Arsenal vs. Newcastle: Match Preview

Leapfrog was introduced as a training regimen, to great effect - Scott Heavey

Newcastle come to town looking for...nothing, really

Arsenal v. Newcastle United
English Premier League
Emirates Stadium, London
Monday, April 28, 2014
Noon PT Fresno/2PM PT Downers Grove, IL/3PM PT Slaughter Beach, DE/8PM BST London

This game, on the face of it, should be and probably is meaningless for Newcastle.  They're safe from relegation, they're not qualifying for Europe, they're basically doing whatever the English equivalent of "playing out the string" is.  They're not playing it out all that well, either - in their last six, they've won one and lost their last five in a row.

However, this is Arsenal; this is a team that tends to play to the level of their opposition far more than their talent would seem they would need to.  A fair amount of that talent, though, is back for this game - Ramsey and Özil are both back and rounding back into shape, and the team as a whole is looking much more January than March, which is a good way to finish out the season.

And then there's Newcastle.  Remember Arsenal's injury issues, and how we've all been annoyed at how much time Arsenal has lost to injury this season?  Look at the Newcastle injury list for Monday:

Obertan
Santon
Ameobi
Taylor
Sissoko
Cisse

And both Ben Arfa and de Jong are iffy for the game tomorrow, as well.  As we've seen this season, any team would struggle without a few of their key players; Newcastle are missing 60% of their outfield regulars at this point.

So this sets up well for an Arsenal team that still has something to play for and something to prove; three more points and Arsenal gets closer to the legendary Arsenal Fourth Place Trophy. At the time of writing, Manchester City are leading Crystal Palace, and if that result holds Arsenal 's highest probable finish will be fourth; it may not be what we wanted in August, but it's still something worth having, so, Arsenal, go get it.

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