Arsenal welcome Newcastle to the Emirates in the battle for a UEFA Champions League spot. Arsenal is fourth on the standings with 49 points, while Newcastle is sixth with 44 points. Both sides need a win to keep their Champions League hope alive.
When both sides met in a game adjudged to be last season's most entertaining, they played a four-all draw. Both teams will strive to avoid a repeat of that particular score-line tomorrow, as a draw will do none of them any good.
Arsenal played their best football in many years last Tuesday against Milan in the Champions League, but they needed to do the impossible (overturning a four-goal deficit in the first leg in the San Siro). Arsene Wenger’s team came out blazing and scored three goals in the first half .
They nearly made it four in the second half, but point man Robin Van Persie tried to be too clever for his good, as he tried to chip the ball past the keeper, instead of hitting the ball powerfully.? Arsenal fans were left rueing what would have been. Others wondered where the furious Arsenal side that played against Milan have been all season.
With a performance like that, they should be fighting for the league title. More than a few? supporters would expect no less from them this afternoon, after they went on a winning streak, dumping Tottenham, Liverpool and AC Milan. Their good run could be attributed to the return of the once-injured Tomas Rosicky. Of late, he and Oxlade Chamberlain have been impressive.
Robin Van Persie is enjoying the best season of his career and there are reports his future may not be at the Emirates next season, due to the Gunners' inability to win trophies.Arsenal will be hoping to continue their good run of form against Newcastle tomorrow. The gunners have a good record at the Emirates this season, winning nine out of 12 games. A win will see them stay fourth. Chelsea's 1-0 win over Stoke has put the Gunners under intense pressure to win tomorrow.
Newcastle, on the other hand, will head to the Emirates full of confidence as they have remained unbeaten in their last three games against Arsenal. It has been a good season for Newcastle,considering that last season they finished just seven points clear of the relegation zone. Senegal striker Demba Ba has been their leading man this season with 16 goals in 23 games for the Magpies.
The Toon Army has been stuttering of late and if they are to compete in Europe’s elite competition next season, they need to pick the three points at stake today. They have not won their last three games in the league and their Achilles heel in recent games has been their leaky defense.
Against an Arsenal side that have recently found their scoring boots, they need to tighten up their defence. Newcastle 'goalie' Tim Krul believes his side stands a good chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season.”I think if teams like Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal watched the Sunderland game and saw the atmosphere, the fans and the commitment we showed, they will have to be afraid of us this season.
“We are just behind Chelsea and yes, of course this (the sacking of Villas-Boas) will increase the pressure on them. You never want your manager to be sacked, but we're looking at ourselves.”