Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe
Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe.

Key Newcastle absence vs Arsenal explained as ex-Liverpool man steps in

Newcaslte United manager Eddie Howe has explained why Martin Dubravka was not available for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal. 

The Slovak goalkeeper did not travel with the Magpies squad to north London due to illness, the club confirmed in a tweet ahead of the game.

“He has not been feeling very well for a couple of days so hopefully he is on the mend,” Howe told TNT Sports just before kickoff.

Former Liverpool player Loris Karius has taken his place in the starting XI, his first appearance in England’s top flight since 2018.

“He has trained every day for a long period of time,” Howe revealed. “He had a slight shoulder injury at the start of the season but since then he has been fine. He has played in games behind closed doors so he is match ready.

“The last game he played of course was the cup final so he is used to big games and at Liverpool he had many big matches so I have no doubt about his temperament and we are relying on his big-game experience.

Meanwhile, Howe described Alexander Isak’s return from injury an “absolutely massive lift” for Newcastle. The Swede has missed the last three games due to a groin issue.

Joe Willock also returned to the matchday squad for the first time since November after recovering from an Achilles injury.

Nick Pope, Joelinton, Callum Wilson, Elliot Anderson, and Matt Targett remain on the treatment table, while Sandro Tonali is serving a 10-month ban for breaching betting rules.

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