Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will have likely used the winter break in order to implement a mini pre-season for his players so they can get a better grasp of his playing philosophy.
The Gunners boss will be hoping some of the work on the training pitch will bear fruit when they host Newcastle at the Emirates on Sunday. The Magpies have been in indifferent form recently with Steve Bruce’s side having followed a win against Chelsea, with two draws against Everton and Norwich.
In terms of team news, Arsenal should be able to welcome back Sead Kolasinac (thigh) and Reiss Nelson (knee) but Bukayo Saka remains a doubt after picking up a knock against Burnley. Cedric Soares (knee) is also unlikely to feature on Sunday.
Calum Chambers (knee) and Kieran Tierney (shoulder) are both long term absentees, although the left-back has returned to the training pitch and could make an earlier than expected comeback, with his original return date set for March.
Newcastle have no less than ten players on the treatment table currently. Joelinton is a slight doubt with a rib injury, but the likes of Emil Krafth (ankle), Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring), Javi Manquillo (thigh), Yoshinori Muto (hip), Dwight Gayle (hamstring), Andy Carroll (hip), Jack Colback (knee), Paul Dummett (tendon) and Jetro Willems (knee) are all unavailable.
The bookmakers have the Gunners as favourites with Coral pricing them at 4/9 odds-on to get the win. A draw is 19/5 with Unibet while a Newcastle victory is currently 15/2 at William Hill.
Predicted Score – 1-0 to Arsenal