Chris Hughton has made several changes from the team that so disappointed last week at Hull City.
Dropped is captain Michael Owen, as some newspapers had suggested early this morning, and returning to the side in midfield are Kevin Nolan, Damien Duff, Ryan Taylor and Peter Lovenkrands.
Kevin Nolan returns from suspension, and it’s good to see Peter Lovenkrands back as he regains his place, probably on the right wing. Damien Duff and Ryan Taylor also come back into the midfield.
Alan Smith and Jonas Guteirrez are also left out of the side, along with Geremi.
The back four is unchanged, and the midfield will likely consist of five across the middle of Ryan Taylor, Butt, Kevin Nolan, Damien Duff, Peter Lovenkrands, with Oba Martins up front.
If the lads play 4-4-2 then it’s back to Martins and Lovenkrands up front, who looked great against the Red Devils, and Duff and R. Taylor will be the two wingers.
It’s also good to see Habib Beye back, and he is named among the substitutes for the first time since injuring ankle ligaments at Wigan on Boxing Day.
But four players, Owen, Geremi, Smith and Gutierrez are dropped from the side that so disappointed at Hull City last week.
With Portsmouth winning today, it will take 3 points if Newcastle are to escape the bottom three.
Howay The Lads!!
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Steven Taylor, Jose Enrique, Sebastien Bassong, Fabricio Coloccini, Nicky Butt (c), Kevin Nolan, Damien Duff, Ryan Taylor, Peter Lovenkrands, Oba Martins
Subs: Tim Krul, Habib Beye, Alan Smith, Jonas Gutierrez, Shola Ameobi, Michael Owen, Geremi
Arsenal: Manuel Almunia, Abou Diaby, Bacary Sagna, Kolo Toure (c), Samir Nasri, William Gallas, Robin Van Persie, Denilson, Gael Clichy, Andrey Arshavin, Nicklas Bendtner
Subs: Carlos Vela, Alexandre Song, Johan Djourou, Lukasz Fabianski, Emmanuel Eboue, Eduardo, Kieran Gibbs