Preview by Numbers: Arsenal v. Newcastle United

Emirates Stadium, London
Monday, April 28
3:00 p.m. EDT, 20:00 BST
  • Match Officials
    • Referee: Neil Swarbrick
    • Assistants: Lee Betts and Ian Hussin
    • 4th Official: Craig Pawson
  • Reverse Fixture: Newcastle 0 - 1 Arsenal
  • This Match, Last Year: Arsenal 7 - 3 Newcastle
  • All-Time in All Competitions: 69 Arsenal wins, 66 Newcastle wins, 38 draws
  • Arsenal's League Form: L-D-D-L-W-W
  • Newcastle's League Form: W-L-L-L-L-L
  • Weather: Partly Cloudy, 14 C / 58 F
  • Arsenal's Odds of Finishing Top Four, Entering Weekend: 79.1%
Three to go in the league, four to go overall. The pressure is building after Manchester United did Arsenal (and David Moyes) no favors at Goodison Park last Sunday. There is still no room for error; Arsenal maintain a one-point lead on Everton with three to play. The Gunners have cut Everton's lead in the goal difference tie-breaker from six to two over their last two matches.

Everton play before Arsenal in each of the next two weekends: the Toffees play at Southampton in tomorrow's early match before Arsenal play Monday night. Next week, Everton play Manchester City in Saturday's late game before Arsenal host West Brom in Sunday's early affair. Of course, all sides kick off simultaneously on the final weekend. This means that Arsenal, over their final two home games, will already know if they have to win to stay above the Toffees (and could, theoretically, kick off each match from 5th place.)

And there's no reason to think they shouldn't have to win. Now is not the time for excuses. Arsenal need all nine points left on the table. A win against Newcastle would give Arsenal 73 points, matching their total from last year, but that's not enough this year. They'll still need 79 to be sure.

If you want something positive to focus on, consider that St. Totteringham's Day is coming. A Stoke win over Spurs clinches it on Saturday; a draw means Spurs would need to make up 19 goals difference to win the tie-break.

Arsenal Squad News

Out: Wilshere (foot,) Walcott (knee,) Ryo (ankle,) Diaby (match fitness)
Doubts: Gibbs (ankle,) Gnabry (knee)
  • Did you see him?! Did you see that Diaby played for the Under-21's? Diaby. D-I-A-B-Y. Lanky Frenchman? Remember? Anyway, good for him.
  • No real changes in the injured list this week: Jack Wilshere's still out, Theo Walcott's still out, Kieran Gibbs still a doubt with what I think is an ankle injury, etc.
  • There's not much news yet either, considering the match is not until Monday night.
  • As such, I wouldn't really be surprised with an unchanged XI from the squad that beat Hull last weekend.
Predicted XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.

Newcastle Squad News

Out: Obertan (knee,) Santon (hamstring,) Cisse (knee,) Sammy Ameobi (ankle,) Taylor (knee)
Doubts: De Jong (ankle,) Ben Arfa (hip,) Sissoko (hamstring)

  • Newcastle are one of two Premier League teams with more injuries than Arsenal right now, according to the Web site Physio Room; the other, fortunately for the Gunners, is Everton.
  • Newcastle's list of eight injured players does not include Loic Remy, who returned from the bench last weekend after missing a month and a half with a calf injury. Mathieu Debuchy is likely returning from a groin injury himself.
  • The Magpies will, however, be without Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Davide Santon, and Papiss Demba Cisse.
  • Luuk de Jong, Hatem Ben Arfa, and Moussa Sissoko are all doubtful, as well.
Predicted XI: Krul, Dummett, Williamson, Coloccini, Debuchy, Anita, Tiote, Gouffran, Gosling, Remy, Shola Ameobi.

Current Form
  • Arsenal have rebounded nicely from the terror of DEATHRUNs 1 and 2; they have won three straight if you include the penalty shootout over Wigan.
  • The 3-0 win over Hull marked Arsenal's second straight win in the league; astonishingly, they had not done that since the middle of January.
  • Through all of Arsenal's difficulties this calendar year, something that has not wavered is their record at home in the Premier League. The Gunners are unbeaten in 16 league games at the Emirates since the season opening loss to Aston Villa.
  • Arsenal's five draws at the Emirates mean their home record is only fifth best in the league, however. You might be astonished to find that their road record is third.
  • Newcastle, on the other hand, have been struggling for form lately and have lost five straight in the league and five of their last six on the road.
  • The Magpies had gone 383 minutes without scoring before Shola Ameobi gave Newcastle a 1-0 lead against Swansea last weekend, against the run of play. The Swans went on to win 2-1 thanks to a Wilfried Bony brace, scoring the winner from the penalty spot in injury time.
Match Facts
  • Arsenal have won four straight against Newcastle and have gone unbeaten in six against the Magpies dating back to a 1-0 loss at the Emirates in November of 2010. Andy Carroll had the goal in that match.
  • In the reverse fixture, just before New Year's, Arsenal held on to a 1-0 victory at St. James' Park, after Olivier Giroud scored from a set piece in the 65th minute, then Arsenal put on all of the defenders and hung on for dear life.
  • In this match last year, Theo Walcott had a hat trick and Giroud scored a brace from the bench, as a match that was 1-1 at halftime ended 7-3 to the Gunners.
  • Newcastle were recently one of only three Premier League teams that had beaten Arsenal more times than Arsenal had beaten them, though Arsenal's run of four straight wins means the Gunners now have a 69-66 advantage. The remaining two teams in the list are Liverpool and Manchester United.
The Referee
  • The referee is Lancashire-based Neil Swarbrick.
  • Arsenal have only seen Swarbrick once this year, for their 2-1 win at Aston Villa in January.
  • The Gunners had Swarbrick only once last season, their 0-0 draw with Everton at the Emirates, a match which Swarbrick lost control of early.
  • Newcastle have had Swarbrick three times this season, beating Crystal Palace but losing to Manchester City (in the League Cup) and Tottenham Hotspur.
  • Arsenal have three wins, no losses, and one draw all time with Swarbrick; Newcastle have four wins, three losses, and one draw.
Around the League
  • Saturday (early): Southampton v. Everton; St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton
  • Saturday: Fulham v. Hull City; Craven Cottage, London
  • Saturday: Stoke City v. Tottenham Hotspur; Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent
  • Saturday: Swansea City v. Aston Villa; Liberty Stadium, Swansea
  • Saturday: West Bromwich Albion v. West Ham United; The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
  • Saturday (late): Manchester United v. Norwich City; Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Sunday (earliest): Sunderland v. Cardiff City; Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • Sunday (early): Liverpool v. Chelsea; Anfield, Liverpool
  • Sunday (late): Crystal Palace v. Manchester City; Selhurst Park, London