Arsenal v Newcastle: Ben Arfa And Obertan Return
Written by Newcastle Utd
Hatem Ben Arfa and Gabriel Obertan have been handed recalls to the Newcastle United starting line-up away at Arsenal
By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Hatem Ben Arfa and Gabriel Obertan have been handed recalls to the Newcastle United starting line-up away at Arsenal tonight (8pm kick-off).
Following Ben Arfa's outstanding second-half cameo against Sunderland last weekend, and a goalscoring midweek appearance for Obertan in the Reserves, manager Alan Pardew has selected the French duo for the Premier League fixture at the Emirates Stadium.
Ben Arfa's last start came away at Blackburn Rovers in a victory at the beginning of February, while Obertan has been among the substitutes since United's heavy defeat at Tottenham midway through that month.
The pair replace Ryan Taylor, who is ruled out through a calf strain, and January signing Papiss Cisse, who takes a place on the substitutes' bench.
The switches in personnel should mean a slight change in formation for the Magpies, with Ben Arfa expected to be handed a free role in the hole behind lone striker and 16-goal top scorer Demba Ba.
Obertan will add his blistering pace to the right flank, and will join Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye and Jonas Gutierrez in the middle of the park, while a familiar back four and goalkeeper will consist of Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, captain Fabricio Coloccini and Davide Santon.
On the bench there is a return for teenage midfielder Haris Vuckic, whose one-month loan at Cardiff City has expired, while Dan Gosling is also included after netting for the Reserves on Thursday.
Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta is back after suffering from concussion, and replaces Gervinho. Among the replacents are Andre Santos, Aaron Ramsey and Yossi Benayoun, who have all been sidelined in recent weeks.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Wojciech Szczesny; Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs; Alex Song, Mikel Arteta; Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Robin Van Persie (c)
Substitutes: Lukasz Fabianski, Andre Santos, Johan Djourou, Aaron Ramsey, Yossi Benayoun, Gervinho, Marouane Chamakh