EPL Weekend: Arsenal face Wolves as they attempt to head into the World Cup break atop the Premier League table; Chelsea to face a very in-form Newcastle

Arsenal vs Wolves

Arsenal prepare for their final Premier League match before the World Cup, which might have a significant impact on the momentum of their wildly unexpected title chase. Mikel Arteta was quick to downplay the significance of being in first place during the international break while national teams are in Qatar.

“It will be great but our focus is to play better every day,” the Spaniard said in his pre-match press conference. “Try to play better tomorrow than we did against Chelsea. If we do that tomorrow our chances of winning will be greater and that’s where the focus is.”

Even though he said it wasn’t, this game is huge for Arsenal. After all of their hard work this season, ensuring first place during the break will be psychologically monumental, and Arteta’s team selection is therefore important.

Fortunately, the Spaniard does not have a significant number of new injury concerns. Ahead of the match, he indicated that there were no new problems, meaning he would be able to play at a high level for his team’s last game before the World Cup.

This implies that goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale will return to the lineup after Karl Hein’s unlucky debut on Wednesday. With Matt Turner able to make the bench for this game, it is improbable that the Estonian will even be on the bench.

In front of him, the right side of Arsenal’s defense will be happy about making the World Cup team. Ben White was eventually added to the England roster, but William Saliba has a slim chance of starting for France in Qatar.

The other half of the back four will remain at home for the next few weeks. Gabriel is taking advantage of the camaraderie within his squad as the Arsenal players gather behind him following his exclusion from the Brazil squad, whereas Oleksandr Zinchenko never had any ambitions in the first place because Ukraine did not qualify. Takehiro Tomiyasu isn’t likely to play, and Arteta doesn’t like Kieran Tierney in league games, so it’s likely that he’ll be in the starting lineup.

Thomas Partey, meantime, will play a pivotal role for Ghana as their most important player, but he will have to play one more match for Arsenal in a pivotal position before he departs. Granit Xhaka can be counted upon for one more game in terms of concentration and mindset, and the same can be said of Martin Odegaard, despite the fact that he is not traveling with the Norway national team.

On the right wing, Bukayo Saka will hope to survive one more match of severe treatment from opposing defenders, which referees continue to ignore. This leaves room for the two Brazilians who made it onto the flight to Qatar, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus, who are eager to continue their stellar club form on the international stage.

Chelsea Vs Newcastle United

No Premier League club needs the World Cup break quite like Chelsea. Injuries have robbed Graham Potter of key players, results have been poor in the top flight, and it’s been several years since the mood among the club’s fanbase was quite so dark.

Still, the Blues will play Newcastle United at St. James’ Park before many of their players fly to Qatar to play for their countries and the rest take a well-deserved break. It is not an easy fixture; Eddie Howe’s side is third in the Premier League table and unbeaten in their previous ten matches in all competitions.

Chelsea really needs to win this evening. Still, Potter won’t be able to pick a full-strength team because Kepa Arrizabalaga (foot), Reece James (knee), Wesley Fofana (knee), Ben Chilwell (hamstring), N’Golo Kante (hamstring), and Carney Chukwuemeka (hamstring) are all out.

Edouard Mendy will be the goalie for the Blues. The Senegalese player had been taken out of the starting lineup when Potter was hired, but Kepa’s injury has made it possible for Mendy to get back in.

Last week, Potter tried a back four against Arsenal, but it didn’t work. Because of this, it’s likely that he’ll use a back three against Newcastle. Trevoh Chalobah should start on the right side of the defense. Thiago Silva should be in the middle, and Kalidou Koulibaly should be on the left.

Potter has tried out different wing-backs in the past, but he may decide to stick with Cesar Azpilicueta on the right and Marc Cucurella on the left because they have been successful in the past.

Jorginho didn’t play in the Carabao Cup game against Manchester City last week because he was hurt, but he trained yesterday at Cobham and could be back in midfield. Mateo Kovacic is likely to play with Jorginho if he can start again. The Croatian has been dealing with a knee problem since preseason.

Raheem Sterling is expected to get back into Chelsea’s attack. Against Man City, he only played as a substitute. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might be the ninth player on the field, so he should be well-rested. The front three can then be completed by Mason Mount, who can play on the left or right.

Other Premier League fixtures this weekend

  • Man City vs Brentford
  • Bournemouth vs Everton
  • Liverpool vs Southampton
  • Nott’m Forest vs Crystal Palace
  • Spurs vs Leeds
  • West Ham vs Leicester
  • Brighton vs Aston Villa
  • Fulham vs Man United

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