- Hurt their makeshift defence
Injuries have carved a big crater in John Carver’s squad and that has contributed to their being in free fall at the moment. Their 35 points mean they would generally be expected to stay up but they look the best team to play for any team in need of points. Jack Colback, usually one of the holding midifielder, could play right back today with Daryl Janmmat in central defence. No way Arsene should be looking at that and not giving Alexis license to render some serious battering.
- Giroud to keep going
It will perhaps be he who would have been hurt most by the Gunners exit from the Champions League and let it be clear that he did his best. That home game was the only blip in what has been a superb individual turnaround since returning from injury. It would be a surprise if he did not add to his impressive collection against Newcastle, with 6 goals in his previous games.
- Being mindful of Cabella
Newcastle have always been Arsene Wenger’s closest rival when it comes to fielding French players. This current side, though, does not boast the class of the Ginolas or Cabayes but still looking to show much of what he can do in England is Remy Cabella. The skillful attacking midfielder will be saddled with the task of giving Francis Coquelin a rare bad day and it will be curious to see how the Gunner handles his fleet-footed countryman.
- And Sissoko will want to impress
A footballer’s life can be tough at times. Trying to show loyalty to your current employers while doing your best not to be calling out on your dream club to come get you out is not the easiest thing to do. Fair enough, Moussa Sissoko was largely able to play that well in the winter but we cannot be so sure as consensus has it he would not have waited for Wenger to speak first before assenting if Le Prof had called. This could be the last time he faces the Gunners in a Newcastle shirt and he will want to do enough to give Wenger reasons to ensure that. That would ordinarily mean a tough day for Gibbs and the midfield men who would have to stop him making those energetic box-to-box runs.
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