Arsenal host Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium this weekend, with the tie kicking off the match week’s fixtures on Saturday. After a gruelling result in their previous outing, both teams will be aiming to secure a positive result as they prepare for an unforgiving fixture schedule over the next few weeks.
The Gunners’ resounding 10-game unbeaten streak came to a halt last weekend as Mikel Arteta’s squad were dealt a pounding 0-4 defeat at the hands of Liverpool. Their loss to the Reds meant that the North-London outfit failed to launch themselves into the top-four, however, they remain in fifth-place – three points behind West Ham – heading into the weekend. Having displayed resurgent performances following their dismal start to the campaign, Arsenal will be keen on returning to winnings ways as they host an intriguing Newcastle United on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Eddie Howe’s reign at Newcastle United began with a few refreshing moments as the Magpies secured only their sixth point of the season – drawing to Brentford – last weekend. Yet to secure their first victory of the campaign, a boisterous start saw Newcastle score and concede two goals against the Bees, however, the hosts eventually failed to secure three points, furthering their fears of relegation by the end of the campaign. Currently bottom of the table, the Magpies will be keen on extracting a positive result when they travel to the Emirates on Saturday.
WHEN & WHERE?
Venue: The Emirates Stadium.
Date: Saturday, 27th of November 2021.
Time: Kick-off at 12:30 BST.
Referee: Stuart Attwell.
Assistants: Dan Cook, Harry Lennard.
Fourth official: Graham Scott.
VAR: Darren England.
Assistant VAR: Mark Scholes.
Kieran Tierney is expected to replace Nuno Tavares at left-back after the latter’s nervy performance against Liverpool last weekend. Sead Kolasinac continues recuperating from an ankle injury while Arteta provided positive news vis-à-vis Granit Xhaka, expecting the midfielder to return to action before the turn of the year.
Despite the underwhelming result at Anfield, Arteta is likely to make seismic changes to his starting line-up on Saturday. Albert Sambi-Lokonga is, once again, expected to be included in the starting XI with both, Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka providing the width against Newcastle this weekend.
After a positive Covid-19 result prevented Eddie Howe from managing from the dugout for his first game in charge of Newcastle, the 43-year-old will be hoping to grace the touchline on Saturday. Besides, Emile Krafth is likely to be slotted in at centre-back after Fabian Schar suffered a hamstring injury against Brentford. Paul Dummett is the only other player certain to miss out on the trip to North London.
Howe is likely to stick with a back three against Arsenal, with Martin Dubravka in contention to start between sticks on Saturday. Having witnessed a decline in his goal-scoring ability, Joe Willock is expected to start against his former side, with both Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin providing the striking force upfront.
Heading into the fixture on the back of unexpected results, both managers will be aiming to display a comprehensive performance on Saturday. While the visitors will be keen on extracting, at least, a draw against Arsenal, the Gunners are likely to cruise towards a victory against the Magpies.
The hosts’ in-form attackers combined with their solid midfield structure are likely to cause problems for the visitors, who continue struggling to keep clean sheets whilst failing to dominate games throughout the ninety minutes. Although Newcastle’s attacking force will expectedly cause problems for the home side, Arsenal remains favourites for the win given their recent progress under Arteta’s management.
The hosts’ technical style of play could cause insurmountable problems for the Magpies, however, their defensive structure could prove to be vulnerable provided they fail to contain Newcastle’s creative forces upfront.
Kieran Tierney – Arsenal
Following a disappointing performance by Tavares against Liverpool last weekend, Tierney will be a welcome replacement at left-back. The Scotsman’s infectious energy combined with this attacking prowess will be vital to Arteta’s approach, while his defensive attributes will strengthen Arsenal’s defensive structure on Saturday.
Moreover, given the team’s overreliance on Aaron Ramsdale’s heroics in recent outings, Tierney provides the coveted balance between attack and defence whilst adopting a disciplined role at left-back. Tierney’s performance will be pivotal if the hosts are to contain Saint-Maximin’s trickery while hoping to keep a clean sheet this weekend.
Allan Saint-Maximin – Newcastle United
The team’s most captivating attacker, Saint-Maximin’s overall performance will be vital if the visitors are to secure a positive result against Arsenal. Having registered significant goal contributions throughout the campaign, the Frenchman’s skill set combined with his ability to drag defenders out of position will be pivotal to Howe’s game-plan on Saturday.
Following a resonating performance against Brentford, Saint-Maximin will be keen on carrying over his excellent run of form against Arsenal. Provided the visitors spoil the party, Saint-Maximin is likely to be involved in securing a comprehensive result at the Emirates.
Arsenal (4-4-2) – Aaron Ramsdale; Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Kieran Tierney; Bukayo Saka, Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi-Lokonga, Emile Smith-Rowe; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette.
Newcastle United (3-4-3) – Martin Dubravka; Emile Krafth, Jamaal Lascelles, Kieran Clark; Jacob Murphy, Joe Willock, Isaac Hayden; Allan Saint-Maximin, Callum Wilson, Joelinton.