🏆 Arsenal (A) Predicted line-ups, pre-match thoughts & team news

The FA Cup is back for another season – but there’ll be no Rochdale or Oxford in the opening round for us this time around as we travel to The Emirates to take on an in-form Arsenal side.

It wasn’t long ago we’d won back to back games and were a win at Elland Road away from edging into the top 10 – all while Arsenal were sliding towards the bottom three after yet another defeat.

A few weeks on and our points gained and performance levels have gone in the opposite directions, with us without a win in six, dumped out of the League Cup by Championship opposition and scoring just once from open play in our last five.

As for Arsenal, Mike Arteta – a man who was linked with the NUFC job between Benitez leaving and Bruce arriving – has gone from being on the bring of the sack to securing three wins on the bounce for a resurgent Gunners side who’ve kept two clean sheets, beaten Chelsea 3-1 and scored eight goals since Christmas.

This was never going to be an easy game, but what went from looking like a FA Cup tie we’d fancy ourselves in given their awful early-season form is now looking a much tougher test.

Team news

  • Martin Dubravka – Bruce has confirmed the Slovakian will start his first game of the season after overcoming a heel injury.
  • Jamaal Lascelles – Trained all week and set to be involved, according to Bruce. Could well start.
  • Ryan Fraser – Bruce says he’s trained over the past three days but this one will come too soon for him.
  • Jamal Lewis – Missed the Leicester defeat with a swollen knee. Set to miss out once again but Bruce reckons he’ll be back next week.
  • Allan Saint-Maximin – Back in the UK and set to be assessed after overcoming ‘long’ Covid. Still a few weeks away, however.

For the hosts, it looks big summer signings Thomas Partey and Gabriel could return, with the former fit again and the latter overcoming COVID.

Predicted line up

(5-3-2): Darlow – Murphy, Krafth, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie – Hendrick, Hayden, Shelvey – Carroll, Gayle.

OUT – Darlow, Clark, Fernandez, Schar, Yedlin, M Longstaff, S Longstaff, Almiron, Joelinton, Wilson?

IN – Dubravka, Dummett, Lascelles, Krafth, Murphy, Hendrick, Hayden, Shelvey, Gayle, Carroll?

Lots of changes here and a formation that may well be way off, but I think Bruce may shake things up and rest a few key players ahead of our crucial trip to Sheffield United on Tuesday.

One player who’s already been named as a definite starter is Martin Dubravka, with Bruce confirming the fit-again Slovakian will come in for his first game of 2020/21.

I reckon Bruce will go with a back five once again and hand rests to Clark, Fernandez and Schar – three players who’ve recently overcome COVID or injuries yet been forced to play just about every game over the festive period!

He may also want to protect the fully recovered Jamaal Lascelles, so I can see Emil Krafth and Paul Dummett playing either side of the skipper, with Jacob Murphy offering an outlet in attack from right wing-back and Matt Ritchie continuing down the left in Jamal Lewis’ absence.

That said, Javier Manquillo could well play after he was back on the bench last weekend, so wouldn’t be surprised if he was at RWB with Murphy ahead of him in more of a 5-4-1.

Then to midfield, I reckon Bruce may go for three as he’s done twice this season (in the 1-1 draw at Wolves and home win vs Everton). Jonjo Shelvey will almost certainly come back in if his ‘sore groin’ has settled down, Isaac Hayden should return against his former club fresh from a one-game ban and I can also see Jeff Hendrick getting himself a rare start.

That then leaves two up top, and I reckon we may see the ‘big man, little man’ approach in Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle – two players who’ve recently scored goals at St James’ Park but are finding game-time hard to come by.

He may feel this is the perfect time to give both a shot and hinted at playing two up top in his latest presser. Callum Wilson to be rested for next week’s must win match against the Blades and Joelinton and Miguel Almiron to be dropped for their poor displays against Leicester last week?

The opposition

Our ‘ones to watch’ in Mike Arteta’s Arsenal side:

Bukayo Saka – I watched their 0-4 win at West Brom last weekend and he was absolutely outstanding. Looked confident on the ball, beat his man with ease on countless occasions, created chances and grabbed a goal too. Hoping he’s given a rest as he’s been their shining light this season!

