Newcastle United host Arsenal at St James’s Park tonight, in a must win game for the Gunners.
The game now feels like a must win for the Gunners following Thursday night’s defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, and after the Lilywhite’s 1-0 victory over Burnley on Sunday, Arsenal now trail their most bitter of rivals by two points ahead of tonights fixture.
A win tonight would put Arsenal in the driving seat for Champions League qualification, as after the game, both would have only one game to play, and Arsenal would lead Tottenham by a point.
Last time out
Arsenal were beaten in the rescheduled North London Derby on Thursday night, suffering a 3-0 defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Harry Kane converted from the penalty, after a dubious decision from the referee has faced criticism from some fans.
Rob Holding received two first half yellow cards to reduce his Gunners teammates to 10-men in the first half, and mount an even harder challenge.
Kane added his second in the first half, and Heung-min Son netted the third and final goal straight after half-time.
The Magpies have became the first team in Premier League history to survive relegation after recording zero wins in their first 14 fixtures. Eddie Howe has earned a manager of the season nomination for his efforts, in rejuvenating Newcastle since his appointment in November. The Geordie side hope to spoil at least one party this season with Arsenals’ top four hopes resting on a victory in Newcastles final home game.
Newcastle are in a mixed bag of form, having won three of their last five games, but have lost their most recent two fixtures, suffering defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City.
Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-0 last time they met in November, and have only lost to Newcastle twice in 31 games, so have history on their side as they look to reclaim control of the Champions League race.
Arsenal are facing something of a centre back crisis at the moment. Ben White and Gabriel both have doubts regarding their fitness, and will undergo tests ahead of the match tonight, whilst Rob Holding is suspended, leaving Arsenal possibly with zero fit senior centre backs for tonight.
In his press conference this week, Eddie Howe confirmed that Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson are in contention to start, which will come as a concern to Arteta and his side. Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Willock are both out, and will not play again this season.
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