Arsenal have an interesting team selection coming up against Newcastle.
There are projected returns for key players penciled in for Arsenal on Monday, although how cautious Mikel Arteta chooses to be could quell excitement across the fanbase.
Thomas Partey made his return in the recent draw with Crystal Palace by getting 25 minutes at the end, playing time that he sorely needs having been out with a thigh injury since the beginning of December.
Further forward there is Gabriel Martinelli, who has been given the green light to play. Once again there are concerns about rushing him into the team so soon after another injury, albeit a minor one, especially since his fitness still needs monitoring following his previous long-term knee problem.
At the back, Kieran Tierney is touch and go after suffering from muscle tightness, a player invaluable to the current side but in desperate need of a rest. He unwillingly got that against the Eagles, but any chance of an aggravation on Monday could be detrimental to Arsenal who will be relying on his consistency at left-back for the rest of the season.
If he isn’t deemed fit enough to start, then Ainsley Maitland-Niles could resume his role as backup full-back as he did in midweek, even if he showed clear signs of rustiness and discomfort in that position.
Eventually he was taken off after improving as the game wore on, with Bukayo Saka slotting into the role he featured in spells last term. Much less defensively disciplined than his Hale End teammate, if the news on Tierney isn’t positive then Arteta could be wise to field the 19-year-old in that role.