David Luiz – If Arteta rests Rob Holding – the centre-back very nearly signed for us on loan last summer – we could see the erratic Brazilian return to the Arsenal XI. He may be good on the ball and a threat from set pieces, but we all know he’s error prone and there to be got at!

Thomas Partey – Time will tell if their big summer signing from Atletico Madrid is fit enough to start, but he’s EXACTLY the sort of midfielder who might have too much power and energy for our limited midfield. Arsenal fans reckon this is the first time they’ve signed a CDM who can come close to replacing Patrick Viera!

Predicted Arsenal XI: (4-2-3-1): Leno – Cedric, Luiz, Mustafi, Tierney – Maitland-Niles, Elneny – Pepe, Willock, Saka – Nketiah.

Prediction

A few weeks ago I’d have fancied us, but our form has plummeted just as Mike Arteta’s men have finally starting putting in consistent performances.

They will rest several key players, but I think Bruce will too given one of our biggest games of the season awaits in Sheffield United away next Tuesday.

With The Gunners getting their confidence back and able to field a much stronger second team than we can, I think they’ll run out relatively comfortable winners – although I do back us to score (desperate times!).

PredictionArsenal 2-1 Newcastle

HWTL!

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

39 thoughts on “🏆 Arsenal (A) Predicted line-ups, pre-match thoughts & team news

  1. The Athletic UK
    @TheAthleticUK

    New #BurnleyFC owner ALK only paid around £15m up front to take over the #PL club
    Roughly a third of £150m deal has come from Burnley’s own bank account, the rest as a loan from private equity firm
    ALK say deal “absolutely reasonable”

    Anything is reasonable so long as it’s not pif according to the PL 🙄

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  2. KImtoon: sounds like the Mackem deal where they used the parachute payments to buy the club from Ellis Short. I have no idea if this new owner, a 22 year old Trust-Fundian, will be good for them or if he will get bored with his new toy if they are not promoted immediately.

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  3. I was thinking Arsenal 3 NUFC 0. The odds for an Arsenal win are 1/2 (two to one on). Sounds about right.

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  4. This is getting farcical now. Twitter have banned Trump permanently. Take a second to take that in. A social media platform have banned the President of the United States because they consider him to be spreading lies and be a danger to the country. I am sure there is will be cries of suppression of freedom of speech/1st amendment but they are a private company and they can do what they want. I am sure Stuart will understand that.

    The word is that Trump is running around trying to find other peoples/agencies Twitter accounts so he can continue to spread his hate. It is sort like a Marx Brothers film from the ’30s now.

    I just find it a bit humorous that Twitter will be chasing Trump around the internet cancelling accounts like another B&W era symbol of incompetence and mayhem – The Keystone Cops – how did it ever get to this!

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  5. Eric Sykes:
    This is getting farcical now. Twitter have banned Trump permanently. Take a second to take that in. A social media platform have banned the President of the United States because they consider him to be spreading lies and be a danger to the country. I am sure there is will be cries of suppression of freedom of speech/1st amendment but they are a private company and they can do what they want. I am sure Stuart will understand that.

    The word is that Trump is running around trying to find other peoples/agencies Twitter accounts so he can continue to spread his hate. It is sort like a Marx Brothers film from the ’30s now.

    I just find it a bit humorous that Twitter will be chasing Trump around the internet cancelling accounts like another B&W era symbol of incompetence and mayhem – The Keystone Cops – how did it ever get to this!

    Eric, they can do what they want you are right and I generally agree with that principle but I am incredibly uncomfortable with a platform like Twitter suppressing free speech and freedom of Expression. Even more so when you consider for years governments around the world have been trying to get Facebook and Twitter to clamp down on terrorist organisations without much look.

    The Chinese embassies around the world are allowed to tweet away and given, for a example the ruthless and disgusting way the Chinese are treating the Uyghurs in their own country which is essentially ethnic cleansing it’s hard to stomach they ban a democratically elected POTUS (however disagreeable he is) but allow the Chinese to Tweet what they like.

