Arsenal to start same XI for Newcastle away

Hopefully this will be the last match for which Arsenal will have to do without the first choice centre defensive pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. Judging from what Arsene Wenger said in his press conference on Thursday though, neither will be available for selection today, leaving Gabriel and Chambers to fill in again.

If that is the case then I see no reason why the manager will not go with the same starting line-up that managed a point at home to Liverpool on Monday night. There are changes that the Frenchman could make, such as bringing his fellow countryman Debuchy back in to face his former team mates, but I think that Wenger is looking for some consistency and rhythm and until he finds it I don’t think he will tinker.

Some might be crying out for the misfiring Giroud to be replaced by Walcott but the French striker’s amazing record of eight goals in six games against the north east club will probably convince Wenger to stick with him. Giroud should be confident playing against his favourite team and he has already scored that great volley at Crystal Palace so as long as the likes of Ozil, Cazorla and all can provide him with the bullets, he will fire the Gunners to all three points.

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