Arsenal go into this evenings opening encounter at Newcastle without their two inspirational players of last season, as Cesc Fabregas is set to join Barcelona while Samir Nasir looks posed to move to Manchester City.
For Gunners fans, it will come as a bitter blow even though it was one to be expected and many journalists and pundits have argued that the club can now draw a line under the saga, which has been dragged out for far too long, but with only the arrival of French striker Gervinho from Lille to shout about during the summer, it could be a pivotal season for Arsene Wenger as there is no doubt that fans will be looking for an improvement from last season.
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Striker Robin Van Persie is set to miss the game along with Aaron Ramsey, who both suffered knocks for their respective countries midweek. Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshire also remain on the bench through injury, but the Gunners do welcome back Theo Walcott and he should start and much will depend on Andrei Arshavin.
For Newcastle, Jose Enrique has left for Liverpool, while inspirational midfielder Kevin Nolan has already left for West Ham, and with Joey Barton once again in the Premiership wilderness Alan Pardew has plenty on his plate as his side prepare for their Premiership opener at St James’s.
The arrival of Alan Pardew is still not sitting well with Toon fans, and the departure of Nolan, together with left back Enrique to Liverpool this week will not have helped his cause, and a heavy defeat in front of the home fans will put the pressure straight back on the manager and Newcastle could struggle this year.
Again, the line will be lead by Shola Ameobi , and it remains to be seen how long Pardew can keep relying on the home grown favourite.
It should be an interesting encounter with Toon fans hoping they can shock Arsenal after the departure of key players, although Gervinho has looked sharp in the pre season.
The game is to be shown live on EPSN at 17.30.