There’s no surprise as Mikel Arteta has made seven changes to the Arsenal lineup that started the demolition against West Brom ahead of this evening’s FA Cup encounter against Newcastle.
Arsenal will see two changes to their backline, Cedric Soares and David Luiz replace Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding, with the duo to shape up alongside Pablo Mari, Kieran Tierney and Bernd Leno.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the only other player to remain in the starting lineup, as the Gunners’ big-money captain desperately looks to find confidence after an unfruitful season to date.
Mohamed Elneny will partner academy graduate Joe Willock in central midfield, whilst Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli seemingly take the flanks as Willian looks in line for a No.10 role behind Aubameyang.
Take a look at the Gunners’ lineup for their opening FA Cup tie below:
? Seven changes from West Brom…
?? Cedric and David Luiz start
? Elneny partners Willock
?? Nico, Willian, Gabi, Auba in attack#EmiratesFACup
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 9, 2021
Here’s how some of the Arsenal faithful have reacted to Arteta’s teamsheet:
Willian over Nelson is sickening.
— William (fan account) (@OzilThings) January 9, 2021
Tierney is being run into the ground.
— Mari Lyn (@Jam_AFC3) January 9, 2021
If Willian succeeds in the No 10 role that will probably be the end of Arsenal’s pursuit of an attacking midfielder for this window.
— Z (@ZRAFC) January 9, 2021
Willian playing 10. ?
— GoonerViews (@GoonerViews) January 9, 2021
Playing Tierney again is a little bit mental
— Andrew Dear (@Andrewdear90) January 9, 2021
Rather play AMN LB. tierney desevers a break the most out of our players
— William (@AFCWilliam_) January 9, 2021
Maitland-Niles & Nketiah only on the bench. Not good signs for their futures at the club.
— Gurjit (@GurjitAFC) January 9, 2021
There’s also a handful of players that have seen minimal or no action as of late on the bench, namely the returning Calum Chambers, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah.
It appears as though the most opinion-splitting decisions appear to be starting the unfortunately injury-prone Tierney and starting high-profile summer recruit Willian in a No.10 role – over other options.
Arsenal actually face the Magpies in the top-flight in just nine days time, whilst both teams are fielding largely rotated lineups, it’s a good chance for either to build some confidence to take into that tie.