Newcastle host a resurgent Arsenal side at St James’ Park, as the Magpies hope to continue their impressive recent home form and stop the Gunners’ on their tracks.
Arsenal travels to face Newcastle United in the Premier League and are looking to continue their recent form which has seen the Gunners’ register six wins and a draw in seven games in all competitions. Arsenal however, are the only side in the Premier League which is yet to pick a point away from home in 2018. Such has been he gunners’ form away this season and they would not want to prolong that unwanted record.
Newcastle, meanwhile have become a tight team at home, especially defensively, as they have conceded only 5 goals in their last nine games at St James’ Park. In that process, they have registered clean sheets in their last three here, and another one against Arsenal would put them in a strong position on the table against bottom half teams. Newcastle look like they will avoid relegation this season, as they sit 10-points ahead of 17th placed, Southampton.
Arsenal on the other hand have technically lost the race to complete a top-four finish this season, but will be hoping to catch Chelsea in fifth to finish their season on a high note. With no more pressure in the League, Arsene Wenger will be expected to focus all his energies towards the Europa League semi-finals more than the Premier League. This could mean more chances for Arsenal’s youngsters to play.
Team News & Tactics
Manager Rafael Benitez for once has a full squad at his disposal. He has had some injury and suspension concerns in the last few matches, but will be able to field a full strength team against Arsenal. Jesus Gamez is the only absentee in this team as he still recovers from his long-term injury.
Benitez has been focusing on the defence of his team, which has performed admirably in the last eight or nine games they have played. His team has kept things tight at the back and Benitez will expect another good show at the back against Arsenal, who might lack a few players in attack.
Probable Starting-XI (4-4-2) – Dubravka; Yedlin, Lejeune, Lascelles, Dummett; Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy; Perez, Gayle
The general understanding is that Arsene Wenger will be focusing more on his team’s Europa League campaign than the Premier League, which could see him rest some big name stars for the Newcastle game and instead give further opportunities to youngsters like he did against Southampton.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is one major concern for Wenger. The Armenian hasn’t played since suffering a knee ligament injury against CSKA in the first leg. David Ospina too, is yet to recover from the training injury suffered before the same game. Other members include Santi Cazorla who hasn’t played at all this season and is not expected to do so.
Granit Xhaka missed the second leg tie in Russia due to illness, but it is still unclear if he would be fit for the Newcastle game. Wenger on the other hand could again hand starts to youngsters, after letting Reiss Nelson make his full Premier League debut in the win over Southampton last weekend.
Probable Starting-XI (4-2-3-1) – Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Kolasinac; Elneny, Xhaka; Iwobi, Ozil, Welbeck; Aubameyang
- Newcastle have lost their last 10 games against Arsenal.
- Newcastle have not won against Arsenal at home since December 2005.
- Arsenal have earned only 24% points in away games this season, the lowest share in the division this season.
- Arsenal are yet to pick up their first away points in 2018.
- Aubameyang has scored in his last four games, the last player to score five in a row was Olivier Giroud.
1. Full Time Result – Newcastle or Draw @ 1.66
2. Under 2.5 Match Goals @ 2.10
1. Correct Scoreline 0-0 @ 13.00
Player To Watch
Aubameyang has been in red-hot scoring form since he joined Arsenal in January. His strike against Southampton last weekend means he became the best Arsenal signing in terms of goals scored in his first few games. He currently has six goals in seven games and there are no signs of him stopping in his quest for goals anytime soon.
Tough away games have been the cause of major problems this season, especially in the goal scoring area. Arsenal have really struggled and this is the time for Aubameyang to make a mark as someone who is capable enough to score in away games. There is also the idea of him showing the other Premier League marksmen about his capability and lay down the marker early for next season.
Newcastle 1-2 Arsenal
Arsenal, interestingly have more 1-0 victories against Newcastle than any other side. Although this does mean Newcastle have kept things tight against Arsenal, but have eventually succumbed. Arsenal on the other hand have had a fairly good run going on against Newcastle, a fixture they have been winning since 2011.
Arsenal might lack the creativity and edge with Mkhitaryan’s absence, but are surely well equipped to score goals, as they have been doing in the last 4-5 fixtures, and expect them to score goals against the Magpies. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang already in form and Danny Welbeck getting to his lethal best, Newcastle will have a tough time dealing with them, and expect Arsenal to win this, but not that easily.