Arsenal received a big injury boost ahead of their Premier League clash with Newcastle United on Sunday. Young winger and makeshift left back Bukayo Saka is back available after being substituted off in the last match against Burnley at Turf Moor. Mikel Arteta will hope the starlet’s presence will give his club a boost as they aim to climb back up the table.
As previously stated, Arsenal will see Bukayo Saka back fit ahead of the Newcastle match. Joining him back in the squad is Reiss Nelson who recently recovered from a right hamstring strain as is Sead Kolasinac.
New signings Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares are not as lucky, however. The former is in full training but the club states he is aiming to make his debut against Olympiakos in the Europa League. The latter, meanwhile, is aiming to return to full training at the end of the month.
Kieran Tierney is a long-term absentee, having gone out with a dislocated shoulder in December. The Scotland international is nearing a return to full training, however, and may get there by the end of February.
For Newcastle, meanwhile, the trip to Arsenal will be tough due to injuries. Andy Carroll remains out as he struggles with a hip flexor injury. Manager Steve Bruce has said there is no timetable for the striker’s return.
While Arsenal have had a season to forget, they have a knack for beating Newcastle United. In fact, the Gunners have triumphed in 13 of the last 14 matches between the two sides.
The fact that Newcastle generally struggle on offence this season only bodes well for Arsenal. Bruce’s men have generated just 9.9 shots per match this season, which is their lowest average in a top-flight season since the metric began in 1997-98.
The Gunners haven’t been great overall, but they do have the offensive tools to take apart this Newcastle side, especially at home where Alexandre Lacazette has at least a slim chance of scoring a goal.
Additionally, Arsenal might just be out of the race for the final Champions League place already this season. They sit ten points behind fourth-place Chelsea and eight behind fifth-place Sheffield United.
Manchester City‘s likely removal from the Champions League next season means that fifth would act as the final qualifying place for Europe’s elite competition. However, that seems a bridge too far for Arsenal at the moment.
That takes just a bit of pressure off of them and should allow the Gunners to express themselves freely with the ball, something they can excel at and use to break down an opponent.