As Arsenal fans hope the team will make the top four and return to Europe, the players also hope to get back to winning ways when they welcome Newcastle United to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The fans will expect nothing but a win since the players just returned from their winter break in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. The players will also be willing to impress the new boss Mikel Arteta to show that they understand his playing style. Arsenal chiefs will also want a win as they can’t take another draw or a loss against The Magpies.
Arsenal will come into this match knowing well that they have the same points with Newcastle United. Despite winning the first leg on matchday one, the Gunners will know that the match will be a difficult one when they welcome The Magpies.
Arsenal and Newcastle will want to come out tops in this game knowing full well that a UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League spot will be available after Manchester City were banned from Europe for two seasons on Friday. The Gunners have just won one match under Arteta this season.
The Gunners have suffered defensive problems this season and injuries to some players have not helped the matter. They have struggled against set pieces this season and have conceded a lot of goals from it. Arsenal have scored only eight times in their last nine matches.
Arsenal struggled against Burnley two weeks ago and will hope Newcastle who have been impressive this season will not give them any problem. So it will be interesting to see how Mikel Arteta sets up his team. The visitors have conceded more than once just four times in their last 11 games. They have also only scored only seven times in their previous nine league matches.
Winning only won one Premier League match has been Arteta’s only medal since he took over as the head coach of Arsenal. The Spaniard will be hoping to start afresh thanks to the break and start wining as the club appointed him with the hope that he can lead them next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Thursday, Arteta said: “I think we have to generate some defensive stability, but not by defending deep. I don’t like that.
“It’s by defending high and pressing the opponent as much as possible. But the process – together as many times as possible in the most efficient way – has to be done properly from here.
“If not, in two passes when you arrive there, that transition is impossible to control because you are too far from the opponent. So we need to do that well first to be able to generate and sustain our attacks as many times as possible during the games.”
Also sharing his own thoughts about the game on Thursday, Newcastle Utd head coach Steve Bruce said: “We’ve got 13 games to go and have got ourselves in a decent position. It gives us the platform to have a decent season.
“I think we’ve done okay. We’ve had huge problems over six weeks and fair play to the squad for showing that resilience.”
Academy graduate Bukayo Saka and Sead Kolasinac face a late fitness test to be in contention, while Cedric Soares, Calum Chambers, Kieran Tierney, and Reiss Nelson are all ruled out for the game.
Jetro Willems, Javier Manquillo, Jack Colback, Paul Dummett, Dwight Gayle, Yoshinori Muto, Emil Krafth, Andy Carroll, and Jonjo Shelvey are all sidelined for the game, but Miguel Almiron and Joelinton could be back in ready t feature against the hosts.