toon v arsenal300compNewcastle United host Arsenal tomorrow in an early kick-off at 12.45pm which will be televised live on BT Sport 1.

There has been much debate on The UTD111 Forum about what players will feature in Steve McClaren’s starting 11.

It’s difficult to say with any certainty what the team will be as it’s too early for us to really know who McClaren sees as his best team.

And maybe he’s still finding that out for himself, too.

After all, we’ve only played 3 EPL games.

Anybody who played a part when we “beat” Man Utd 0-0 at Old Trafford (at least, that’s what it felt like when the ref blew the whistle!) can definitely feel hard done by if they don’t make the team against Arsenal.

But that’s not to say it won’t happen!

One of the points that has been made is that Daryl Janmaat shouldn’t expect to walk back into the side after his stupidity in getting himself sent off at Swansea.

That’s not a view I share. No doubt the coaches will have discussed his sending off with him. And I’m sure he realises that he dropped his team-mates in it.

So as far as I’m concerned it is now water under the bridge.

Put simply – against a team like Arsenal, we need as many of our quality players as possible in the team. And Janmaat is undoubted quality.

So if Janmaat plays, we can assume Mbemba will move back to the centre of defence – so who drops out to make way? Both Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini played very well in Manchester and both could reasonably expect to keep their places.

Personally I would drop Coloccini (but I don’t expect that McClaren will). Yes he played well at Old Trafford, but he was up against a Manchester United attack that was uncharacteristically slow and deliberate – which suited Colo.

However the skipper is too often found out when he faces up to genuine pace or a physically strong centre forward. So against Arsenal, I think he would struggle.

And what happens if Sissoko is fit? McClaren having said that he wants to build a team around Sissoko – will he really leave him out? Possibly. He may stick with Perez and have Sissoko ready on the bench to give him a shorter run-out.

On my earlier theme of quality – I would be disappointed if he didn’t play Thauvin, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic and Mbemba from the start – they’ve all got a claim to having increased the quality in the side.

And then there’s the likes of DeJong, Perez, Aarons etc hanging around hopefully desperate for a game.

It’s good to see a manager at NUFC actually having sufficient quality players available to have to once again make difficult choices! It’s been a while since that happened!

What we do know is that, if the rumours are to be believed, Arsenal may have both Mertesacker and Koscielny missing – which would no doubt put a smile on Mitro’s face.

No Wislhere or Welbeck either. Could be another eventful weekend for us.

Here’s hoping!

My predicted line-up (4-2-3-1):

Krul
Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Haidara
Anita Colback
Thauvin Wijnaldum Perez
Mitrovic

Score prediction: 2-2

What do you think? As ever, we would welcome your comments, opinions and views below.

You can also join the discussion at the UTD111 Forum!

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