Arsenal

Arsenal changes with Pepe or Martinelli chance as Lacazette experiment ends against Newcastle

Mikel Arteta has put it perfectly, Arsenal must bounce back from Saturday’s disappointment at Liverpool and immediately.

The Gunners saw their 10-game unbeaten run across all competitions ended at Anfield on an evening to forget for many, although it could turn out to be a valuable learning experience for the likes of Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga.

No European football this season means Arsenal have to lick their wounds for a little longer as they will have had a full week to prepare for this weekend’s home game against Newcastle United.

After that is another massive away game – this time against Manchester United a week on Thursday.

With a full week to prepare for the visit of the Magpies, Arteta has some big decisions to make regarding his team selection at the Emirates Stadium.

Does the Spaniard stick with the side that started against Liverpool, or take his youngsters out of the firing line to ensure their confidence is not dented even further?

Keep in mind that the trip to Old Trafford is lurking in the background, it could be an ideal time for Arteta to freshen things up slightly.

One name who won’t come into consideration for a start against Eddie Howe’s side is Granit Xhaka as he is still not ready to return from his knee injury despite making encouraging steps in training.

Even without the Switzerland international, Arsenal will fancy their chances of returning to winning ways and perhaps kick-starting another long unbeaten run to boost their hopes of claiming a European spot come May.

Of course, the north London outfit won’t be taking Newcastle lightly as they could be still riding the new managerial appointment wave

Furthermore, it’s unlikely that Arteta will make wholesale changes despite his side’s light fixture schedule, so one can assume that Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Benjamin White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang keep their places in the XI.

With that said, we looks at what changes Arteta can make to his Arsenal lineup for the game against Newcastle.

The first of which could be at left-back. Nuno Tavares has been more than impressive as Kieran Tierney’s stand-in over the past month, but he was culpable for Diogo Jota’s goal which gave the Gunners a mountain to climb early in the second half.

It would be a little harsh to drop the Portugal U21 after that, but he may just need a breather which then allows Tierney to prove his fitness ahead of the Man United clash.

Sambi Lokonga also had a difficult time of things after the break at Anfield. He was caught in possession three times in the space of a minute and was replaced by Ainsley Maitland-Niles soon after.

That could be the change from the start against Newcastle which comes in handy as the Belgian midfielder is one yellow card away from a suspension, so it’s best to keep him fresh for Man United.

In attack is where things get a little interesting as after four Premier League games without a goal or an assist, the Alexandre Lacazette experiment may have run its course.

Whilst the Frenchman did make a positive impression after coming off the bench to rescue a point for Arsenal at home to Crystal Palace last month, the side don’t exactly carry that much more of an attacking threat with him in it.

Although, if Lacazette is dropped, will that mean Arteta reverts back to 4-2-3-1 after favouring 4-4-2 in recent weeks?

If another system change is the answer then Martin Odegaard is the obvious candidate to start in his favoured number 10 role and hopefully provide Aubameyang with one or two goalscoring chances.

Alternatively, Smith Rowe could take up a central position thus presenting Gabriel Martinelli with a rare Premier League start.