I’ll only highlight notable additions/absentees as well as my reasoning behind it. This is NOT what I’m predicting Unai Emery will select come match day. LENO - Cech has proven that he can’t play out of the back and it was evident against Cardiff. Leno cost about half of our transfer budget and fits Emery’s system at better. Time to give him the start
BELLERIN - I understand everyone’s want to start Lichtsteiner and bench/move Bellerin up but neither is a viable option in this type of game. Bellerin has been great this season going forward but using him as a winger will take away his biggest strength going forward, his pace on the overlap. I think that’ll be a big strength against a fairly slow Newcastle back line. XHAKA - I know he’s had an indifferent start to the season but time and time again I’ve outlined why we should give him a chance next to Torreira. You also can’t bench a guy who’s so integral to the way Emery wants to play. We don’t have someone with his passing range anymore (who plays in a deeper position) TORREIRA - fairly obvious as to why he should start (IF FIT). He’s made an impact every time he’s played. He brings an air of calmness to the team and is downright fantastic at cleaning up
RAMSEY- his late runs into the box will give Newcastle something to think about and they won’t be solely able to mark Laca and Auba. His pressing will also be vital. Newcastle will most likely play very deep and narrow and will try to hit us on the break. We need to win the ball quickly and catch them in transition. Ramsey’s tireless running will be one way of ensuring it.
GUENDOUZI - controversial to drop someone who’s been named at player of the month. However, he’s not been able to strike up a good partnership with Xhaka and given Emery’s dependence on Xhaka for our build-up play, I think Xhaka will edge him for a starting spot. MKHI - it was between him and Ramsey and as I said before, Ramsey’s late runs into the box and energy could be useful weapons in breaking down a stubborn Newcastle defense. Great option off the bench.