Steve Bruce has confirmed Martin Dubravka will make his return from injury in Newcastle United’s FA Cup tie with Arsenal, but will be without Jamal Lewis and Ryan Fraser at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The Toon are chasing only their second win over the Gunners since 2010 after losing 14 of their past 17 meetings with the north London side, who boast an imperious FA Cup record having scored in 31 of their last 32 fixtures in the competition.
Mikel Arteta’s side, who won the oldest national football tournament last season, have also found the back of the net exactly two times in each of their last five FA Cup ties and rediscovered their form this term, highlighting the scale of the task Bruce and his defenders face this weekend.
So, with a trip to an Arsenal side who have won their last three fixtures coming on Saturday night, here’s a predicted line-up Bruce could favour in search of an end to Newcastle’s six-game winless streak…
Dubravka is yet to play a single minute of football this season after sustaining a heel injury in pre-season, but Bruce has confirmed the Slovakia international will replace Karl Darlow between the sticks in north London.
Lewis will not take to the pitch at the Emirates Stadium after he and Fraser were ruled out through injury, but Jamaal Lascelles is in contention for his first outing since November after recovering from coronavirus.
Ciaran Clark has started Newcastle’s last nine fixtures across all competitions and will expect to see his run continue on Saturday beside Fabian Schar and DeAndre Yedlin, after Federico Fernandez proved the weakest link in central defence against Leicester City last time out.
Sean and Matty Longstaff endured a troublesome afternoon in the engine room at home to Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes and would count themselves lucky to start alongside one another at Arsenal, where Bruce will have Isaac Hayden available again.
Hayden missed the Leicester clash through suspension after receiving his fifth yellow card of the campaign against Liverpool, and will likely start at the Emirates next to Joelinton after the Brazilian did well on the left-wing in defending from the front last weekend.
Miguel Almiron also worked hard to help defensively against Leicester but the £42,000-per-week Paraguayan offered little with one off-target shot, no key passes or successful tackles to his name, per WhoScored, and will likely be replaced by Jacob Murphy in north London.
Bruce may consider handing Callum Wilson a rest at Arsenal with the 28-year-old playing 1,358 minutes across all competitions this term, but would face questions over whether Dwight Gayle or Andy Carroll can lead the line on Saturday night.