The Premier League returns to the Emirates Stadium on Monday, as Arsenal face Newcastle United in their quest for Champions League qualification.
The Gunners may not have any big six matches remaining in the final eight games of the campaign, but that doesn’t stop all of them being crucial games if Unai Emery wants to finish in the top four. Just a few points separate third and sixth, so failing to take all three points from this kind of clash could be fatal.
After a number of injury concerns over the international break, pretty much everyone appears to have recovered in time for this match. However, Lucas Torreira will be missing through suspension and if Sokratis Papastathopoulos starts, he’ll have to avoid a yellow card or face a two-game ban.
Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup for the clash.
Goalkeeper and Defence
The international break came at just the wrong time for Bernd Leno, as he was in great form before it. The only two goals he’d conceded in four Premier League matches were a Spurs penalty and a two-on-one against Bournemouth after a defensive error. He should start over Petr Cech, who continues to take the Europa League games.
Arsenal will likely stick with three centre-backs and two wing-backs for this match, as the system has been working well for them.
With Nacho Monreal passed fit, he should start at the back alongside Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, with Shkodran Mustafi dropping to the bench. Though it’s possible any one of the four could be rested ahead of a busy April. Particularly Sokratis, given the danger of a two-match ban for Everton and Watford away if he’s booked.
In the wing-back positions, Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles should both keep their places, given their strong form.