Arsenal face Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday, after a two-week break from competitive action.

Pablo Mari with Mikel Arteta (Photo via Twitter / Arsenal)
Pablo Mari with Mikel Arteta (Photo via Twitter / Arsenal)

Newcastle United will travel to the Emirates Stadium this weekend, to face Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. The two teams are, unfortunately, level on points in the bottom half of the table right now.

Arsenal last played against Burnley, in a disappointing 0-0 draw away from home. They had a few days of holiday after that, before a short training camp in Dubai. Now, they’re back and hopefully ready to turn recent draws into wins.

Let’s have a look at the team news and our predicted Arsenal lineup for the Newcastle clash.

Goalkeeper

Bernd Leno after the game between Arsenal and Sheffield United (Photo via 90Min)
Bernd Leno after the game between Arsenal and Sheffield United (Photo via 90Min)

No surprises here, as Bernd Leno will start ahead of Emi Martinez. Matt Macey will join the squad as the extra man.

Defence

Arsenal's German-born Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac reacts at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park in south London on January 11, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP / Getty Images)
Arsenal’s German-born Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac reacts at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park in south London on January 11, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP / Getty Images)

It’s bad news for anyone hoping to see a defensive debutant on Sunday. Pablo Mari is aiming to be fully match-sharp against Olympiacos, whilst Cedric Soares will return at the end of the month.

On the other hand, Bukayo Saka and Sead Kolasinac are both available. Kolasinac will probably start, as the more experienced option of the two. Hector Bellerin will start at right-back.

David Luiz will start in central defence, and it’s not impossible Shkodran Mustafi lines up alongside him. On recent form, the German is actually pushing himself back into contention over Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Midfield

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 06: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal controls the ball during the FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal FC and Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on January 06, 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 06: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal controls the ball during the FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal FC and Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on January 06, 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Dani Ceballos is available again, and Joe Willock is in good form. Plus, Matteo Guendouzi started the last game against Burnley.

All the same, Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira remain Arsenal’s strongest sitting-midfield pairing. Particularly while we wait for Pablo Mari as a left-footed defender. Given it’s a home game, you’d expect Mesut Özil to retain his place in the side too.

Forwards

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 06: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal makes a break past Robbie Gotts of Leeds United during the FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal FC and Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on January 06, 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 06: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal makes a break past Robbie Gotts of Leeds United during the FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal FC and Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on January 06, 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Reiss Nelson is back to make the selection process even more complicated in forward areas.

Mikel Arteta seems totally unwilling to drop Alexandre Lacazette, and there’s no way Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should be on the bench, which makes the first two picks pretty easy. As for the third spot, it could go a number of ways.

Gabriel Martinelli could play on the right again, but he didn’t do half as well there against Burnley as when he plays on the left or up front. Nelson could immediately return to the starting lineup on the right, but this seems unlikely.

Nicolas Pepe should start over the two youngsters. Arsenal missed him against Burnley, and Arteta’s failure to bring him on in that game got the supporters about as critical as they’ve been of the new boss so far. He needs to come back in.

Predicted Lineup

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BuildLineup.com
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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.