Arsenal v Newcastle PREVIEW as Gunners hunt 10th win on the bounce at 'fortress' Emirates
PUBLISHED: 14:28 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:28 01 April 2019
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Arsenal host Newcastle United in the Premier League on Monday evening. Read on for Layth Yousif's preview of the crucial match in North London.
Football returns to ‘fortress’ Emirates for the first time in 18 days since the Gunners faced Rennes in the Europa League.
The gap since a league game is even longer, with Unai Emery’s side not playing at home in the top flight since they beat Manchester United 2-0 on Sunday, March 9.
With Spurs losing to a last-gasp Mo Salah goal at Anfield on Sunday when they went down 2-1 to top of the table Liverpool, fifth place Arsenal are only one point off the Lillywhites in third as the race for a to four spot and the promise of Champions League football hots up.
Granit Xhaka, who scored in the 2-1 win over against Newcastle in the fixture at St James’ Park back in September, faces a fitness test after being forced off in Switzerland’s last game due to a muscle issue, while Lucas Torreira is serving a ban after being sent off in the North London derby at Wembley in early March.
Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal are expected to be available for Arsenal after recovering from minor injuries.
The Magpies Jamaal Lascelles has recovered from a knee problem and is set to return while Newcastle’s Fabian Schar completes a two-match suspension, although he might not have featured after he suffered concussion playing for Switzerland.
Despite the Geordies sitting in a lowly 14th position Arsenal boss Emery is cautious ahead of the match.
He said: “[This] match is going to be very difficult. Newcastle are in a good moment.
“They have a lot of good players and good organisation. The coach has a lot of experience and he is very competitive and I know that.
“The last matches they are playing, they are playing with a big confidence and very strong defensively and very competitive.”
The Gunners are hunting a 10th consecutive home league win – the best since a similar sequence between December 1997 and May 1998 when the club did the double.
The omens on paper are good at least with the Gunners having won six successive home games against Newcastle, scoring 18 goals and conceding only five, with the North Londoners winning all six of their home league matches in 2019.
Mesut Ozil will be hoping to start as he has scored three goals and provided an assist in four league games against Newcastle, including the winner against Newcastle earlier this season.
For all your latest Arsenal news and for live updates from the match at the Emirates follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29