Predicted XI

Partey to return? How Arsenal could line-up against Newcastle

The former Atletico midfielder has missed a month of action due to a thigh issue, but has completed full training this week

9:55am on Friday 8th January 2021
Martin Macdonald

Thomas Partey is in line to make his return to the Arsenal starting XI when the Gunners take on Newcastle in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Ghanaian has played just two games in two months, and has most recently been missing due to a thigh issue.

His last game was the North London derby defeat against Tottenham.

The FA Cup triumph at the end of last season represents the best moment of Mikel Arteta's managerial career so far and certainly the highlight of his tenure at Arsenal, so it is unlikely he'll make a raft of changes to his line-up, with the competition set to be taken seriously by the Spaniard.

It won't come as a surprise to Arsenal fans to hear that they're not actually in any kind of title race this season, so the FA Cup represents their best chance of silverware again along with the Europa League.

That, combined with their current good form, means that Arteta will be consistent with his team selection from the impressive 4-0 away win against West Brom.

There are doubts over the fitness of Gabriel, however, as he has only recently recovered from coronavirus so might not feature from the beginning.

Bernd Leno should start in goal, with Hector Bellerin, Pablo Mari, Rob Holding, and Kieran Tierney making up the back four.

Should Partey be brought back into the starting line-up, it could be at the expense of Granit Xhaka, due to the fact that Dani Ceballos was excellent in the West Brom victory, earning an 8.4 FC Rating.

The front four of Emile Smith Rowe, Alexandre Lacazette, Bukayo Saka, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been excellent in the past few matches, so Arteta might stick with them again.

However, the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Reiss Nelson, Nicolas Pepe, and Joe Willock could all push for a start.

Arsenal predicted line-up against Newcastle

Arsenal - Football tactics and formations

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