ALAN Pardew will change a winning Newcastle United team for Arsenal’s visit to St James’s Park – with Cheick Tiote guaranteed a return to his starting XI.
Pardew’s side recorded their biggest victory of the season on Boxing Day.
Newcastle beat Stoke City 5-1 at St James’s Park without the suspended Tiote, who was serving a one-match ban for picking up his fifth booking of the season.
In his absence Pardew handed Hatem Ben Arfa his first start for almost two months.
“Cheick’s a tough cookie to replace and he’ll come back into the team for Arsenal, for sure,” Pardew said.
“He’ll play against Arsenal, I make no bones about that.”
Pardew must now decide who Tiote – who scored a memorable equaliser in the infamous 4-4 draw between the two sides at St James’s Park three years ago – will replace in his team.
Meanwhile, Moussa Sissoko will be free from the threat of suspension – if he can avoid a booking against Arsenal.
Sissoko is a booking away from a one-game ban, but his four yellow cards are wiped out after December 31.