Newcastle United have been struggling in the Premier League of late, having lost seven out of their last eight games, with their last outing ending in a 1-0 loss at the hands of Everton at St. James’ Park. The Geordies are now placed at the 16th spot in the league table with 15 points to their name from 17 games.
They are due to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium later in the day and it goes without saying that Rafael Benitez’s men would enter into the game as the underdogs. Here is how we expect Newcastle United to line-up against Arsene Wenger’s men.
The goalkeeping position is one of the aspects where the Magpies have had issues, with Karl Darlow’s mistake handing Everton the winning goal in their last game. Rob Elliot should be a welcome change and is likely to keep the gloves against the Gunners.
Ahead of him, we expect a defensive wall of four men, comprising of Florian Lejeune and Jamaal Lascelles at the centre of the defence. These two constitute a fairly solid partnership at the back and Benitez is expected to continue with them.
The right-back slot is likely to be handed to DeAndre Yedlin and he has to showcase notable industry down the right in the upcoming fixture, whereas Javi Manquillo will look to keep the Gunners quiet from the left-back slot.
Jonjo Shelvey will not be available for selection after his stupid decision against the Toffees which earned him a red card. So, the former Napoli boss is expected to station Mikel Merino alongside Isaac Hayden in the middle of the park to try to break Arsenal’s offensive plays and dictate the tempo of the game from the middle.
Merino and Hayden should give the balance which they need. Ayoze Perez is anticipated to be given the nod to start as the no. 10, ahead of Mohamed Diame, to inject more creativity in the final third.
Although Benitez might have Joselu and Aleksandar Mitrovic as his options, he should go with Dwight Gayle this Saturday. Gayle is more clinical than the other two and his pace and movements should pose some serious threat to Arsenal’s backline.
Christian Atsu is likely to start once again from the right-wing, and from the other wing, Jacob Murphy’s speed and tenacity should render him a place in the starting line-up as pace from both the wingers should come of help for Newcastle United.