    It won’t be long until there is another platform started which is a real freedom of speech platform and not just a platform for views of the main stream liberal variety.

    Twitter might just find they’re not that popular after all…

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  6. Peirs Morgan used to have a CNN show over here. I think it was nightly but they sent him back to Britain. Please take Danny Higgenbotham and Arlo White back as well.

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  7. Piers Morgan is a moron. He asks the government to do something and then 6 months later he roasts them live on tv for doing it. He’s also a hypocrite. He doesn’t wear a mask in a taxi and then went on holiday over Christmas. This after castigating the government for failing. He’s a prime example of why government action is only as good as its participants. Having said all that and as much as I disagree with a lot of what he’s said regards Covid he should still be allowed on Twitter.

    There’s a big difference btw between freedom of speech and hate speech. We should bare that in mind.

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  8. There is some good news, the FA Cup is not on TV over here. Do I really want to find some internet stream? My other choices are Misery Guts Ando or Wraith who does a youtube live panel talking about the game. I think I will go with Wraith as It is sometimes funny watching their reactions.

    It is different to Ando where I know what his reaction will be. It really is like listening to Marvin the Robot from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

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  9. Stuart mate. Freedom of speech is a very difficult concept. You cannot just say everybody has the right to say what they want. Are pedophiles allowed to go on children’s TV and spout their vile filth. No. Should Trump be allowed to rile up insurrectionist white supremacists on twitter?

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  10. Eric Sykes:
    Stuart mate. Freedom of speech is a very difficult concept. You cannot just say everybody has the right to say what they want. Are pedophiles allowed to go on children’s TV and spout their vile filth. No. Should Trump be allowed to rile up insurrectionist white supremacists on twitter?

    That basically follows on from what I said about hate speech and freedom of speech, Eric. Big difference between using a platform to break the law and using freedom of speech/expression

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  11. Eric Sykes:
    It is like shouting “fire” in a crowded movie theatre. Is that free speech?

    I had a laugh out load moment to this comment, Eric. It reminded me of your new favourite phrase you use to me. “False equivalence” I think it is isn’t it… 😂

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  12. I use that term “False Equivalency” so much for you because you do it so often. I dont want to get all philosophical here but free speech and where the line is drawn is very hard to determine. I think even you, Stewie, would say that there is a line to be drawn somewhere. Inciting people to violently overthrow a government who then march into the capitol building and chant that they want to hang the vice president and even set up a makeshift gallows might be that line.

    Again. Too heavy for a football blog but you know when the free speech line is crossed just like someone when asked what porn is said he couldnt totally define it but he knew it when he saw it.

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  13. Eric – freedom of speech is not an ability to say what you want without punishment – we have laws to protect people against things like hate and threatening speech.

    Trump didn’t speak to his rioters via Twitter, it was in person at a rally. He has posted so much on Twitter over his 4 years it puzzles me why they’ve left it until now really?!.

    But do they now work through EVERYONE on Twitter and start banning everyone?.

    It’s a genuine question mate and not meant to be patronising or anything like that in any way.

    How do we truly tackle things if we just try to suppress things we don’t like?.

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  14. kimtoon:
    I wish we could suppress Bruceasaurus team talks 🙄

    Kim 😂 I’m sure they would fall under crimes against football 👍🏻

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  15. Does anybody give us any hope here? Last time I was this sure of defeat in a cup was when we sent the kids to Man City and we won. I think it was like 3-1.

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  16. Just watched Everton v Rotherham and I tell you what Dan Barlaser would walk into our first team squad based on what I saw of him today.

    Can’t understand why we let him go to bring Hendrick in.

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  17. PL have brought in new (too little too late?) protocols for Covid. These are no handshakes or hugging and a few random tests in dressing rooms. How does that effect the fact that 25 players plus staff are in close proximity for hours a day and then taking what they catch home and to other clubs. The PL are also changing the transportation rules and putting on extra coaches.

    Meanwhile the rest of England is on full lockdown…

    There have been outbreaks at 5 clubs now, 1 quarter of PL teams – NUFC, Sheffield, Fulham, Man City and Villa. This is on top of cases at other clubs that were fewer but I think most, if not all, have had to quarantine players and staff. Arteta at Arsenal for example and Zaha at Palace.

