Arsenal will be aiming for a winning start to the new Premier League campaign when they face Newcastle United on the road on Sunday.
Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Kieran Tierney and Emile Smith-Rower have been ruled out for the game as they continue their recovery from their respective injury concerns.
On the other hand, Alexandre Lacazette (ankle sprain), Nicolas Pepe and Mohamed Elneny (both fitness) are likely to undergo late fitness tests to determine their involvement against the Magpies.
Bernd Leno has firmly cemented his spot as the number one goalkeeper and the Germany international will be expected to start between the sticks against the Magpies.
Gunners boss Unai Emery may only make the solitary change in the defence with summer signing David Luiz replacing Calum Chambers at the heart of the backline.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Nacho Monreal should feature in the right and left-back roles respectively in the absence of Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac due to injury and security fears.
In the central defence, Luiz should directly make the starting lineup on his debut for the team and he could be accompanied by Greece international Sokratis Papastathopoulos,
In the absence of Mesut Ozil in relation to the recent car-jacking incident, Emery may resort to a three-man midfield where Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos and Joe Willock may feature.
Ceballos has only shown glimpses of his ability with the limited gametime in pre-season, but the Spaniard’s strong distribution skills and tendency to join his teammates on the attack should come in handy in pushing for a debut from the starting XI.
Willock, on the other hand, had an excellent pre-season campaign where he was a regular at the heart of the midfield, and his performances may be rewarded with a league start ahead of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, who only joined in the final part of pre-season.
In the frontline, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to start. With Lacazette’s anticipated involvement upfront following an ankle sprain, the Gabon international could feature on the left wing, with record signing Nicolas Pepe occupying his preferred spot on the right side of the attack.
Unlike Lacazette, Pepe has had no pre-season action after the African Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast last month, but we are fancying him to feature for at least an hour at St James Park before making way for either Reiss Nelson or Henrikh Mkhitaryan .
Predicted Lineup to face the Magpies (4-3-3): Leno, Maitland-Niles, Luiz, Sokratis, Monreal, Xhaka, Ceballos, Willock, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette
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