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Premier League

  • February 5, 2011
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Referee: P. Dowd
  • • Attendance: 51561

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United - Arsenal

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United - Arsenal



The Magpies are without striker Shola Ameobi, who fractured a cheekbone against Fulham in midweek and looks set to be out for six weeks.

Ameobi's absence along with the sale of Andy Carroll leaves manager Alan Pardew very short of striking options, with Nile Ranger, Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands the only three fit forwards to choose from.

Cheick Tiote returns from suspension and will start in the centre of midfield alongside Kevin Nolan, with Danny Guthrie likely to drop to the bench.

Alan Smith is out for the rest of the season whilst Dan Gosling, Steven Taylor, Hatem Ben Arfa and new signing Stephen Ireland are still a few weeks away from fitness.

Possible starting XI: Harper; Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Jose Enrique; Barton, Nolan, Tiote, Gutierrez; Best, Ranger.


Arsene Wenger will be unable to call on the services of Alex Song after the midfielder was forced to come off at half-time in Tuesday night's victory over Everton.

Abou Diaby replaced the defensive midfielder and looks set to start as Arsenal attempt to keep the pressure on Manchester United at St James' Park.

Theo Walcott also picked up a knock against Everton, but the England winger has shrugged off his ankle problem and will start on Saturday.

Samir Nasri remains out with a hamstring problem and Thomas Vermaelen is still a long way away from fitness with his never-ending Achilles problem.

Possible starting XI: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy; Fabregas, Song, Wilshere; Walcott, Van Persie, Arshavin.

Life after Carroll

Newcastle begin life at St James' Park without their local hero Andy Carroll after the youngster completed his record breaking £35 million transfer to Liverpool on transfer deadline day.

Add to the fact that Shola Ameobi is out for up to six weeks with a fractured cheekbone, Newcastle are suddenly short of strikers and alarmingly only six points clear of the relegation zone.

Leon Best scored a hat-trick in a recent 5-0 home win against West Ham, and will have to find that form for the remainder of the campaign to ensure Newcastle are a Premier League outfit next season.

Gunners looking to continue title momentum

The north London side will be hoping to pile the pressure on Manchester United with a win as they will go just two points behind Sir Alex Ferguson's side, who face Wolves at Molineux in the day's late kick-off.

The form guide suggests a draw though as six of the last 10 league meetings at St James' Park have ended all square.

The most recent fixture occurred in March 2009, when goals from Nicklas Bendtner, Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri sealed a comfortable 3-1 win for Arsene Wenger's men.

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