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Premier League

  • December 29, 2012
  • • 17:30
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: C. Foy
  • • Attendance: 60087
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Arsenal - Newcastle Preview: Gunners back in action after Boxing Day postponement

Wenger's side should be well rested after their game against West Ham was called off, whereas Pardew's men may be feeling the effects of their dramatic 4-3 defeat at Old Trafford

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

ARSENAL
  Arsenal FC
Szczesny
Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Arteta, Wilshere
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski
Walcott
NEWCASTLE

Krul
Simpson, Coloccini, Perch, Santon
Bigirimana, Tiote
Cisse, Marveaux, Sa. Ameobi
Ba

Arsene Wenger has no new injury concerns following the 1-0 win over Wigan last Saturday.

Laurent Koscielny is back fit but is unlikely to replace either Thomas Vermaelen or Per Mertesacker in the Arsenal defence.

Abou Diaby (thigh) and Andre Santos (abdominal injury) are long-term absentees for the Gunners while Lukas Fabianski (ankle) is expected back towards the end of January.

Alan Pardew's squad, on the other hand, has been ravaged by injuries and suspensions.

While Cheikh Tiote returns after missing the match against Manchester United with suspension, Mike Williamson will miss the trip to the Emirates after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season at Old Trafford.

Midfielder Vurnon Anita is also likely to miss out after being stretchered off following an Antonio Valencia tackle during the United defeat.

The Magpies are still assessing Hatem Ben Arfa's injury (hamstring), though Pardew does not expect the Frenchman to be available for the next couple of games.

Jonas Gutierrez (leg) and Yohan Cabaye (groin) are expected to be out for around six to eight weeks, while defender Steven Taylor (hamstring) could return to action early next year.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Arsenal have scored at least two goals in five of their last six home matches against Newcastle United.
  • Mikel Arteta (pictured) has made an average of 87 passes per game this season, more than any other player.
  • The Gunners have not won back-to-back Premier League games at home since April.
  • Arsene Wenger has seen his side have a player sent off in three of their last four Premier League games against Newcastle.
  • Newcastle United have lost their last four away matches in the Premier League.
  • The Magpies have also conceded at least twice in eight of their last ten away games.
  • The last time Newcastle had fewer points after 19 games in the top-flight was 1988-89. They had 17 that year and were relegated at the end of the season.

Players to watch

J. Wilshere

Position: Midfielder

Games: 5

  • 1
  • 3
  • 0
His performance at Wigan showed just why he is so dear to Arsenal fans. The England international is slowly building up some form after over a year on the sidelines. He provided the fight and tenacity which has so often been absent from Arsene Wenger's teams in recent years, while also exhibiting the ball skills and an eye for a pass which separates him from his peers. He was kicked all afternoon at the DW, but it never affected his desire to command the ball from his team-mates. The 20-year-old is fast becoming a talismanic figure in this Arsenal side.

C. Tioté

Position: Midfielder

Games: 3

  • 0
  • 1
  • 0
Newcastle coped relatively well without the combative midfielder against Manchester United as he served a one-match suspension. But Pardew's side will definitely require the Ivorian's skills at the Emirates, as the Magpies try and keep a lid on the midfield trio of Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla. Tiote should also be well rested compared to the rest of Newcastle's wafer-thin squad, so expect him to play a major part in Pardew's game plan on Saturday.

Editor's Prediction

Wenger's side go into the game fit and fresh having not played on Boxing Day, and that should give them a massive advantage, especially with Newcastle coming through an energy-sapping loss at Old Trafford and saddled with a growing injury list. The hosts are vying for their fourth successive win after losing ground in the race for the Champions League during the week. Expect a tight first half with fatigue separating the sides after the break.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Arsenal

Newcastle United

Wins
5
0
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Arsenal FC ARS
Arsenal FC Arsenal
Draw
Newcastle United FC NEW
Newcastle United FC Newcastle United
82%

Top 3 Predictions

Arsenal FC ARS
3 - 1
Newcastle United FC NEW
Arsenal FC ARS
2 - 1
Newcastle United FC NEW
Arsenal FC ARS
2 - 0
Newcastle United FC NEW

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