Arsenal Team News….
Kolasinac & Ozil – Not playing for “security reasons”
Right ankle. Will continue to be assessed ahead of Sunday’s match at Newcastle.
Nicolas Pepe – Regaining full match fitness following late return from African Cup of Nations. Decision to be made on participation for Sunday.
Hector Bellerin – Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation. Aiming to participate in full training in October.
Kieran Tierney – Groin. Will continue to receive treatment and assessments. Hoping to integrate into full training in 4-6 weeks
Rob Holding – Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation and now participating in full training with the first team.
Dinos Mavropanos – Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessment. Will be out of action for at least 6-8 weeks.
Emile Smith Rowe – Groin. Progressing well in training and aiming to re-join the first team squad in 1-2 weeks.
Mohamed Elneny – Regaining full match fitness following late return from African Cup of Nations. Decision to be made on participation for Sunday.
Courtesy of Arsenal.com
Finally, it is match day and nothing short of three points will be enough for Arsenal, especially after the wins by Liverpool, Man City and Tottenham.
It is difficult to know exactly what sort of team Unai Emery will put out with so many injuries, Ozil and Kolasinac security issues and questions about Lacazette and will he be passed fit.
I am still not convinced that our record signing Pepe will start due to lack of pre-season minutes but regardless, I am very confident that Arsenal will be too strong for Steve Bruce’s men.
The biggest issue for me is the defence, will Luiz hit the ground running? Will we see the same flaws as last season? Will we be just as bad on the road as we have been for quite a while now?
All that said, it has to be acknowledged that Newcastle is a very limited side, they have their own turmoil to deal with and the reality is that if we are serious about finishing top-four then we must be beating teams like Newcastle in their own back yard.
I get the feeling that Emery is looking to adopt a high pressing game, a bit like how Man City play, that is why there was such a focus on bringing in a new winger and attacking midfielder.
This, of course, comes with risk but possession and dominance works fine for City and it should work fine for Arsenal, they have the quality players now to be able to pull off this way of playing.
The strikers have to be clinical in front of the goal, that is what separates Man City and Liverpool apart, Arsenal forwards cannot waste their chances.
So, that is what I fully expect to see today, a high pressing game with relentless pressure, both when Arsenal have the ball and when they do not.
Newcastle is there for the taking but only if Arsenal get their strategy and game plan right and I am confident they will.
Newcastle 1-3 Arsenal.
ARSENAL’S TOP FIVE GOALS AGAINST NEWCASTLE