Another Sunday afternoon, another league game; this time, away at St. James’ Park against a dogged Newcastle team still hungry for survival points.
After an impressive yet tough comeback in Moscow late Thursday night, the Gunners will be looking for another confidence boosting victory to keep momentum flowing.
Benitez has his Newcastle team well drilled these days, and although they are not yet mathematically safe, survival does look likely with at least four or five worse off teams. Building from Jonjo Shelvey in centre midfield, feeding through Kenedy and Ritchie in the wide areas, the Magpies are a dangerous team on the counter attack. Dwight Gayle is lightning quick so his pace will certainly be cause for concern for the Arsenal boys.
However, focus and concentration will see us take three points back down the A1 to London. Although a well organised team, Newcastle’s confidence, especially once behind, can be brittle. Get a goal or two ahead and its ours for the taking. The usual Arsenal football is perfect for this game; pass, pass, pass. At home, Newcastle fans will pile the pressure on their team. Arsenal’s possession football will only increase the pressure.
Expect Aubameyang to return to the XI and continue his red hot form. After missing the Moscow trip due to illness, Granit Xhaka may also return to the squad whilst Jack Wilshere may be given a rest, after picking up a knock in Russia. Wenger may also opt to rotate Laurent Koscielny again as he continues to manage an achillies problem. Welbeck and Elneny deserve to keep their places after impressive performances in mid week so I expect to see both starting today.
Prediction: 3-1 win, with Aubameyang and Lacazette scoring the goals.