Arsenal will look to bounce back from their disappointment at Anfield when they host a winless Newcastle United side at the Emirates.
Mikel Arteta has guided Arsenal from their slump at the start to claim fifth spot on the table. The Gunners stitched together an eight-game unbeaten league run before they were handed a heavy defeat by Liverpool at Anfield last weekend, although that did not affect their standing.
Without European football to contest in midweek, Arteta will have a refreshed squad, adequately recovered from their rigours of last weekend. Arsenal remain close to a top-four spot as they head into the game against Newcastle United three points behind West Ham United.
In hindsight, the loss to Liverpool makes the game against Newcastle very important for Arsenal as Arteta aims to bounce back and get back to winning ways. Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur sit just a point behind the Gunners and could pounce in case of a bad result. In addition, Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion could overtake Arsenal with a win due to their superior goal difference.
Arsenal could find themselves dropping as low as the ninth spot if results elsewhere go against them. However, considering the north Londoners’ form before the Liverpool clash, one can expect Arteta to rally his troops and target all three points against a Newcastle side, who are yet to win a league game this season.
Eddie Howe, who missed his maiden game in charge of Newcastle United last weekend, might feature on the technical area for the first time after testing negative for COVID-19. It is certainly a boost for the Magpies, who showed improvements against Brentford and ended the game with a 3-3 draw.
That result and Norwich’s win over Southampton left them at the very bottom of the Premier League, and another bad run of results could be catastrophic for them in the long run. Newcastle are expected to be busy in the January window, although their league standing might become too problematic to make a comeback into the safety zone.
Howe will be hoping his players show a different side to their game at the Emirates, although their recent record against Arsenal will hardly fill him with any confidence. Ironically this season, Newcastle have scored more than Arsenal in the league, although they have no wins to show for their efforts, while they have lost their last seven games in a row against the Gunners.
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Mikel Arteta will be wary of making too many changes to his side, although the game could allow him to rotate a few players. The idea is to give the team another edge on the field by tweaking his starting eleven, which has looked similar for a few weeks now.
Granit Xhaka and Sead Kolasinac are the only absentees through injury problems, with Arteta having the rest of his squad at his disposal. Kieran Tierney’s return might be the big change for Arsenal, with the Scot likely to replace Nuno Tavares at left-back, who had a difficult game at Anfield against Liverpool.
Similarly, Arteta could choose to give Albert Sambi Lokonga a breather after the Belgian struggled against Liverpool. Ainsley Maitland-Niles could come in place of the Belgian and partner Thomas Partey in central midfield. Meanwhile, Martin Odegaard is pushing for a start in place of Alexandre Lacazette.
While Lacazette has proved his worth in recent weeks, Arteta might be tempted to give him a breather and allow Odegaard to influence the game with his attacking style. Both players give Arsenal different options, with the Norwegian a more creative presence than the Frenchman, who allows Arsenal to have a robust presence upfront.
Apart from that, the side will look similar to the one that started at Anfield. Fringe stars such as Nicolas Pepe have to bide their time in training and the minutes afforded on the pitch from the bench to prove their point and push for a starting berth.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Maitland-Niles; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Aubameyang
Eddie Howe will be back in the dugout after testing negative for COVID-19, which will give the new Newcastle United manager a first-hand view of his side on the pitch. His primary objective would be to avoid defeat against a side who have beaten them plenty of times in the recent past, which could prompt him to field a robust lineup.
However, Fabian Schar will miss out after tweaking his hamstring against Brentford. Howe can use the defender’s absence to either tweak his shape or keep the back three intact by bringing Emil Krafth at the back to replace Schar.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) November 26, 2021
Howe could also consider bringing Martin Dubravka back in goal after Karl Darlow’s disastrous performance against Brentford. Meanwhile, Paul Dummett is a certain absentee, while Dwight Gayle seems to have picked up a hamstring injury in training, and his fitness will be assessed before the game.
Joe Willock will likely be back at Arsenal for the first time since making his permanent move to Newcastle United in the summer. He has lost his scoring touch in recent games and will be desperate to put in a good performance to show his new manager his quality.
Ryan Fraser and Miguel Almiron are expected to be fit and ready to play a crucial role in the final third. However, with their front three improving with each passing game, the duo is unlikely to find a place from the start. Allan Saint-Maximin is expected to be the main man in attack, with Joelington and Callum Wilson expected to form the front three.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Dubravka; Krafth, Lascelles, Clark; Murphy, Willock, Shelvey, Ritchie; Joelington, Wilson, Saint-Maximin
- Arsenal have won 30 and lost two of the last 39 Premier League games facing the team that started the day bottom of the table.
- Arsenal have won their last seven games in a row in all competitions against Newcastle United.
- Arsenal have kept six consecutive clean sheets against Newcastle United in all competitions.
- Newcastle United have failed to score in their last six visits to the Emirates stadium in all competitions.
- Newcastle United are the only winless team in the Premier League this season after 12 rounds.
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Arsenal are expected to sign a striker in one of the two upcoming transfer windows, but they must hope Aubameyang hits peak form once more this season. The Gunners’ captain still has a few years left on his deal, and Mikel Arteta is keen to get the best out of him. Despite the Gabon star making positive changes to his game, he still needs to score goals.
Arsenal have scored just 13 times in 12 Premier League games this season, and Aubameyang has played a decent part in it. But that is not enough for a club like Arsenal, who have to net more than what their current numbers suggests. Aubameyang needs to up his game in front of the net and start producing game-changing moments.
Arsenal 3-1 Newcastle United
Recent history, a winless streak and the heavy pressure to get out of the relegation zone might come to haunt Newcastle United rather than kick them on against Arsenal. The Gunners’ superior quality and a balanced system will give them the edge against the Magpies in this encounter at the Emirates.
The idea of a new manager boosting a side’s confidence might not work all the time, especially when the team faces a side like Arsenal, who are bang on form. Expect Mikel Arteta’s men to bounce back from their disruptive defeat to Liverpool to collect three points against Newcastle and keep their fifth place on the table intact.