Newcastle v Arsenal Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups & Predicted Score
Arsenal travel north to face Newcastle United at St James Park on Sunday for the final game of the season. Here’s a preview with team news for the big game.
Arsenal travel north to face Newcastle United at St James Park on Sunday for the final game of the season knowing victory will guarantee at least fourth place in the Premier League table.
We head into the game sitting fourth after Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Wigan Athletic saw us leapfrog Tottenham – who now sit just a single point behind in fifth – while third-placed Chelsea are two points ahead with a +1 superior goal difference.
There is the tantalising prospect of pipping the Blues to third should they lose to Everton, while a 0-0 draw at the Bridge combined with a 2-1 win for the Gunners would see us forced into a play-off for third spot, but the main focus for Arsenal is to beat Newcastle and secure Champions League qualification.
The good thing for us is it’s in our own hands. We know if we win, fourth is ours. I personally don’t see Spurs slipping up at home to Sunderland, so I think 3 points are going to be required this Sunday and it’s not going to be easy.
Newcastle have lost 3-0 to Sunderland and 6-0 to Liverpool in their last two home games so they owe their fans a performance on the final day of the season. They will be up for this game, make no mistake about it. We haven’t beaten the Geordies away in the league since 2009 but if we want Champions League football next season, I think we’re going to have to break that run.
Newcastle are safe after beating QPR last weekend and they could finish as high as 10th with a win, while defeat could see them finish 17th, so there is still a lot to play for for Alan Pardew’s men.
The big fitness doubt is over influential midfielder Mikel Arteta who was forced off against Wigan with a calf injury and has only a small chance of playing this weekend, according to Arsene Wenger.
Should the Spaniard miss out, Jack Wilshere is likely to get a recall despite not being 100% fit. Wilshere is due to have a minor operation on his right ankle to remove a pin next week and Wenger would prefer not to play him, but the situation couldn’t be much more critical so I think we’ll see Jack start on Sunday.
The other option is to start Francis Coquelin while I’ve also heard fans call for Thomas Vermaelen to start in midfield, but I think that’s highly unlikely in a game of this magnitude.
Olivier Giroud is available again after serving his three-match ban and should return up front, despite Lukas Podolski scoring twice in midweek. I’d like to see the German retain his place but move back out to the left with Santi Cazorla restored in the middle.
Newcastle midfielder Cheikh Tiote is expected to start despite being forced off against QPR last week with a hamstring problem. Moussa Sissoko, striker Shola Ameobi and defender Ryan Taylor are all out with knee problems but Davide Santon, Steven Taylor and Massadio Haidara could all return.
Alan Pardew will be forced to play 40-year-old goalkeeper Steve Harper after Rob Elliot was sent off last weekend, while first choice stopper Tim Krul is injured.
Arsenal won the corresponding fixture 7-3 at the Emirates earlier in the season so you could say the Magpies will be out for revenge in this one, but hopefully our desire should be far greater than the home side and that should be enough to ease us over the line….just. Newcastle 1-2 Arsenal COYG!!!
What would be your starting eleven and whats your score prediction for the game? Get involved in the comments section below.
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