With the Europa League semi-final second leg looming, let’s take a look at our Arsenal predicted lineup in the Premier League against Newcastle United.
Despite defeat to Villarreal in Spain on Thursday, Arsenal did manage to secure an away goal to keep their hopes of a second-leg turnaround alive.
With that in mind, Mikel Arteta will probably rotate pretty heavily and wrap next Thursday’s starting lineup in cotton wool. The squad is big enough to bring in the backup brigade, with only a few of the Europa League starters expected to keep their place.
There’s also just not much to play for in the Premier League. Arsenal are still trying to finish as high as possible, of course, but the European places all seem to be gone already. Here’s our Arsenal predicted lineup to face Newcastle United.
Bernd Leno went some way to redeeming himself with a great save at 2-0 down to Villarreal, despite his recent lapses in goal. He’ll probably get another start, though it also wouldn’t be hugely surprising to see Mat Ryan come in.
This is where the changes will likely start for Arteta. Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari could do with a rest, and Granit Xhaka might be needed in midfield as I’ll explain later. Hector Bellerin, Gabriel Magalhaes and Cedric Soares can come in to replace them.
Normally you’d expect Rob Holding to rotate out for David Luiz as well, but Arteta will probably want to do everything he can to have Luiz available for the Villarreal game. So I’m predicting a start for Holding here followed by a rest the following match.
It’s not going to be a popular decision, but it feels pretty likely that Dani Ceballos gets a start. He’s suspended for the second leg against Villarreal, so it makes sense to rest someone who can start in that match.
Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny could both start in midfield alongside Ceballos. That’ll allow Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe to rest up, as well as Thomas Partey. Xhaka never seems to need a rest, so if one of them has to start he’s the most likely.
This is where the advantage of an oversized squad comes in, as Arteta can leave them all out and still have too many players to fit in his front three. There’s Eddie Nketiah, Folarin Balogun, Gabriel Martinelli, Willian, and Reiss Nelson on top of the above four.
My guess is that Martinelli, Nketiah, and Willian will get the nod. Nelson and Balogun don’t have any Premier League minutes between them since November (Balogun doesn’t have any at all).