Mikel Arteta has made three changes to Arsenal’s last Premier League lineup ahead of today’s clash against Newcastle United.
Bernd Leno and the Arsenal defence remain unchanged. Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos partners Granit Xhaka in central midfield, with ace Mateo Guendouzi not part of the matchday squad.
Last summer’s marquee signing Nicolas Pepe comes into the starting lineup for wonderkid Gabriel Martinelli, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the other wing it looks as though academy graduate Eddie Nketiah is leading the forward line for the Gunners.
It appears as though Arteta has dropped Alexandre Lacazette after a run of unconvincing performances.
Check out the Gunners’ lineup below:
? Team news is in at the Emirates ?
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 16, 2020
Some fans are concerned with the decisions to leave combative midfielder Lucas Torreira on the bench, as well as lightning-fast forward Gabriel Martinelli – one of Arsenal’s few bright sparks this season.
Here’s what some Arsenal fans think of Arteta’s teamsheet:
Why isn’t martinelli starting and auba playing a central role
— Biased Bellerin™? (@biasedbellerin) February 16, 2020
Lacazette dropped but so is Gabriel Martinelli. ????
— WelBeast (@WelBeast) February 16, 2020
why cant you play Martinelli LW Auba CF Pepe RW?
— Artenal ? (@AFC_Aman) February 16, 2020
No Gabi but we Move ?
— ???? ??? (@AllezAfcJacques) February 16, 2020
Awful… No Torreira or Martinelli and Özil is starting!?
— TJ Boucher (@TheJman77) February 16, 2020
WHERE IS TORREIRA
— ????? (@AfcSxm) February 16, 2020
We’re gonna need torreira I can feel it
— ?????????? ? (@Silentinho) February 16, 2020
Wrong line up. Wrong. Torreira needs to start every game
— Liam (@liam5677777) February 16, 2020
— Malik Doski (@malik_doski) February 16, 2020
This afternoon’s encounter is a clash between the sides in 11th and 12th in the Premier League, the Gunners are 8 points off fifth-placed Sheffield United and need a win to start mounting a serious challenge for a Champions League spot.
With Manchester City banned from UEFA club competitions (Champions League and Europa League), as per Sky News, a UCL spot could filter down to the side that finish fifth in the top-flight.
With Arsenal’s rivals, Manchester United and Chelsea playing each other tomorrow night, today is a massive opportunity for the Gunners to make up some ground in their race for a top six spot.