Firstly and foremostly, happy new year to everyone. 2015 was a great year for the Short Fuse, and we couldn't have done what we did without all of you coming along for the ride. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and thanks for being a part of the most awesome Arsenal community on this or any other internet.
Now, back to business. For us and for Arsenal. After a luxurious four day break, the holiday period insanity concludes today with a match against 18th placed Newcastle, who sit in the relegation zone on 17 points. They arrive at the Emirates on the back of a pretty bad run - one point in their last three games, and two losses in a row - and will obviously be looking to improve on that form tomorrow.
Problem is, they've got no one to help - their injury list is Arsenal-esque in its comical length, and while we may bemoan the status of Arsenal's youth and reserves, they're almost guaranteed to be better than Newcastle's. Newcastle are down to their third string keeper, as Tim Krul is out with a knee problem and backup Rob Eliot has a stomach bug.
In addition to that, Newcastle are missing Vurnon Anita, Papiss Cisse, Gabriel Obertan, and several others, which could make for a long afternoon for them.
For Arsenal, meanwhile, Alexis is still out, probably to return in the Cup next weekend, but Mathieu Flamini may be able to play, so...yay? No other new injuries, and with the Cup coming up, I'd be willing to bet that we see a fairly unchanged side this weekend and a slightly more changed one next. So maybe Chambers gets the start today and Flam gets the Cup.
The league is there for the taking in 2016, so let's maybe make today the first step in taking it, eh?
Arsenal vs. Newcastle
English Premier League
Emirates Stadium, London
Saturday, January 2, 2016
7AM PT/10AM ET/3PM BT
HOW (to watch):
US broadcast: NBCSN/NBC Universo
Worldwide info: livesoccer.tv