Gabriel Martinelli starts as Hector Bellerin returns – Arsenal predicted XI vs Newcastle United

As the season draws to a close there is still much to play for Arsenal, with attentions turning to St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon when the Gunners face Newcastle.

Mikel Arteta’s side were defeated 2-1 by Villarreal on Thursday night in a Europa League semi-final first leg which showcased many of their defensive deficiencies.

But they will be hoping to get back on track with a confidence-boosting result against Steve Bruce’s side, who most recently secured an impressive point against Liverpool at Anfield.

“From the position they’re in, they’re going to come at us, they’re a really organised team, they’ve been playing much better recently so it will be tough,” said Arteta ahead of the game.

“The amount of games that we are playing, every team has the capacity to make it difficult for you.”

One player who won’t be involved is Joe Willock, who has become an important player for the Magpies since joining on loan from Arsenal in January.

Willock’s goals have been worth eight points to Newcastle so far although he hasn’t started regularly under Bruce.

Meanwhile, Arteta is likely to make several changes for Sunday’s game.

Hector Bellerin could come back in at right-back, while David Luiz will most likely return as he looks to refine his match sharpness ahead of the semi-final second leg on Thursday.

Kieran Tierney will have a good chance of starting at left-back after his return to full fitness, while Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey are likely to start in midfield.

Kieran Tierney participated in Wednesday's training session at London Colney. (Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images).

Willian hasn’t been involved for a few games and Arteta may see this as a game where he can impact proceedings.

And the clamour for Gabriel Martinelli to start could provide the perfect opportunity for the Brazilian to feature from the off on Sunday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not completely fit yet which means Alexandre Lacazette is favourite to lead the line upfront.

Predicted Arsenal XI: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Willian, Martinelli, Saka; Lacazette.

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