Arsenal and Newcastle United will face off at St. James’ Park in their first match of the new season. Despite signing several first-team players in the transfer window, the Gunners will have a smaller than usual squad at their disposal, including the likely absence of Nicolas Pepe.
Arsenal Face Newcastle United Without Nicolas Pepe and Other New Boys
Both Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin will miss this match and likely the month of August. The duo are both still recovering from cruciate ligament injuries. Alexandre Lacazette is also doubtful after picking up an ankle injury in the International Champions Cup.
Arsenal’s marquee signing of the summer, Nicolas Pepe, is not expected to participate. Both he and Mohamed Elneny returned late to preseason due to the African Cup of Nations.
New signing Kieran Tierney was signed with a groin injury he sustained in pre-season at Celtic. The club anticipate he will integrate into full first-team training in four to six weeks.
All of this means that Unai Emery will have to make do without several first-team players.
Newcastle enter this season on a low. Rafa Benitez could not be convinced to stay and now Steve Bruce has been appointed as manager. To rub salt in the wound, both Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez have also left the club.
To replace the strikers, Toon have signed Joelinton from Hoffenheim and Andy Carroll on a free transfer. Joelinton is a bit of an unknown quantity in England, making his signing a gamble of sorts.
Meanwhile, fans of both clubs are well-acquainted with Carroll and know that he is not cut from the same cloth as either Rondon or Perez.
Newcastle are, therefore, underdogs on the day and a candidate to battle relegation this season.
Arsenal are without several first-team players they would ideally like to have in the team. Plus, they have been poor away from home for a few years now. However, they face a club who are in crisis to a degree.
Therefore, this match will be tight and should only be decided by one goal with plenty of nail-biting from both sets of supporters.
Prediction: Newcastle United 1-2 Arsenal
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