Mixed news ahead of Gunners clash

Last updated : 25 September 2003 By Martyn Elliott

There is good and bad news coming out of the two camps ahead of Friday’s Highbury clash.

The bad news is of course that Jonathan Woodgate definitely misses the game because of his hernia problem, but he is the only definite absentee for us at this stage.

Nobby Solano is a doubt though because of the groin strain that kept him out of Wednesday’s 5-0 win over NAC Breda, but Lee Bowyer returns to the squad with the advantage of not having had to play just 48 hours previously.

There is some media speculation that Craig Bellamy will be rested so as not to risk his knee, but after his performance on Wednesday it seems a little unlikely.

The good news is that Denis Bergkamp has been ruled out of Arsenal’s team because of a leg injury. As he manages to transform himself from an ageing star on his way down into some kind of inspired genius when he plays against us this can only be a boost to our chances.

The Dutchman’s injury should mean a return for Sylvain Wiltord, while Sol ‘red-card specialist’ Campbell is expected to return in place of Martin ‘the beast of Old Trafford’ Keown in the back four.


Arsenal: Lehmann, Stack, Lauren, Cole, Campbell, Toure, Keown, Cygan, Vieira, Gilberto Silva, Parlour, Edu, Pires, Ljungberg, Henry, Wiltord, Kanu, Aliadiere.

Newcastle: Given, Caig, Griffin, Hughes, Bernard, Bramble, O'Brien, S. Caldwell, Speed, Dyer, Solano, Robert, Bowyer, Jenas, Viana, Ambrose, Shearer, Bellamy, Ameobi, LuaLua.

Referee: Mike ‘Not quite as bad as he used to be’ Riley (Leeds)