Mikel Arteta’s men head to St James’ Park to take on Eddie Howe’s Mobile Toon Army in front of a packed house, in a match where only victory will suffice in their quest to beat rivals Tottenham in the Champions League
For Mikel Arteta and Arsenal, there is no room for error.
The Gunners’ 3-0 failure in the North London derby, coupled with Tottenham’s 1-0 victory over Burnley on Sunday, means that, while their fate remains in their hands, only perfection in their last two matches Premier League will guarantee a return. at the top of European football and in the Champions League.
But it won’t be easy against a Newcastle United side that have been upwardly mobile under Eddie Howe, a side reinvigorated since their new owners paid the money in January. In a white stag atmosphere at St James’ Park, Arsenal will need to be at their best if they are to come away with all three points.
So will they? Or will Arteta’s men, struggling with injuries and the highest stakes, wither and give their more bitter rivals the lead going into the final day.
Some of our Mirror Football editors made their predictions ahead of Monday night’s showdown…
Mikel Arteta will rely on his injury-worn squad to outplay the Magpies if they are to reclaim fourth place from Tottenham on Monday night. With Gabriel and Benjamin White’s game doubts and Rob Holding suspended, it’s hard to see the Gunners keeping a clean sheet at St James’ Park, who are sure to bounce back for the final home game of the season. .
It will be up to in-form Eddie Nketiah to continue his fine run and inspire the visitors to victory, and Arsenal should have enough quality to overcome a Newcastle side who have lost their last two matches to Manchester City and Liverpool.
Newcastle United 1-2 Arsenal
I bet on the Gunners. Newcastle have lost their last two games and manager Eddie Howe will have his eye on next season after securing Premier League status.
Arsenal have also won 18 of their 21 league wins against teams outside the so-called ‘Big Six’ this season. And they have responded well to poor results before, winning recently at Stamford Bridge after suffering three straight defeats.
The Champions League is within reach for the Gunners. They can’t afford to let this opportunity slip away as Manchester United and Tottenham are both expected to improve next season. Arteta will be aware of this.
Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal
If Arsenal are reasonable, they will win the game 2-0. But I don’t think they will.
Granit Xhaka will receive his marching orders around the half hour mark to mow down Allan Saint-Maximin in half as he tries to break, Cedric will concede another penalty for pushing someone into the box, Callum Wilson will earn a brace during of his first start back from injury and Mikel Arteta will blame the referees, Ant and Dec, Jimmy Nail, Billy Elliott and Monty the Magpie.
Newcastle 2-0 Arsenal
Newcastle have been in excellent form at home so far this year, losing just once at St James’ Park and Eddie Howe appeared to turn the tide and create a different atmosphere in the North East. I don’t see them losing here, even though the Magpies don’t have much to play for.
Meanwhile, Arsenal need to win to keep the fate of the top four in their hands after Tottenham’s victory over Burnley, but I think they could fail. The defeat in the North London derby will have shaken their confidence and Newcastle will be hoping to capitalize on that in their final home game of the season.
Newcastle 1-1 Arsenal
The Gunners have been impressive in their ability to get results under Mikel Arteta, and even with the added pressure of sitting in fifth place, I fancy his side coming out on top.
Newcastle’s home form has been imperious of late and St James’ Park will rock for the final time this season, but two defeats on the rebound will have shaken the confidence of Eddie Howe and co.
Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal’s whole season has been about destroying the curse of narrative, only to have it sneak up on them when they think they’ve turned a corner.
There would be no illustration of more than one of their former players taking them down after a sale that looked extremely smart so far, only for Spurs to drop points at Norwich on the final day to allow Mikel Arteta’s side to claim fourth place anyway.
Newcastle 2-2 Arsenal