Newcastle v Arsenal preview

Team news ahead of Saturday afternoon's Premier League clash between Newcastle and Arsenal at St James' Park (5.30pm).

Last Updated: 12/08/11 at 11:05

Ben Arfa: Still short of fitness

Ben Arfa: Still short of fitness

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Cesc Fabregas has been omitted from Arsenal's squad, while Samir Nasri faces a fitness test.

Fabregas has been left out due to a lack of match fitness, according to manager Arsene Wenger, while Nasri is suffering from an illness and will be monitored.

Robin van Persie (knee) and Kieran Gibbs (thigh) face fitness tests but Theo Walcott and Thomas Vermaelen return to the squad. Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Abou Diaby (ankle) are definitely out.

Winger Hatem Ben Arfa is Newcastle boss Alan Pardew's only injury absentee.

The Frenchman is around five to six weeks away from a return to action after damaging his left ankle - the leg in which he suffered a double fracture last season - during a pre-season friendly against Sporting Kansas City.

Mike Williamson (broken arm) and Danny Guthrie and Shane Ferguson (both ankle) are fit, but Pardew has revealed Ferguson will not start as a direct replacement for Liverpool-bound left-back Jose Enrique after only just returning to full training, while transfer-listed Joey Barton must assure the manager of his commitment if he is to be selected.

Newcastle (from): Krul, Harper, Forster, Simpson, R. Taylor, Perch, Coloccini, S. Taylor, Williamson, Tiote, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Barton, Marveaux, Gosling, Ba, Shola Ameobi, Lovenkrands, Best, Vuckic.

Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Fabianski, Sagna, Vermaelen, Djourou, Gibbs, Rosicky, Ramsey, Song, Walcott, Arshavin, Gervinho, Van Persie, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Lansbury, Chamakh, Traore, Frimpong.

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