Top of the table Arsenal take on relegation threatened Newcastle United in Gameweek 20 of the Barclays Premier League at the Emirates stadium on Saturday.

Arsenal head into the match on the back of a routine 2-0 win over newly promoted Bournemouth at the Emirates stadium last week. Arsenal’s top of the table status heading into the new year is even more impressive given the fact that Arsene Wenger has been forced to deal with a host of injuries to important players.

Wenger will be without the services of seven first team players when his troops take on a struggling Newcastle side on Saturday.

Alexis on the verge of return

Chilean superstar Alexis Sanchez is expected to return to first team action against Sunderland in a week’s time in the FA Cup. Sanchez injured his hamstring during Arsenal FC’s 1-1 draw against Norwich City at Carrow Road in late November and has missed 6 matches since.

Jack Wilshere (leg), Mikel Arteta (calf), Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky (all knee) are the other long term absentees for the Gunners.

However, in some good news for the Arsenal FC fans, Wenger revealed in his pre match press conference that French midfielder Mathieu Flamini has recovered from a minor ankle problem and is expected to feature against Newcastle on the weekend.

“We might have Flamini back,” revealed Wenger (as quoted by the club’s official website). “Alexis [Sanchez] will be too short for Newcastle. He [could] be back for Sunderland.”

“Arteta is back in training but is too short [of match fitness] to be selected in a competitive game. He [Rosicky] is three weeks away [from training] now.

“We have no new injuries from Bournemouth, only fatigue. Everybody is alright.

“Certainly we will rotate again. Everybody else in the squad against Bournemouth should be available.”