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Giroud returns: Arsenal FC vs Newcastle United, teams, predictions, more

LONDON (Sporting Alert) Striker Olivier Giroud could be back in the Arsenal FC starting line-up for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League fixture against Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium.

Giroud missed the narrow win over Wigan because of illness but is back in the team and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger expects him to play.

Midfielder Tomas Rosicky has recovered from illness and he too is available for the Gunners’ home game.

“We should not have any new injuries from our last game,” Wenger confirmed on the Arsenal FC website at Arsenal.com.

He added, “Giroud and Rosicky should be available again. They were sick at Wigan.”

Defender Andre Santos (stomach muscle) and midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) are both still out because of injuries, but should return to training next week.

“They should be coming back into training with the squad next week,” said the Frenchman.

While Arsenal rested during Wednesday’s Boxing Day fixtures, an injured hit Newcastle played to a heartbreaking 4-3 defeat at Manchester United and manager Alan Pardew also heads into the Saturday’s game with a number of injury problems.

Jonas Gutierrez (knee), Yohan Cabaye (groin), Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) and Steven Taylor (also hamstring) are all sidelined, although busy midfielder Cheick Tiote returns from a one-match ban.

Central defender Mike Williamson is suspended for the clash after picking up his fifth booking of the season in the last outing at Old Trafford.

Newcastle boss Pardew says it was unfortunate to get anything at Old Trafford, but admits that it wasn’t because of lack of effort.

“You couldn’t fault our ambition or effort, but two soft goals have cost us today,” Pardew told www.nufc.co.uk.

“We should win this game, I keep saying that and it isn’t good enough, so therefore I’m not pleased in any manner if I’m honest. I’m as disappointed as I’ve been as a manager.

“We’ve got so many regrets from the game and that is something you don’t want to come away from a football match with. Unfortunately if our players were a little bit better in different areas then we would have got something, for sure.

“We were desperate to show our fans – who were brilliant – that we have great resolve and resilience in the team. But we are really disappointed with the last couple of goals. We should have done a lot better with those.”

TOP SCORERS (all competitions): Demba Ba (Newcastle) 11 and Theo Walcott (Arsenal) 11.

Arsenal vs Newcastle

Arsenal squad: Szczesny, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Sagna, Podolski, Cazorla, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arteta, Walcott, Mannone, Ramsey, Gervinho, Rosicky, Koscielny, Coquelin, Jenkinson, Arshavin.

Newcastle squad: Krul, Elliot, Harper, Simpson, Santon, Ferguson, Tavernier, Coloccini, Perch, Tiote Bigirimana, Gutierrez, Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Obertan, Ba, Cisse, Shola Ameobi, Ranger.

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