Arsenal kickstart their FA Cup campaign on Saturday when they play hosts to Newcastle United at the Emirates. The Gunners are heading into this game on the back of three consecutive wins in the Premier League and are also looking to defend the cup, having beaten Chelsea in the final last season. The Magpies, on the other hand, are hoping for their first win since early December.
Predicted Arsenal Lineup Vs Newcastle United
Mikel Arteta will be tempted to make a few changes to the side that secured a 4-0 win over West Brom last time out. Gabriel Magalhaes, in particular, could be in contention to start, after remaining on the sidelines due to Covid measures. Although he has returned from his quarantine, there are doubts over his fitness heading into this game.
However, we do expect the Brazilian to start in central defence alongside David Luiz this weekend. Arteta could make changes elsewhere as well, with Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin both likely to make way for Cedric Soares and Sead Kolasinac in the fullback positions.
As for Bernd Leno, he should retain his place in goal, ahead of new signing Runar Alex Runarsson, who has had a disappointing start to his Arsenal career since joining from Gijon in the summer.
Thomas Partey is in contention to feature for Arsenal this weekend following yet another injury layoff. It is unlikely that the Ghanaian will be rushed back into the starting eleven, but he is sure to feature as a substitute.
The only change in midfield could thus consist of Mohamed Elneny replacing Granit Xhaka. The Egyptian international could form the double-pivot in Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1 alongside Dani Ceballos.
Moving forward, Arteta does have a lot of options and would naturally want to ring in the changes. Gabriel Martinelli, in particular, is a favourite to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at left-wing while Nicolas Pepe could come in at the expense of Bukayo Saka on the opposite flank.
On the other hand, Emile Smith Rowe is likely to receive a breather as well, having started Arsenal’s last three matches. It should pave the way for Joe Willock to earn a rare starting opportunity, just behind Eddie Nketiah in the number nine role. The youngster should start ahead of Alexandre Lacazette, who remains an option should the Gunners need him in the second half.