Arsenal Stretched Thin Against Newcastle
Photo Credit - Getty
Arsenal have had arguably the most exciting summer of any Premier League side, bringing in six new faces this summer. But even with all of the new additions, Unai Emery’s side will be missing 12 players in Sunday’s roadtrip to Newcastle.
Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac will not be making the trip due to further police investigation into the incident where the players were attacked in weeks prior. Emery put emphasis on his players safety in his recent press conference.
“The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority and we have taken this decision following discussion with the players and their representatives,” Emery said.
Arsenal’s new additions are unlikely to feature in the opening match as well, with Nicolas Pepe and David Luiz not match fit, and Kieran Tierney injured. Dani Ceballos may make the substitutes bench, but is unlikely to play after the minor ankle injury he picked up in preseason.
Alexandre Lacazette returned to training after his injury against Lyon, but will not likely feature in the starting XI. Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding remain injured from last season, with both still working towards their first team returns.
Mohamed Elneny will not feature, as well as Kostantinos Mavropanos and Emile Smith Rowe.
Emery will have a headache with his team selection this Sunday, with the absences likely to force a different formation than the Spaniard would like to play.
Arsenal will have a heavily rotated side against Newcastle, who are relegation favorites this season. Names like Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, and Calum Chambers are unlikely to feature regularly for the North London side, but will have a chance to stake a claim for more minutes.
With Lacazette doubtful, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will move up to his natural role up front, while Nelson fills in on the left side. The back-four will likely be Arsenal’s weakness, as it is nowhere near full strength.
Score Prediction: 2-0
Arsenal will kick off the season with a 2-0 victory, even without the majority of their stars. Aubameyang’s quality up front will get the job done for the Gunners, while Newcastle will be unable to put anything past Bernd Leno in goal with the few chances they create throughout the match. Aubameyang picks up a man of the match, while Granit Xhaka and Henrikh Mhkitaryan both grab assists.