By Russell Edge

16th Dec, 2017 | 2:15pm

'About time', 'Been awful' - Newcastle fans rave over star man's axe v Arsenal

Newcastle United fans have been left delighted on social media over Rafael Benitez’s decision to axe Matt Ritchie from the starting XI for their clash against Arsenal.

The Scottish winger has been a regular for the Magpies this season, starting in every one of the club’s 17 league fixtures this season, but after a poor run of form he has found himself dropped to the bench.

The club confirmed via their official Twitter account that Ritchie was one of five changes made to the line up from the midweek defeat at home to Everton, with Karl Darlow, Jonjo Shelvey, Mohamed Diame and Dwight Gayle joining the winger in dropping out of the side.

They have been replaced by Rob Elliot, Isaac Hayden, Ayoze Perez, Joselu and Jacob Murphy in the line up, as the Magpies look to end a dreadful run of form.

Despite being a firm fans’ favourite at St James’ Park, the Toon Army were happy to see that Ritchie had been dropped to the substitutes’ bench for the match at the Emirates Stadium, taking to Twitter to voice their approval, suggesting that he is in need of a rest.

Here, Football Insider has rounded up a selection of the supporters’ best tweets:

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

Ritchie has turned out a total of 66 times for the Magpies since joining from Bournemouth in the summer of 2016, and has 16 goals and 16 assists to his name.

In other Newcastle United news, a panel of Sky Sports pundits have been unanimous in their verdict on the Magpies’ survival hopes.

We’ve launched a << BREAKING NEWS FEED>> exclusively for your club. ‘Like Us’ on Facebook by clicking here if you want 24/7 updates on all Newcastle United breaking news.