17 May, 2013 - 14:50

Premier League preview: Newcastle vs Arsenal

Premier League preview: Newcastle vs Arsenal

Arsenal will enter the game against Newcastle knowing that a win guarantees them the Champions League qualification.

The Gunners have a slim chance of finishing in the third place, but their main aim is to outstrip bitter rivals Tottenham, who a sitting in the fifth place just a point behind.

Wenger’s side need simply match Tottenham’s result against Sunderland in order to live up the season’s expectations and secure the much-desired fourth spot, but the failure to do so leaves Spurs the chance of taking advantage.

Should Arsenal beat the Magpies, they will turn attention to the result of the clash between Chelsea and Everton. According to the Premier League regulations two teams which finish the season even on points and with the same goal-difference should play each other in the third-place play-off to determine the final position.

Chelsea will enter their final Premier League game two points ahead of Arsenal, having a goal difference advantage of one over Arsenal and having scored two goals more than the Gunners. If the Blues will be held to a scoreless draw by the Toffees and Arsenal battle to a 2-1 victory over the Toons, they will be level on all of abovementioned criteria, with the same fair for a 1-1 the Blues draw and 3-2 Arsenal victory.

The team which secures a win in the play-off will automatically qualify for the Champions’ League group stage, while the losing side will have to pass the qualifying round.

Meanwhile Newcastle will try to improve their poor record against Arsenal, as they have beaten them only once in 14 attempts. Arsenal did not manage to outplay the Gunners on St.James’ Park since 2009.

Arsenal team news:

Mikel Arteta remains a major doubt with a damaged calf. Jack Wilshere, who is iset to undergo a surgery on his ankle next week, could be risked for the crucial game; should Wenger include him in the starting line-up, Wilshere will play on painkillers.

Olivier Giroud served his three-match suspension and will start up front.

Injuey-plagued Abou Diaby is the only Arsenal’s long-term absentee.

Newcastle team news:

Despite Cheikh Tiote limping off during Newcastle’s win over QPR, he is expected to start against Arsenal. Sissoko, Ameobi and Ryan Taylor are ruled out because of knee injuries.

Haidara (hamstring), Santon (hamstring) and Steven Taylor (illness) are back from injuries and available for selection.

Veteran goalkeeper Steve Harper is set to start between the sticks, as Tim Krul is injured and Rob Elliot is banned.

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Author: Basil Naumov

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