Arsene Wenger is expected to keep his side’s winning run in the Premier League going, but will likely make changes to keep his top players fresh for the Europa League action.
Last week against Southampton Arsene Wenger handed a full Premier League debut for Reiss Nelson, and the youngster came out with a decent performance. Is he likely to give more chances to youngsters when his team plays Newcastle? Likely! But there is a likelihood the manager will field his strongest lineup against the Magpies as he eyes a fine finish to a dismal season.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is Arsenal’s high profile casualty, as he still recovers from the ligament damage he sustained a while ago. While the Armenian is definitely out of the game, there are also doubts on Granit Xhaka who missed Arsenal’s quarterfinal clash against CSKA Moscow away last week. The Swiss international was down with illness and its still not clear on his participation against Newcastle.
David Ospina is another likely absentee, as he has missed few matches already having sustained a training ground injury before the CSKA clash at the Emirates a fortnight ago.
Petr Cech will be a likely starter, as he has been the preferred choice between the sticks for Wenger this season. Ospina’s injury does not have an impact in this game for the Czech. Matt Macey will be on the bench as his deputy for this game too. Cech will be looking to build on his 200th clean sheet, which he achieved a few weeks ago, but it already seems like a while since he did it.
In defence, Wenger has a full set of players available. It wil be worth seeing, if he opts to rest one of his starters in either Mustafi, Koscielny or Monreal for the Newcastle game. If that happens, he has Chambers, Holding or Kolasinac to take up those positions. As with Bellerin’s position, he could yet rest the Spainard and give Ainsley Maitland-Niles some more game time.
Aaron Ramsey sustained a cut in the CSKA clash and could be rested as a precaution, although the Welshman has been in a rich vein of goalscoring form. The big news for Arsenal would be the availability of Mohamed Elneny after the FA overturned his red card from the last game. He could partner Xhaka or Wilshere, but if the Swiss is available, Wenger is likely to field him in place of the out-of-sorts Wilshere.
Wenger was delighted on FA’s decision on Elneny, and said “I’m very happy [about the red card decision] because I think it was a wise decision and he will be available for Newcastle,”
In attack, Mesut Ozil is sure to play a central role, and so will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who will look to continue on his goalscoring start to life at Arsenal. Wenger is yet to make a decision on the inclusion of Alex Iwobi who has seen game time difficult to come in recent weeks, owing to the form of Danny Welbeck, who could start on the left side of attack in place of the Nigerian.
Wenger is still not convinced of a Lacazette-Aubameyang partnership, but could start the Frenchman as the striker and shift Aubameyang on the left side of attack. If he chooses not to do this, he will certainly start Iwobi on the right to compliment Bellerin as well as Ozil.