It is back to Premier League action for Arsenal after the Premier League’s first ever winter break.
After returning from a warm-weather training camp to Dubai in high spirits, the Gunners will be hoping to build on that feeling when they welcome Newcastle United to the Emirates Stadium.
Mikel Arteta’s men have drawn their last four league games, but are so far unbeaten in 2020, and the break has also given players time to recover from any knocks and bumps that they may have picked up over the hectic festive period.
There is reason to hope that at least one of Bukayo Saka, who picked up a knee knock against Burnley, and Sead Kolasinac, out with a thigh strain since last month, will be available when the Magpies visit Emirates Stadium, if not both.
Indeed Arsenal’s defensive numbers have grown further with the addition of Pablo Mari. The Spaniard was not deemed ready for the tough introduction to English football a 0-0 draw with Burnley would have brought and has also been ruled out of the game against the Magpies. The defender is aiming for a debut in the Europa League against Olympiacos.
That means that both David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi, so impressive in keeping Burnley out a fortnight ago, are likely to keep their place amid the absence of Mari.