Can the Gunners get the better of the Magpies?

Arsenal host Newcastle United in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon (3.00pm kick-off UK time).

The Gunners go into this weekend’s round of fixtures in 7th position in the Premier League table, with 30 points from 17 matches.

Arsenal can’t afford any more slip-ups if they are to compete for a top 4 finish.

The goalless draw with West Ham United at the London Stadium on Wednesday meant that Arsenal haven’t won in three successive Premier League matches (L1, D2). The first time that has happened since April.

The result continued the poor run of away league form this season (W2, L4, D3).

Before in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United last time out in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium Arsenal had a perfect home record this season (W7, L1).

Arsene Wenger’s side haven’t lost back to back home Premier League games in the same season since November 2010, with one of those defeats coming against Newcastle.

The Magpies start the day in 16th position in the Premier League table, with points 15 from 17 matches.

Newcastle fans will be hoping that the deal for Amanda Staveley to take over the club from Mike Ashley will be completed imminently. This might allow Rafa Benitez to bring in reinforcements to bolster the team, who are very much in the fight to avoid relegation.

Newcastle have picked up just one point in their last eight Premier League games (W0 D1 L7).

The 1-0 home defeat to Everton on Wednesday was their four consecutive home league defeat at St James’ Park. The first time that has happened since April 2015 under then manager John Carver.

They have conceded 10 goals in their last four away fixtures, allowing 46 shots in the penalty area, more than any other side.

Newcastle have played nine of the Premier League’s top 10 sides – and they have taken just one point in the process. Arsenal are the only team in the upper half of the top flight who United are yet to face.

Newcastle have dropped 11 points from winning positions in the Premier League this term; the most of any team in the competition.

Head-to-Head

Arsenal have won each of their last nine Premier League games against Newcastle, scoring 22 goals and conceding just six.

Newcastle have lost their last five Premier League visits to Arsenal – however, their last victory there came in November 2010 when they were newly promoted.

Arsenal have only had a longer Premier League winning run against Manchester City (11 between August 1994 and September 2004) than their current run of nine against Newcastle.

Newcastle United, meanwhile, have only lost more consecutive Premier League games against Manchester City (12 between January 2009 and October 2015).

Arsenal did the double over Newcastle United in the last season the teams met in 2015/16. Both matches ended in 1-0 victories for the Gunners.

A Fabricio Coloccini own goal (52) settled the match at St James’s Park on the 29th August 2015.

A Laurent Koscielny goal (72) gave the Gunners all three points in the reverse fixture on 2 January 2016.

Key Men

Arsenal

Alexandre Lacazette was on the bench for Arsenal’s match at West Ham on Wednesday. He had to wait until the 82nd minute to get on the pitch.  With six of his eight goals arriving at Emirates Stadium, Lacazette has scored more than any other Premier League forward in home matches

Olivier Giroud has scored more Premier League goals against Newcastle than any other club (8) and has had a hand in six goals in four Premier League games against them at the Emirates Stadium (five goals, one assist).

Newcastle United

Dwight Gayle has scored more than a quarter of Newcastle United’s 101 league goals since the start of 2016-17 (26/101).

Former Arsenal academy product Isaac Hayden is set to make his first return to the Emirates Stadium today since signing for Newcastle United in the summer of 2016. He’s won a Championship title winners’ medal with the Magpies, become an England under-21 international and now established himself as a Premier League player, with his first top-flight goal coming at Southampton in October.

The Managers

Arsene Wenger

“We have been absolutely very strong at home and I think it’s the basis, the foundation of a good season. We want to continue that. That’s why, despite the fact that we were disappointed that we couldn’t win at Southampton or West Ham, at least we haven’t lost. If we can transform our home games into win, that will not be too bad.

“Newcastle are in a difficult period as well, so they will want to defend well. I watched them against Manchester United and they were quite dangerous going forward as well. They are a team who will certainly be very sound defensively. Benitez has a lot of experience and they will come to the Emirates and certainly try to be organised defensively.”

Rafa Benitez

Benitez has never won away at Arsenal in the Premier League in six attempts (W0 D2 L4) and has managed more away Premier League games there without winning than any other team.

“Arsenal are a fantastic team with a great manager with a lot of experience. On paper some games are more difficult than others, but every game is a challenge for us. We did well at times against Chelsea and Manchester United. We have to be competitive, that is the main thing

The main thing is to analyse what is going on & to try to find solutions. Leicester is a good team & we conceded a late own goal. Against Everton we made a mistake and then couldn’t manage to make a comeback in the 2nd half. We have to learn how to do that if we want to win games. We have to stay calm, keep going and cut out the mistakes. It’s not enough to do well for 15, 30 or 45 minutes. It is a positive, but we have to do it for longer and take our chances. You also need a bit of luck. Soon it will be enough to win.

“We have what we have, we are what we are. That is the reality. We have to stay united if we want to come through this. The target is still 20 points for Christmas, but yes it will be hard.

“With the players we have, the people we have, we stay calm and keep working harder and better. That is the only way.

“I’m not happy with the run we are on at the moment. We are still talking about a long race. We have to go back to the pace that we had before. We don’t give up, we carry on.”

Team News

Arsenal

Shkodran Mustafi (thigh) is back in training today, with Arsene Wenger set to make a decision on whether he play or not today.

Aaron Ramsey will not be available because of the hamstring injury he picked up against Southampton on Sunday. Ramsey is set to be out for around three weeks.

The groin problem that kept Theo Walcott out of the squad for Wednesday’s match against West Ham will once again sideline him today.

Newcastle United

Jonjo Shelvey is suspended after being red carded against Everton on Wednesday. Only one Newcastle player has received more red cards in a single Premier League season than Shelvey this season (2) – David Batty in 1997/98 (3).

Rafa Benitez will need to decide whether Karl Darlow or Rob Elliott starts in goal. Darlow was at fault for Everton’s winning goal in midweek.

Defender Paul Dummett will be in the squad.

Aleksandar Mitrovic has a “problem with his back” and won’t be in the squad.

Spanish full back Jesus Gamez is not in the squad either.

Match Officials

Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistants: Simon Long, Matthew Wilkes
Fourth official: Mike Dean

Prediction

Arsenal to win 3-1.