and Alex Iwobi will return to the squad after recovering from illness that kept him out of the Cardiff game.

Laurent Koscielny has stepped up his rehabilitation from an Achilles injury in recent weeks but he won’t be back until November while Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are aiming to return next month.

As for Newcastle, they’ve been boosted by the return to fitness of Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie but Salomon Rondon and DeAndre Yedlin face late tests after returning late from international duty.

Preferred line-up

Once again, Petr Cech looked extremely uncomfortable playing out from the back against Cardiff and I think it’s about time Emery gave Bernd Leno his chance in goal. The back four pretty much picks itself but I’d make some changes in midfield as I still don’t think it’s working.

Matteo Guendouzi has certainly impressed but he’s still young and needs time to develop his game and while Granit Xhaka is important to our build-up play, he’s a total liability when we don’t have the ball.

Personally, I’d love to see Lucas Torreira make his full debut with Aaron Ramsey dropping back in to a deeper midfield role as I think that partnership has a lot of potential. It would also allow Mesut Ozil to return to the no.10 role.

This would be my line-up:

In reality, I think Emery will stick with Cech in goal while no doubt Xhaka will keep his place in midfield. We may even see Miki on the bench again with Ramsey in the 10 and Ozil out wide with Guendouzi keeping his place.

Newcastle should line-up: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Shelvey, Diame, Perez, Ritchie, Kenedy, Rondon.

Score prediction

The first game back after the international break is usually tough but Arsenal were fortunate that plenty of first team regulars weren’t away with their countries over the past two weeks so we won’t have any excuses today. We also have an excellent record against Newcastle having lost just one of our last 11 meetings – which came in this fixture last season and I fancy our chances this afternoon. As long as we cut out the stupid mistakes at the back, I predict a 2-0 win. Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal