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Newcastle v Arsenal preview | Injury problems for Emery, Nelson to start + prediction

By on August 11, 2019

Arsenal begin the new season away from home as we head to the north east to take on Newcastle United this afternoon.

Unai Emery failed to get us back into the Champions League during his first season in charge after we blew a golden opportunity to finish in the top four and were thrashed 4-1 by Chelsea in the Europa League final.

However, it’s been an excellent summer in the transfer window from Arsenal as we’ve brought in some top quality players with Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney all arriving in recent weeks.

Emery has been backed by his bosses so he doesn’t have any excuse not to get us back into the top four, as least, this season but we face a tricky start against Newcastle at St James’ Park this afternoon.

They have a new manager who’ll be desperate to win over the supporters after Steve Bruce was controversially appointed as Rafa Benitez’s replacement last month and I’m expecting a tough game today.

Team news

It doesn’t help that we’re already having to deal with a mounting injury list as Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding, Emile Smith Rowe and Dinos Mavropanos are all on the sidelines.

Alexandre Lacazette will face a late fitness test on an ankle knock while Nicolas Pepe will also be assessed as he’s only had a few days training having arrived late following his exploits at the AFCON this summer.

To make matters worse, Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac have been left out of the squad following fresh security incidents last week so Emery has plenty of issues to deal with today.

As for Newcastle, they’ll be without Andy Carroll, DeAndre Yedlin, Florian Lejeune and Jack Colback while Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie will face late fitness tests.

Preferred line-up

I hope we see Emery go with a back four and I’d hand David Luiz his debut alongside Sokratis. It’s going to be interesting to see how the boss lines-up in midfield and attack but today I’d like to see a midfield three of Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos and Joe Willock. Lucas Torreira isn’t fully match fit yet and Willock deserves to start ahead of Matteo Guendouzi.

I don’t think it’s wise to throw a half-fit Pepe straight into action away from home so I’d have him on the bench. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is being tipped to start on the right but I hope Emery gives Reiss Nelson a chance on the wing.

football formations

Prediction

It’s a new season so it’s time to put our woeful away form behind us and start afresh. We simply have to improve our performances on the road if we’re to finish in the top four and that starts today. Thankfully, we have an excellent record against Newcastle as we’ve won 12 of our last 13 meetings but I do expect this to be a tough test.

Newcastle have the potential to be a dangerous side at home and Bruce will be desperate to get off to a positive start. Our defence is obviously still a concern as we’re without 3 key defenders today but I think we’ve got enough firepower to snatch all three points. It will be close, but I’m backing Arsenal to edge it.

Newcastle 1-2 Arsenal

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