On April 28th, Newcastle will travel down to the Emirates to take on Arsenal. This is a crucial game for Arsenal in their race to get into the Champions League for the 17th straight year. If Arsenal win their remaining games, they are back in the Champions League ahead of Everton. It is that simple for Arsene Wenger’s men and with only three games remaining, every game is crucial and every game is tense. Newcastle don’t really have anything to play for, but Alan Pardew will make his return to the touchline after his ban for his headbutt on David Meyler. Pardew would love to play spoiler for an Arsene Wenger team and do his best to outwit the Frenchman and get something from the game.
Both of these teams have very long injury lists to deal with. Arsenal will be without Abou Diaby, Theo Walcott, Ryo Miyaichi, and Serge Gnabry. Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere will also miss out but they are both one week away from returning, according to Arsene Wenger. Thomas Vermaelen looks like he will be able to make the bench against Newcastle.
Newcastle will be without Davide Santon, Sammy Ameobi, Ryan Tayor, Gabriel Obertan, and Papiss Cisse. Hatem Ben Arfa, Luuk De Jong, and Moussa Sissoko will all have late fitness tests.
The last time these two teams squared off at the Emirates, the two teams played out an insane game that ended a 7-3 win for Arsenal. When the two teams met in the reverse fixture this season, Arsenal came out victorious with a 1-0 win. Newcastle are on their worst run in the Premier League era with five consecutive losses. Newcastle have more defeats than any other top half team, and they are tied for the fewest draws in the league.
Arsenal play much better football when Aaron Ramsey is in the team and he will be an important player for Arsenal’s run in. Ramsey was without doubt Arsenal’s player of the season before he picked up an injury on Boxing Day. After missing four months with that injury, he came back to make his first Premier league start last week against Hull, scoring the first goal and creating the other two. The Welshman has created a clear cut chance for Arsenal every 163 minutes. Ramsey’s runs from deep and legs in the middle of midfield have been key for Arsenal, and he seems to bring out the best in the other Arsenal players and he is the key man in the Arsenal team.
Luuk De Jong has had a torrid time in 2013-2014, but he will look to improve against the Gunners. Despite being a striker, De Jong has not scored a goal in 2013-2014, he came in on loan in January after disappointing at Borrusia Monchengladbach and has been disappointing at Newcastle so far. It would be huge for De Jong to finally find some form for Alan Pardew. The Dutchman will attempt to partner effectively with Loic Remy and cause Arsenal some big problems.
This is a huge game for Arsenal in their race for the top four. Really, there should only be one outcome. Newcastle have been horrible in the last month or so and Arsenal have found their form again with the return of key players like Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey. Arsenal are yet to lose a home league game since the opening day against Villa. I predict an Arsenal win to boost their hopes of another top four finish and continue Newcastle’s misery.