    Are they fighting a losing battle? 4,000 death in the US yesterday and 1,000 in Germany.

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  18. I think Arsenal may play a lot of their kids today. Let’s face it, we are easy to beat. A league 2 side took us to penalties. If they do play their kids, then we will only get beat maybe 2-0. If they play full strength I see a 4-0 minimum. We are crap. And as we are in bbc 1 the whole world will see how sh.it we are…

    At least we can some Mackems a bit of joy this evening.

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  19. kimtoon:
    Sharpy, The Hendricks signing was most strange, he offers nothing from what i have witnessed.

    Eric – I know Barlaser has gone to the Championship, but he was playing against some good PL midfielders today & more than held his own.
    I’m not suggesting he’s top class, but certainly looked good enough to get a go for us – as good as Matty, put it that way.

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  20. Gilly: have you watched that Saka kid at all. Ritchie is in for a hard time if he plays. Then there is the other one with the double barreled name who played last week behin him, not Maitland-Niles although he is good as well.

    I think Arteta may have stumbled on a good team because the first teamers were playing so crap. Usually you do not put in the youngsters all together but they are showing so far that they are good.

    I predict a return to form for Aubamayang if he plays.

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  21. Stewart: we had 19 people with Covid at NUFC. Do you know if that makes them immune now? You seem to be up on this herd immunity stuff and I havent looked into it.

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  22. ShIt, Stuart. I keep calling you Stewart because my real last name is Stewart and it just sort of types itself automatically.

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  23. Why is Gayle on the bench and Shelvey is not in the squad. Saka not starting is one piece of good news but Willian always plays well against us anyway.

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  24. Loads of goals in that front 2. Carroll has 1 since April 2018 and Joelinton has what? 3 in 60 inc the Cups?

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  25. This isn’t as bad as I anticipated.

    Eric, when you have Covid and recover it means you have antibodies or otherwise you wouldn’t get rid so the vast, vast majority of people who have it have immunity. The only question is, for how long? Scientists seem to say between 6-12 months. I mean, you might still catch it but the chances are you wouldn’t have any symptoms.

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  26. Not too bad for the first half but we didn’t trouble them at all. I think the Arse will step up a gear in the second half. Glad Saka is not playing, he’s a cracking young player.

    I noticed on the team lineups on sky sports app, Arsenal named 9 on the bench, but we only have 7. Strange!

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  27. So, out of the FA cup at the first round once again. The fat t.wat will be happy. We should’ve finished that off in normal time. Big Andy did Really well and so did Anderson.

    Hey ho…

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  28. Defensively I think we were good again in the 90mins. I can understand Clark getting offered a new deal – he’s solid on the left of the CBs.

    Midfield was pants again – Longstaff & Hendrick aren’t good enough imo.

    I mentioned I watched Barlaser for Rotherham in the earlier game & he would get into my NUFC ahead of Longstaff – and I would have kept him meaning we wouldn’t need Hendrick.

    Ritchie & Almiron run a lot but are generally ineffective imo. Ritchie all too often can’t even take a corner FFS.

    Murphy is really growing on me.

    Good to see Dub, Lascelles & Dummett back 👍🏻.

    Young Anderson did ok when he came on 👍🏻.

    Joelinton 🤷🏼‍♂️

    Carroll will be gutted he didn’t score today – how he missed that first chance 😳.

    Gayle is on his way out imo. To barely feature today has to be the writing on the wall I reckon.

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  29. Again, I don’t think Bruce can be blamed today though.

    He picked a strong enough team and we had the chances to win in the 90. Poor finishing let us down again

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  30. Sharpy17:
    Again, I don’t think Bruce can be blamed today though.

    He picked a strong enough team and we had the chances to win in the 90.Poor finishing let us down again

    Agree with this! We should’ve wrapped it up in 90 mins.

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  31. We really could have won that in 90 mins but that’s no goals in 8 hours….

    I can exactly what will happen on Tuesday against Sheffield United

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