Newcastle secured the Premier League status and they will play only for pride.
The manager Alan Pardew will surely ask the maximum from his players, even this match means nothing for Newcastle. On contrary, this is “do-or-die” clash for Arsenal. A victory here will guarantee Champions League qualification for the 16th consecutive season. Any other result will complicate the things and Arsenal will depend from Tottenham result.
Pardew has a number of injury and suspension issues in front of this match. The goalkeeper Tim Krul, Moussa Sissoko, Shola Ameobi and Ryan Taylor are sidelined due to injuries. The midfielder Cheikh Tiote left the previous match with QPR due to a hamstring injury and now is rated as doubtful. Davide Santon is also an injury doubt, as well as Steven Taylor and Massadio Haidara. Finally, Rob Elliot is suspended after seeing red card at QPR last week.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has much better situation. The striker Olivier Giroud is available after completing a three match ban. The biggest worry for Wenger is Mikel Arteta. The Spanish midfielder picked up a knock late on in Tuesday’s win over Wigan and now is rated as doubtful. Abou Diaby is long-term absentee.
The Magpies have lost the previous two games at St. James Park. Not only lost, but they were totally outplayed. Newcastle received six goals from Liverpool and three goals Sunderland. The strikers, meanwhile, failed to score a single goal on the mentioned two games. August 2007 was the last time they failed to score in three consecutive games at St. James’ Park.
Arsenal are in mini-series of four consecutive victories on the last four away matches. One goal was enough to secure the victory against Fulham and QPR, while Arsenal scored twice against WBA and Swansea. Lukas Podolski is in good form, he scored twice against Wigan on Tuesday. Theo Walcott is also in excellent form, he is the player able to make the difference. Walcott had a remarkable performance against Newcastle in the reverse fixture earlier this season when he scored a hat-trick. By the way, Arsenal crushed Newcastle 7:3 on that match. I expect Arsenal to win.