After a reality check, Arsenal will be eager to move on and kick off the weekend as they host Newcastle. There are plenty of storylines — Joe Willock’s return, Arsenal needing a response, Newcastle’s new owners, Eddie Howe’s first match in charge, etc. Perhaps the most important is how Arsenal manages the match against a team in 20th place while at home. Three points are expected.
By now you’ve probably heard this — Arsenal has a great record against Newcastle. Seven wins in a row. 17 wins from the last 18 matches in this series across all competitions. Arsenal has only lost to Newcastle at home once since 2002. Some will see those stats positively and others will worry it’s all set up for Newcastle to pull off the upset. Saturday we find out how resilient this new Arsenal squad is to set back.
- Bernd Leno
- Nuno Tavares
- Rob Holding
- Calum Chambers
- Mohamed Elneny
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles
- Gabriel Martinelli
- Alexandre Lacazette
- Left Out: Eddie Nketiah, Pablo Mari, Cedric, Folarin Balogun & Arthur Okonkwo.
- Out: Granit Xhaka (knee) & Sead Kolasinac (left ankle).
- Back at home and after facing Liverpool’s pressure and dominance last weekend, Mikel Arteta will look to control the match against Newcastle and expect an improvement from his attack. Reverting back to the 4-2-3-1, Lacazette makes way for Martin Odegaard in behind Aubameyang while Saka and Smith Rowe can remain farther forward. Arsenal needs to take out their frustration from the last match on Newcastle’s backline in the opening half-hour to secure an early lead.
- Odegaard has solid passing completion and forward ball movement stats, but he needs a big match for Arsenal. He started his season off with a goal, an assist, and a series of starts, but has since fallen back to a second-half sub for 20-30 minutes. He will be facing off against a former, and beloved, Arsenal attacking midfielder Joe Willock. A strong showing is needed to remind everyone what Odegaard’s potential and ceiling look like and why the club opted to sign him this summer rather than moving forward with the academy product.
- Mikel Arteta seems to prefer sticking with players after strong performances and is ready to utilize setbacks and breaks to adjust (motivate) the starting XI. We saw it most notable with Aaron Ramsdale, but both Sambi and Tavares were given big opportunities and quickly stepped up to the level. After the 4-0 loss to Liverpool, it’s the perfect moment to bring Kieran Tierney back into the starting lineup.
- Similarly, with Granit Xhaka still about a month away from his return, will Sambi get another chance in the midfield alongside Partey? After solid matches in the wins over Leicester City and Watford, he looked out of his depth at times against Liverpool. This might be a bit harsh because a majority of the squad struggled last weekend. But will that have opened the door for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to start against Newcastle?
- Even with last weekend, most would still agree that Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka remain two of (if not the) most dynamic attackers Arsenal has. However, after putting just one past Watford and managing just three shots on target against Liverpool, is it time for Mikel Arteta to experiment with the attack? Can you bring in Pepe or Martinelli for either of them? Or will either Saka or ESR move to the center and keep Odegaard on the bench? It is a match where you feel Arteta could try a new starting attack before the Gunners get to the upcoming Manchester United and Everton matches.
How to watch
Saturday (11/27) at 7:30 am ET / 4:30 am PT on NBCSN.
Arsenal - 2
Newcastle - 0
Arsenal switch from a low expectation situation traveling to Liverpool to an increase in pressure and expectation - at home, against the club bottom of the table, and needing a response. The fans and players should be eager for kick-off, hopefully, their performance and intensity are there from the start and remain throughout the 90. Three points keep the Gunners in the chase for the UEFA Champions League.