Arsenal travels a long way to St James’ Park on Sunday to play Newcastle United in the Premier League, hoping to avoid the same fate as their fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
In their most recent games, both clubs won 3-1; the Magpies defeated Southampton after coming from behind, while Mikel Arteta’s team easily defeated Chelsea.
With only five Premier League (PL) games left in their season, Newcastle United is set to put an end to a decade of suffering by making a comeback to the European scene. The last time St. James’ Park hosted a European event was in 2012/13, so don’t anticipate any relaxation against title chasing Arsenal when Newcastle is vying for a spot in the UEFA Champions League next season.
Newcastle’s qualities have been demonstrated in part by an amazing eight victories in nine Premier League games (L1), which includes a 6-1 home victory against Arsenal’s North London rivals, Tottenham. Intriguingly, these two teams faced up at a nearly identical point in the previous season, with Newcastle winning 2-0 to end Arsenal’s ambitions of finishing in the top four. This time around, they’ll be hoping football karma doesn’t pay them back.
Arsenal finally returned to winning ways in midweek, defeating Chelsea 3-1 to prove to title rivals Man City that they are still a threat. This came after a slump of four Premier League games without a victory (D3, L1). Arsenal’s title hopes aren’t looking good right now as they trail City by a point after playing one more game, but bullish manager Mikel Arteta maintains his team “still have belief” they can win the league later this month.
Arteta’s team should be confident that they can, at the absolute least, put the pressure on City given that they have only lost twice in their last 15 trips to St. James’ Park (W9, D4). Even though the past two of those games ended in 2-2 draws after having a 2-0 lead, the Gunners’ strong record in Premier League games played on Sundays (W9, D3) should only help to support that notion.
Newcastle’s Callum Wilson has five goals in his previous three Premier League games, four of which came after the break. With his previous four Premier League away goals coming in the first half, Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard, who scored twice in a row in midweek, has also been on a roll.
Even though Jamaal Lascelles played a little role this season, Eddie Howe was deeply unhappy to find that his captain had suffered a season ending calf injury while working out, joining Emil Krafth, who tore his ACL, on the long list of injured players.
Prior to the arrival of the title contenders, Sean Longstaff (ankle) and Allan Saint-Maximin (thigh) will both require examinations. However, Howe should avoid putting either player at unnecessary risk, while Ryan Fraser, a former target of Arsenal, continues to play for the Under 21s.
Alexander Isak’s heroic substitute performance made it harder for Howe to decide between him and Wilson as the line’s leader, but Isak will anticipate keeping his spot up top for the time being. But Miguel Almiron is a serious candidate to replace Anthony Gordon.
When defender Gabriel Magalhaes left the field injured in the closing seconds of Arsenal’s victory over Chelsea, manager Arteta expressed anxiety, particularly because William Saliba (back), a first choice defender, was certain to miss another game.
Gabriel’s ankle ailment allegedly did not prevent him from doing post game media responsibilities, and there is a good likelihood that he will be cleared to play on Sunday despite falling to the ground a few times before being removed. Both Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny are still out due to season ending knee injuries.
Jakub Kiwior’s inclusion in the starting lineup for the victory over Chelsea was a crucial decision made by Arteta. The Polish international should keep his spot after a strong performance, although Gabriel Martinelli is likely to replace Leandro Trossard.
Newcastle United possible starting lineup
Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Willock, Guimaraes, Joelinton, Murphy, Isak and Almiron.
Arsenal possible starting lineup
Ramsdale, White, Kiwior, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Xhaka, Partey, Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli and Jesus.
We predict: Newcastle United 2-2 Arsenal
Newcastle’s attempts to thwart Arsenal away from home were successful in January, but given doubts over both of the Gunners’ starting center backs, Howe’s team could use a proactive strategy to trouble a weak visiting defense.
The Magpies aren’t the same defensive force they were early in the season, therefore we anticipate Arsenal to make up for last year’s mistakes and get a point, even if it means saying goodbye to their title aspirations.