Arsene Wenger has given an injury update ahead of Saturday’s match and it is all positive for Newcastle United.
The Gunners were indebted to keeper Petr Cech last night, as his man of the match display somehow kept Liverpool out for a barely deserved goalless draw.
The Liverpool players waking up this morning and wondering how they didn’t take all three points.
Arsenal had to go with a makeshift centre-back pairing, as the inexperienced Calum Chambers and January signing Gabriel Paulista were thrown together, only the fifth Premier League start for the Brazilian since he arrived.
Despite feeding on scraps at Old Trafford, Aleksanadar Mitrovic showed what he is capable of with his towering header against the bar from the one decent cross put in all afternoon, Chris Smalling not getting close to him.
Mertesacker and Koscielny have formed a formidable partnership for Arsenal but the Arsenal manager has now revealed that the pair are now almost certain to miss out at Newcastle as well.
The experienced centre-backs starting the first two Premier League matches but both having to miss last night.
“Mertesacker is sick, how long will that sickness take? I don’t know.
“Whilst Koscielny has a back problem…having said that, our two centre-backs played well in the second half. (Calum) Chambers and Gabriel (Paulista) do not have the experience of playing together, they have come in from one day into the next but overall we didn’t concede…. Petr Cech saved us two or three times in the first half.”
“Our game is still not fluent enough in the final third, the West Ham game has left a trace in our heads and it was important tonight not to lose because you could see that was a shock for us.
“After the international break, if all goes well, he (Danny Welbeck) could come back.”
Welbeck is coming back from a knee injury and along with Koscielny and Mertesacker, is unlikely to feature at St James Park on Saturday.
Arsenal have made an uncertain start to the season and as Wenger says, the 2-0 defeat to West Ham at the Emirates on the opening day has given them food for thought, that match being followed by a slightly fortunate win at Pardew’s Crystal Palace.
Obviously we don’t want to just see the ball knocked long for Mitrovic against Arsenal but if United can get some decent crosses in, then Newcastle could just possibly start to reverse a shocking set of statistics against the Gunners in recent years.
Over half of Mitrovic’ goals have been with his head for Anderlecht and we really need to play to his strengths to get full value from the Serbian striker.