Newcastle v Arsenal preview: Injury concerns for Emery ahead of Premier League opener
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Arsenal start their 2019/20 Premier League campaign with a long trip to Tyneside on Sunday to face Steve Bruce’s Newcastle, but Unai Emery has a number of injury concerns ahead of the game.
Alexandre Lacazette limped off in the Emirates Cup defeat against Lyon two weeks ago, and is in a race against time to be fit for the game at St James' Park.
Club-record signing Nicolas Pepe may start on the bench after missing most of pre-season having been at the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast.
He may be joined by fellow new boy David Luiz after his deadline arrival from Chelsea, while Kieran Tierney will be out for the next four to six weeks as he continues to recover from injury.
Lucas Torreira, who only returned to training last week after playing for Uruguay at the Copa America, is also unlikely to start.
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Rob Holding has returned to full training after his long-term knee injury, but the game is expected to come too soon for him despite featuring for the under-23 side last week.
Hector Bellerin is also out as he continues to recover from a knee injury.
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Emery is optimistic that Lacazette will be fit, saying: "Hopefully he could be available for the match against Newcastle.
"The doctors, they are optimistic. We are going to wait. The next days are going to be very important to see how he is going to progress with his injury.
"But I am really, really happy with other players also. If he is ready for Sunday, perfect. If he isn't, then for the next."
As for the opponents on Sunday, it's been a summer of upheavel for Newcastle.
Despite breaking their transfer record to sign Hoffenheim forward Joelinton and adding Nice winger Allan Saint-Maximin, the departure of Rafa Benitez as boss has only fuelled the protests against owner Mike Ashley.
The Magpies will hope to have DeAndre Yedlin fit after he underwent groin surgery in May, but Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are both doubts for Sunday's opener.
Arsenal won both games between the sides last season, beating Newcastle 2-1 at St James' Park before winning 2-0 at the Emirates.