LONDON (Sporting Alert) Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger made just one adjustment to his side for today’s Barclays Premier League fixture against Newcastle United.
Wenger has decided to start with Laurent Koscielny at center back and he comes in as a replacement for Per Mertesacker, who is out because of illness.
Thomas Vermaelen will play alongside Koscielny in central defence.
Elsewhere, Theo Walcott starts in the center of the attack tonight with Olivier Giroud returning to start on the bench.
“I want to give Theo Walcott more time to play (as a striker) today,” Wenger said.
Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta, who has made an average of 87 passes per game this season, continue their partnership in central midfield, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla, and Lukas Podolski all starting.
For Newcastle United Chieck Tiote returns from suspension to start, so too will Gabriel Obertan, who was solid when coming on as a sub to set-up a goal against Manchester United.
Demba Ba starts against Arsenal, a side who is heavily linked with landing him in the January transfer window and will be partnered by Papiss Cisse again.
“We are in good spirit because we played very well against Manchester United in the last game,” Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew said.
Arsenal vs Newcastle
Arsenal FC: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski, Walcott.
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Perch, Coloccini, Santon, Bigirimana, Tiote, Cisse, Marveaux, Obertan, Ba.