Reigning FA Cup holders Arsenal start the defence of their trophy at home to Newcastle United in the third round on Saturday evening. The Gunners beat Man City and Chelsea last season en route to winning the cup, giving fans hope of a positive new era, but it hasn’t all gone to plan this season and they remain in the bottom half of the table.
That’s despite a three-match win streak of late, culminating in a hammering of West Brom at the weekend. Mikel Arteta has challenged his players to string together a longer run of matches unbeaten as they look to play catch-up in the league - but making a good fist of the defence of the trophy will also be on the agenda.
As for Newcastle, they were disappointed to lose against Leicester at the weekend after a strong defensive display in the 0-0 draw with Liverpool. The Magpies haven’t won in six in all competitions following their defeat to Brentford in the EFL Cup quarter-finals, so will be looking to set matters right here and embark on another cup run.
It’s a whopping 66 years since the last time Newcastle won the FA Cup and over 50 years since they won any major piece of silverware at all, though they are far from among the favourites to end that drought this season.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the game.
When is the match?
The game kicks off at 5:30pm on Saturday, 9 January 2021 at the Emirates Stadium.
Where can I watch it?
The game will be shown live on BBC One HD and streamed live via the BBC iPlayer.
What is the team news?
Arsenal are likely to rotate and the team could represent more of the Europa League side than the Premier League one. Thomas Partey will be checked before the game after he returned to training, while David Luiz and Willian are back after positive coronavirus tests, while Gabriel should also return.
Newcastle are still missing Ryan Fraser and Jeff Hendrick, while it remains to be seen when Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin recover enough from coronavirus to feature again.
Arsenal: Leno, Cedric, David Luiz, Mari, Tierney, Elneny, Willock, Pepe, Willian, Martinelli, Aubameyang
Newcastle: Dubravka, Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Hayden, Longstaff, Hendrick, Almiron, Joelinton, Carroll
Arsenal - 8/15
Draw - 15/4
Newcastle - 23/4
Newcastle are far too defensive-minded to threaten even a weakened Arsenal team, while the Gunners should be in optimistic mood after recent results and playing well amid more competition for places. Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle