After Wednesday’s disappointment at the London Stadium, Arsenal are finally heading home after two less than impressive away performances to face Newcastle United.
Those two away trips continued our underwhelming form away from The Emirates but hopefully the return will help us get back to normal.
Since our last home game (Which we lost to Manchester United to end our winning streak of 12) we’ve slid out of the top four and are now stranded in 7th place, below Sean Dyche’s Burnley who refuse to go away.
However, this weekend could be the perfect opportunity to bounce back into form for the remainder of the Christmas period.
We face a Newcastle side who look to be struggling in their return to Premier League football despite still being under the guidance of Champions League winning manager, Rafa Benitez.
With all the distractions off the pitch for the Tyneside club regarding Mike Ashley and whether he’s going to sell Newcastle we, like many other sides, should be able to take advantage.
They haven’t won any of their last five games in the league and our recent record against them is identical as we have come out on top in every one of the clubs’ last five meetings.
So, the odds look to be in Arsenal’s favour but that doesn’t necessarily fill me with confidence going into the game.
If we continue in the same vein as our last three performances in the Premier League then we can expect a lot of the ball but not a lot of goals.
However, there are a few changes that could help us find the form of a few weeks ago.
With Aaron Ramsey out injured, this gives Arsene Wenger the perfect opportunity to give Jack Wilshere his second Premier League start of the season.
As we’ve seen in almost everyone of his appearances this season, Wilshere has been the standout player whenever he’s been on the pitch. From his passing range including long sprayed diagonals and quick intricate passes to what he’s best known for in taking on defences and opening up the play he is ready to be a Premier League regular again.
Also, Alexandre Lacazette should come back into the starting line-up. As the Hammers game was midweek I expected to see some rotation from Wenger but it’s clear that Lacazette should remain our frontman with Olivier Giroud being the clinical plan B.
One thing I’ve been longing to see though is how the pair would play together as a two-man strike partnership as both are very good linking play and seem to complement each other’s qualities well. Giroud also doesn’t have the worst scoring record against Newcastle, scoring eight goals in eight games against them.
Finally, I think we should go back to a back three as it offers more for the squad we have available to us. It allows wing backs to get high and wide and with our defence not the strongest, three centre backs might be needed which will also give a chance to either Rob Holding and Calum Chambers to get much needed minutes in the Premier League.
All in all, a win is expected on tomorrow in what is looking like an even harder mission to secure a top four finish.