Arsenal will be looking for a 10th successive win at home when they host Newcastle United knowing a win is essential to keep their top four ambitions alive.
The last time Arsenal won ten successive home games in the league was back during Arsene Wenger’s first full season at the club. Unai Emery is well on course to emulate that record and to do so, his Arsenal side need to defeat a resurgent Newcastle United visiting the Emirates. A win will let the Gunners reclaim their fourth place on the table, while a loss or drop of points could be catastrophic.
Arsenal have been in fine form of late, and in their most recent league game, they comprehensively defeated Manchester United. Should Arsenal end up winning against Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur drop points against Liverpool, then the Gunners could move into the third spot on the table.
However, Emery will not be pondering about the third spot, as he would want his players to keep their focus on the Magpies game and take three points. The Gunners have not played a league game in two weeks and made time for a warm-weather training camp in Dubai. Arsenal have a more favourable run-in compared to other top-six rivals, although their destiny remains in their own hands.
As for their opponents, Newcastle will be focused solely on keeping as much distance from the relegation zone as possible. The Magpies fought out a 2-2 draw against Bournemouth in their recent league game, and a win over Arsenal will take them to 38 points, which should be enough to survive the drop.
Ironically, that draw with Bournemouth ensured Rafa Benitez’ men have the exact same number of points, goals scored and goals conceded as they had at this stage last season. That could be a sign that the Magpies will survive relegation after all. Additionally, their recent form of five wins and two draws from the last nine games has boosted their hopes and could well be a concern for Arsenal.
Team News & Tactics
The international break might have been a source of worry for Emery as many of his stars were reportedly injured. Ramsey was sent back from the Wales camp for treatment, while Granit Xhaka reportedly suffered an injury and Nacho Monreal did not participate in Arsenal’s trip to Dubai. However, Ramsey and Monreal were apparently back in full training, although there’s no word on Xhaka.
The Swiss star is likely to be assessed before emery makes a decision on his participation. Elsewhere, Sokratis and Sead Kolasinac were also reported to have suffered injuries, but for now, it looks both should be ok to start against Newcastle. Emery will also have to contend without Lucas Torreira, who is serving a three-match suspension for his red card against Tottenham.
Matteo Guendouzi could come into the starting lineup in midfield, although Emery will make a late decision on his preferred partner there. Up front, Mesut Ozil should start the game in attack, for he has a tremendous record against Newcastle, with three goals and an assist in his last four games. He will be joined by the top scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette up front.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Leno; Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Benitez has to contend with a few problems in his team ahead of the Arsenal game. To begin with, both of Newcastle’s central defenders, Fabian Schar and Jamal Lascelles have issues. Schar suffered a head injury during the International break, although he is anyway suspended for this clash, and Lascelles, who missed the Bournemouth clash will be assessed late on.
Two key stars who are likely to miss the Arsenal game are Rob Elliot, and Sean Longstaff, both of whom have been shining for the Magpies lately. That means Benitez will have to reshuffle his pack a bit and decide between one of Jonjo Shelvey and Mohammed Diame for a central midfield berth.
In attack, Benitez will keep faith in the in-form midfielder Ayoze Perez, while another one of his shining stars, Salomon Rondon will lead the line. January signing Miguel Almiron will get another chance to shine in the side on the left.
Probable Lineup (5-4-1): Dubravka; Yedlin, Lejeune, Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie; Perez, Hayden, Shelvey, Almiron; Rondon
1. Newcastle Asian Handicap +1.5 @ 1.725
2. Over 10.5 Corners @ 1.80
1. Full-Time Result – Draw @ 5.25
- Arsenal have won their last six home Premier League games against Newcastle United, scoring 18 goals and conceding just five.
- Newcastle have lost 11 of their last 12 Premier League matches against Arsenal, winning the other 2-1 at St. James’ Park last season.
- Only against Manchester United (28) have Newcastle lost more Premier League games than against Arsenal (27).
- Arsenal have won all six of their home league matches in 2019 and are one of only three of the 92 English league clubs yet to drop a home point this calendar year, along with Manchester City and Sheffield United.
- This will be Newcastle’s 15th consecutive Premier League game on a Monday away from home – of the previous 14, they’ve won two, drawn one and lost 11.
Player to Watch
For Ozil, the Newcastle fixture has been one of his personal favourites, as the German has regularly tormented the side. Last season at the Emirates, it was his solitary goal that sealed the three points for Arsenal, and he would be hoping to continue his fine form against Benitez’ men.
Ozil has scored three goals and laid down one assist in his last four games, and his recent revival of form could be beneficial for Arsenal coming into this game. Arsenal will need Ozil’s creativity and leadership going into the final round of fixtures, and the German needs to play a big part in helping Arsenal seal a Champions League berth come to the end of the season.
Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle United
Arsenal are primed to make it ten wins in a row at home, and they clearly are the favourites against Newcastle. The Magpies have displayed grit and shown their fans the form that could help to save themselves from the drop zone. Although they are facing an in-form Arsenal side, who have demonstrated they are difficult to be beaten at home.
Considering Newcastle’s away record, their form against the top six and the gulf in the quality of players compared to Arsenal, its safe to say the Gunners will triumph in this one. It’s not to say Newcastle will not put up a fight, but Arsenal have shown massive improvements in defence and are as lethal as ever in the attack. Expect Arsenal to collect three points and keep hold of their top four places.