Happy new Year to all Gooners around the world! Looking forward to this game are we?
Arsenal kick start their new year with a home game against The Magpies. After a comfortable victory over AFC Bournemouth, Arsenal will play at home against Newcastle United, a team which has found itself being constantly vacuumed into the relegation zone this season. While Steve Mclaren’s side have found glimmers of hope across a number of fixtures, they have not been blessed with luck in their last 3 games.
They now linger in the relegation zone having picked up 17 points from 19 games. Arsenal, who are currently at the top of the table with 39 points from the same number of games are being touted favourites for this fixture, provided their current home form and Newcastle’s poor run of games.
For the home side, Alexis Sanchez is now on the verge of returning to the starting 11 but may not feature in this game. Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck, Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky remain on the sidelines. While most players mentioned above are at least a month away from a possible return, veteran Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky could be the earliest of the first team players to return.
Mikel Arteta has returned to training. Whether he makes the squad for this one will only be known later today. Otherwise, Arsenal go into this fixture with possibly the same squad that played against Bournemouth.
The injury list for visitors Newcastle seems substantial as well. Regular first team starter Vernon Anita is out for this one with a hamstring injury while Rolando Aarons and Emmanuel Riviere are expected to be back next week. Goalkeeper Rob Elliot is apparently struggling to stay fit for this game while long-term absentees Papiss Cisse and Gabriel Obertan remain on the sidelines.
Match facts and Stats: Arsenal have won in their last 8 meetings with the Magpies. Newcastle have won only 3 times in their last 18 meetings with Arsenal. 18 goals have been scored in the last 3 meetings between the two sides. Newcastle United did not have a single shot on target in their last meeting with the club.
Expected Line ups:
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, Campbell, Giroud
Subs: Ospina, Debuchy, Gabriel, Chambers, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide, Arteta
Injured: Sanchez, Cazorla, Coquelin, Rosicky, Welbeck, Wilshere(doubtful: Arteta)
Newcastle United: Elliot, Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Dummet, Colback, Tiote, Perez, Wijnaldum, Sissoko
Subs: Darlow, Mbabu, Sterry, De Jong, Thauvin, Gouffran, Lascelles, Tony
Injured: Cisse, Aarons, Riviere, Taylor, Haidara, Williamson, Anita(Doubtful: Elliot)