Liam Kennedy's Newcastle United starting XI for Arsenal – with one major selection decision

Newcastle United host Europa League-weary Arsenal at St James’ Park tomorrow afternoon – and Steve Bruce faces one or two selection issues ahead of the visit of Mikel Arteta’s Gunners.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 10:00 am
Callum Wilson of Newcastle United looks to control the ball during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield on April 24, 2021 in Liverpool, England.
Callum Wilson of Newcastle United looks to control the ball during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield on April 24, 2021 in Liverpool, England.

Will Callum Wilson come back into the side and should any changes be made in a struggling backline? Here our writer Liam Kennedy takes a closer look at the options available to Bruce – and picks the XI he would send out as the Magpies look to rubber-stamp their Premier League status.

Goes without saying really, but the Slovak has proven himself to be head and shoulders the best goalkeeper at the club since his return. His performances against Liverpool and Burnley were up there with his best ever since arriving on Tyneside.
Has shown he can offer a real threat in an attacking sense, and do the defensive dirty work in recent weeks. Has to be United's most-improved player this season, doesn't he?

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Hasn't been at his best in the second half of the season but has his reasons, injuries and the impact of Covid being two. Still the best United have mind, even though I've seen some on social media writing him off far too quickly.
Has been all over the shop since the switch to three. Needs to recapture a little bit of form in the last few weeks of the season as he's arguably been the Magpies' worst defender in their recent positive run.
Is what he is, Dummett does what it says on the tin. A proper defender, maybe lacks pace but is solid enough, even if out-of-form like Clark. Much better in the second half against Liverpool.
A little injury doubt, but if fit he starts, no questions asked. Should he miss out, you'd expect Jamal Lewis to slot straight back in.
Anyone who regularly reads this weekly team selector will know I am no fan of Shelvey. And most weeks I've opted to take him out the team. But with no Joe Willock to select I think he should retain his place, particularly as the next best option is Jeff Hendrick.
Has been a positive influence on the United midfield since he was brought back into the side. His energy is infectious, even if it doesn't rub off on skipper Shelvey all too often.
Apart from the defenders, Almiron has probably been United's most out-of-form player. Taken out of the 'false nine' role he excelled in, he's doing an OK job much further back but he's been unable to make a real impact on the game. Running down too many blind alleys.
One of the most devastating players with ball at feet seen in black and white. His skill and pace are unparalleled in recent years, even if he maybe lacks the grace of a Hatem Ben Arfa. Unplayable at the minute. Turning it on at just the right time for NUFC.
This time, surely, he has to come back. Showed against Liverpool he looks as sharp as ever. And could have a field day against a shaky Arsenal backline at SJP.