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Newcastle: Predicted XI for Arsenal showdown

Newcastle United take on league leaders Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this evening, with the Magpies heading into the clash on a run of 12 games unbeaten in the Premier League,  stretching back to the end of August.

Eddie Howe’s men will, however, be looking to improve upon their showing against Leeds United last time out.

Indeed, the Tynesiders were held to a goalless draw by the struggling outfit after lacking that cutting edge in the final third.

The northeast side will also go into tonight’s meeting having lost their last 11 away games against the Gunners in all competitions, although they can be encouraged by their 2-0 win over Mikel Arteta’s men at St James’ Park at the tail-end of last season.

Ahead of this latest showdown in north London, here’s how Football FanCast predicts that Newcastle will line up…

The top-four hopefuls will be without Matt Targett later today as the Englishman has joined the likes of Alexander Isak, Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett on the treatment table, although Callum Wilson could be in line to return to the starting lineup after featuring off the bench last time out.

With that in mind, we predict that there will be two changes from the side that recorded a stalemate against Leeds, albeit with Howe likely set to persist with a backline that has shipped just 11 league goals so far this term.

The first alteration could well lie in midfield, with Joe Willock – who had been lauded as “very athletic” by his manager earlier this week – potentially the man to give way after failing to make an impact against the Whites, having made just 29 touches before being withdrawn just after the hour mark.

That change could well see Joelinton slot in alongside Sean Longstaff and Bruno Guimaraes in the centre of the park, with the Brazilian having featured on the left flank against Jesse Marsch’s men.

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That tweak could then see Allan Saint-Maximin return in that role as part of the attacking trio, with the £70k-per-week maestro potentially set to prove a real “game changer” for the Magpies, as previously lauded by journalist Craig Hope.

Joining the Frenchman and Miguel Almiron in attack will likely be the aforementioned Wilson, with teammate Chris Wood having been ‘wasteful‘ on Saturday, according to Newcastle World’s Dominic Scurr, after missing two big chances.