Newcastle United will be aiming to move out of the relegation zone by achieving a decent result against Arsenal on Saturday and know that they will have to be at the best to achieve that goal.
The Magpies have only acquired one point from their first four league games but it’s worth nothing that the fixtures gods have dealt them a rough hand.
However it is not set to get any easier when they host The Gunners at St James Park on Saturday as while their opponents have shipped goals this season, they did look clinical in front of goal in their last outing against Cardiff City.
Therefore Rafa Benitez has to field a side capable of keeping Unai Emery’s side at bay while also deploying one that has enough creative magic in the tank to potentially nick all three points.
This means that the Magpies manager has to gamble on the fitness on Jonjo Shelvey who has returned to training, which the manager confirmed to the Chronicle, as he could split Arsenal’s defence open with his passing ability.
The 6ft tall Magpies star’s (Source: Transfermarkt) return from injury will also see him excitedly reunited with Ki Sung-yueng as the two had a fantastic understanding when they played at Swansea City.
Ki has struggled to deliver the goods at the Magpies since joining but he is yet to link up with Shelvey in midfield for the club in a competitive game and their magical reunion could cause The Gunners problems.
As the potential reunion of Shelvey and Ki could work wonders than Benitez has to drop the axe on midfielder Mohamed Diame who has looked a shadow of the player he was previously this season.
Diame is one of two players that must be axed from the side who started the Magpies’ last league outing against Manchester City, with Ciaran Clark also getting the boot.
Clark had a woeful international break with the Republic of Ireland and has been a liability for the Magpies in some of his outings, therefore he is not needed for Saturday’s game.
Fabian Schar should take Clark’s place as while he has been used sparingly so far by Benitez, his recent impressive displays for Switzerland should have him buzzing with confidence over his ability.
The rest of the Magpies’ defence that started the game against Manchester City, including the goalkeeper, must be left untouched as it was a solid performance at the back against last season’s league champions.
Rondon should continue to lead the line in the hope that his first league goal for the Magpies is a afoot, while Kenedy and Ayoze Perez keep their places on either flank due to their attacking threat as well as defensively ability.
This means that in total Benitez needs to axe two players from his last starting line-up, Diame and Clark, while bringing in Shelvey and Schar to replace them in order to achieve a good result against The Gunners.