After rescuing a point in their previous Premier League outing and the first match in Eddie Howe’s reign at the club with a 3-3 draw against Brentford, Newcastle United are back in action this afternoon with an early kick-off against Arsenal.
In terms of injury news, as well as still having Paul Dummett out with a calf issue, Newcastle striker Dwight Gayle picked up a hamstring injury in training earlier in the week and will apparently be assessed before the match at the Emirates Stadium.
With Magpies manager Eddie Howe set to make his debut in the dugout for the club after being absent from the Brentford game due to a positive virus test, from which he has now recovered, it will be interesting to see which players he selects for his starting line-up today.
One Newcastle player who did not feature in the draw against Brentford but should be in the starting XI to take on Arsenal is Isaac Hayden.
In his 10 league games so far this season, he has proven to be a useful defence-minded midfield option by averaging 2.4 tackles, 1.7 clearances and one interception per game.
Additionally, his overall performances have earned the 26-year-old, who is currently valued at £9m by Transfermarkt, a season rating of 6.53/10, making him Newcastle’s sixth-highest rated player at this point in the campaign according to WhoScored.
Given that Arsenal have only lost one of their nine previous league games, scoring 13 goals in the process, it could be the smart option if Howe were to restore Hayden today to add some defensive stability to the team and see if they can secure a positive result.
The 26-year-old also managed to show his predatory instincts in the opposition box by scoring in Newcastle’s 1-1 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion earlier this month.
Also, with former Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock failing to impress against Brentford, this could make it an easy decision for Howe to get Hayden back in the team at the other ex-Gunner’s expense.
Taking all this into account, Hayden definitely has what it takes to bully Arsenal’s players today, and he could well be the difference in Newcastle picking up a positive result or not.