To be played on Saturday 2nd January 2016 at 15:00. Venue: Emirates Stadium, London.
Arsenal open their 2016 account with a home clash against Newcastle United, a game a number of their supporters will expect them to win by scoring a few goals to boot.
Despite a mini resurgence from Newcastle, Steve McClaren’s side find themselves back in the bottom three following successive 1-0 defeats to Everton and West Bromwich Albion over the festive period.
The last Arsenal-Newcastle meeting at St. James’ Park earlier in the campaign finished 1-0 to the visitors, Arsenal profiting from their man-advantage after Aleksandar Mitrovic saw an early red.
McClaren will be hoping his side remain much more disciplined this time around as they will have to be at the very top of their game in order to get something from the match.
Arsenal are clear favourites to win, though they will have to do it without a number of key absentees such as Danny Welbeck, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla, who are all ruled out with long-term injuries.
Alexis Sanchez is still unlikely to feature, therefore Theo Walcott should keep his place on the left, while Mathieu Flamini is touch and go so another start for Calum Chambers in the middle is on the cards.
Newcastle also have a number of key absentees, with 11 players ruled out. Goalkeeper Rob Elliot faces a late fitness test, while midfielder Vurnon Anita has a hamstring strain.