The teams have been announced for our clash with Newcastle this Saturday afternoon, and there are some strange decisions from Arsene Wenger. The manager has surprisingly dropped a couple of players, while leaving out a few we think deserve a start.
Petr Cech obviously keeps his spot between the sticks, with David Ospina nowhere near the starting lineup at the moment. Nacho Monreal is restored at left-back after being replaced by Kieran Gibbs against Bournemouth, and Hector Bellerin keeps Mathieu Debuchy out of the side on the opposite flank.
Gabriel Paulista has bizarrely dropped back to the bench however, despite the Brazilian battling it out with Mesut Özil for the Man of the Match award against the Cherries. Wenger seems determined to stick with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny at the back, despite Gabriel’s repeated good performances.
It’s also slightly strange to see Mathieu Flamini back in the holding midfield role, as Calum Chambers did a more than adequate job there last time out. He partners Aaron Ramsey in midfield, with Özil obviously ahead of the two in the No.10 position.
Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain keep their places out wide, with no place for Joel Campbell after his rest against Bournemouth. The Costa Rican has been excellent recently, so he’ll be disappointed to start on the bench.
Olivier Giroud continues up front, with our options there somewhat limited at the moment.
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There are once again a few youngsters on the bench, with Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide looking to break into the side.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 2, 2016
Newcastle line up as follows:
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 2, 2016
We have an excellent record at home against Newcastle, a record we will hopefully add to this Saturday afternoon. We’ve been defensively solid recently, while Newcastle leak goals regularly.
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We’re top of the table at the start of 2016, but let’s make sure we stay there with a dominant win over the Magpies.
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