Newcastle United return to Premier League action on Sunday seeking their fourth successive victory as they welcome Arsenal to St James’ Park.
The Magpies have found themselves on a fantastic run of form at a crucial stage of the season, with just one defeat in their last eight matches helping them clamber away from the relegation zone to sit in 10th ahead of the weekend’s fixtures.
Having beaten Southampton and Huddersfield at home, and Leicester City away last weekend, a win against the Gunners would see them break the 40 point barrier, although face a tough task considering they have not taster victory over Arsene Wenger’s men since 2010.
With a nearly fully-fit side at Rafael Benitez’s disposal, with just Jesus Gamez missing from action, the Spanish boss can put out what he deems to be the strongest side, and considering the form of his current squad, is expected to make just a solitary change to the starting XI, continuing with a 4-5-1 formation.
Senior mainstay Dwight Gayle, who was the club’s top scorer last season and has featured in all but three of the Magpies’ top flight matches this season, is expected to be replaced by Islam Slimani, the Algerian striker having been ineligible to feature against parent club Leicester, meaning he has just one appearance under his belt after sitting on the fringes through injury.
Benitez has stuck with the same back four for some time now, while Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame have established themselves as the first choice pair in the centre of the field.
Matt Ritchie and Kenedy are in a similar situation on the wings, while Ayoze Perez has been the Magpies’ in-form star with two match winning goals in as many games.
In other Newcastle United news, fans have been left raving over the club’s official statement.