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Arsenal at Newcastle United match thread: heavyweights

A stern test for the Gunners.

Newcastle United v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Arsenal travel to Newcastle for the marquee matchup of Matchday 11. Stand aside Tottenham and Chelsea, the game of the weekend moniker is reserved for fixtures between two good teams. Today’s contest is the second big test of Mikel Arteta’s revamped Arsenal setup that has sacrificed a fair bit of attacking flair for increased control in matches. It passed the first test — home to Manchester City. Newcastle away will perhaps be an even bigger challenge.

The Gunners have a chance to put some distance between themselves and the Toon in the table — an Arsenal win would take them 10 points ahead of Newcastle. And with Eddie Howe’s side being roughly on par with Mikel Arteta’s according to advanced metrics, that much of a difference in the standings would be an excellent position at this stage of the season.

On the flip side, Newcastle are as good as Arsenal, despite the sides coming into the match separated by 7 points. They’ll be aware of the dangers of falling 10+ points adrift of the top and starting to lose touch with the cluster of teams ahead of them. Arsenal are going to get Newcastle’s absolute best at St. James’ Park.

It’s a daunting task ahead of the Gunners. St. James’ is a difficult place to play, and it’s going to be rocking. Last May, Arsenal traveled to Newcastle and handled them, posting a convincing 2-0 victory. The advanced stats say the match was more even than the scoreline suggests, but to my eye, Mikel Arteta’s side faced up to a Newcastle team intent on bullying them off the pitch, stood toe-to-toe with them, and controlled the match. It was a commanding, impressive performance.

Then again the season before, a banged up Arsenal side went into St. James’ with everything to play for and a top four finish more or less on the line and got themselves played off the pitch. At the time, it felt like a statement match. Newcastle announced themselves as a Premier League heavyweight and Arsenal seemed to be moving in the wrong direction.

Both Newcastle and Arsenal are feeling the effects of Champions League football. Key players will be missing from both sides for today’s match. Eddie Howe will be without Alexander Isak, Matt Targett, Jacob Murphy, and Harvey Barnes. Both Fabian Schar and Sven Botman’s status is up in the air. Sandro Tonali, who Newcastle bought for €70M in the summer, is suspended until next August for gambling on football, including betting on A.C. Milan matches while playing for the club.

Mikel Arteta will not have Thomas Partey and Gabriel Jesus for another few weeks as they recover from muscle injuries. Emile Smith Rowe will be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks after picking up a knee injury in training. Martin Ødegaard, who has been dealing with a hip problem but made a brief substitute appearance against West Ham midweek, should be available for selection.

UPDATE: Martin Ødegaard is not in the Arsenal side today.

Arsenal - Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu, Rice, Jorginho, Havertz, Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah

Newcastle - Pope, Trippier, Lascelles, Schar, Burn, Bruno G., Longstaff, Joelinton, Almiron, Gordon, Wilson

WHAT: Arsenal at Newcastle United
WHERE: St. James’ Park
WHEN: Saturday, November 4th 10:30 am PT | 1:30 pm ET | 6:30 pm BT
US TV: NBC and Universo. Streaming on Peacock.

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