Arsenal

Arsenal line-up hint ‘spotted’ and what Mikel Arteta did to Gabriel Martinelli in training

Arsenal’s final preparations for the Premier League clash against Newcastle United are complete.

The Gunners have had a week to reflect on where things went wrong at Anfield last time out as a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool ended their 10-game unbeaten run across all competitions.

Whilst the result wasn’t too damaging with regards to Arsenal’s position in the table, a swift response is needed to ensure they don’t risk finding themselves outside of the European spots come Sunday evening.

Luckily for the north London outfit, history tells us that the Magpies are the perfect opponent to get back on track.

Not only did Arsenal complete a Premier League double over Newcastle last season – without conceding – they also knocked them out of the FA Cup at the third round a little under a year ago.

In fact, the Gunners have won the last seven meetings between the two sides across all competitions.

A repeat of the 3-0 scoreline from the corresponding fixture last season will be exactly what the doctor has ordered to ensure Arsenal return to winning ways.

Before the big Premier League game, Mikel Arteta and his coaching staff put the Gunners squad through their paces during a training session at London Colney on Friday afternoon.

And there has been media footage released to get fans in the mood.

Here’s what we spotted from those training pictures and what it tells us ahead of the game against Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.

Tierney line-up hint?

With a trip to Old Trafford on the horizon, Arteta could make a few changes to the side that started against Liverpool last weekend.

Whether the Spaniard opts to make wholesale changes or just rest one or two key players remains to be seen, but judging by the training footage and the subsequent reaction, the Arsenal Twitter account may have dropped a team news hint.

After posting an image of Kieran Tierney, some fans believe the Scotland international will return to the starting XI.

Gabriel Martinelli is another player whom many Arsenal supporters hope gets a runout on Saturday afternoon.

The Brazilian youngster started the first two Premier League games of the season, but has found opportunities few and far between ever since with Arteta settling on his preferred attack.

With Martinelli reduced to cameo appearances off the bench – normally in injury time at the end of a game – in the Premier League recently, there have been question marks over Arteta’s treatment of the 20-year-old.

But as seen in the image above, all is well between manager and player.

The pair shared a nice moment in training which left them with big smiles across their faces. Perhaps Martinellis had been told to expect more minutes against the Magpies.

In the reverse fixture at St James’ Park last season, Martinelli was excellent as he assisted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal to make it 2-0 and that might still be fresh in the Arsenal manager’s mind.

Almost a fully fit squad

Earlier in the season, Arteta had the dream scenario – every single first-team player was fit and available for selection.

Unfortunately, that luxury didn’t last long as Granit Xhaka sustained a significant injury to his medial knee ligament during the 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur and is one of two players available for selection this weekend.

The good news is that the Swiss midfielder is making good progress, and Arteta revealed during his pre-match press conference that he’s hopeful of having the 28-year-old back earlier than expected.

“Hopefully he will be a little bit sooner than expected, he’s training and pushing himself and all the staff so hard like he always does and he’s in a good place,” the Spaniard said. “He’s evolving well and hopefully, we can have him a little bit earlier.

“We have to see, it’s still a bit early to decide that.”

Aside from Xhaka and Sead Kolasinac, Arteta got to run the rule over a near full-strength Arsenal first-team squad – as well as Jack Wilshere – on Friday.

Of course, this will present the Spaniard with a selection dilemma, but he’d rather have this scenario rather than what he experienced at the start of the season where several first-team stars were unavailable.

Pablo Mari’s reaction

The 2021/22 season started brightly for Pablo Mari. With Gabriel Magalhaes sidelined through injury it meant the Spaniard was Arsenal’s first-choice left-sided centre-back for games against Brentford and Chelsea.

But after struggling in both, and with the Benjamin White-Gabriel partnership starting off well following the August international break, he’s not come close to starting a Premier League match.

As a result, there’s talk, as per the Sun, of Pablo Mari wanting out as he is said to be ‘unsatisfied’ with his current role in north London. If the defender has become tired of his role with Arsenal, it certainly wasn’t noticeable in Friday’s session.