Back on top for about a day, Arsenal is a win away from locking in second place at a minimum. And while Manchester City’s machine-like march to what could be a fifth title in six seasons, anything is still possible in the Premier League. But for Arsenal to stay within touching distance they will first need to do what few have managed, a road win at St. James’ Park.
These two sides met back in early January with Newcastle sitting deep leading to a rather dull nil-nil. Arsenal dropped the match against Newcastle to close out last season 2-0, but prior to that the Gunners had won eight straight across competitions. Arsenal could clinch a top-two spot, while Newcastle are looking to edge closer to a spot in next season’s Champions League.
Q&A with the Opposition: 5 questions with Coming Home Newcastle
- Gabriel Martinelli
- Eddie Nketiah
- Reiss Nelson
- Fabio Vieira
- Emile Smith Rowe
- Thomas Partey
- Kieran Tierney
- Rob Holding
- Matt Turner
- Left Out: William Saliba (injury), Takehiro Tomiyasu (injury), & Mohamed Elneny (injury)
- Gabriel exiting Wednesday night’s match was yet another stumble in this back half of the season. And for all the improvement the squad has made this season, they simply can’t afford to lose players from the starting XI. Gabriel’s status for Sunday will be decided either Saturday or before the match, but it’s clear Arsenal has to bring in another senior, experienced CB for the Champions League/Premier League weeks next year.
- Kiwior came in for Holding and looked very capable. If that new CB arrives this summer that could end up being Holding’s exit unless the club sends him on loan for half a season in case he needs to be recalled due to injuries. If Kiwior can continue his development and start on occasion next season he will be another great find by the club.
- Like Holding, Thomas Partey struggled during Arsenal’s four-match slide. Jorginho looked far more comfortable and should remain in the starting lineup for Newcastle. Partey shouldn’t be benched for the remainder of the season, but his dip in form, alongside the age of this trio (with Xhaka) highlights the need for fresh life in Arsenal’s midfield.
- Trossard likely gets the start again after Wednesday. His ability to interchange and connect passes in tight situations (which Newcastle will present) should give him the nod. Then Martinelli subs in for the last half hour as we saw against Chelsea.
How to watch
Sunday (5/7) at 11:30 am ET / 8:30 pm PT on the USA Network.
Arsenal - 1
Newcastle - 1
Despite Arsenal’s improvement against Chelsea, it’s hard to see this as a clear victory with both starting center backs a doubt. It seems very unlikely that City drop two matches in what little is left in the season. But if Arsenal can score early and draw Newcastle out, that may open the game a bit more for them to enjoy space behind their backline. Expect a tense, tight, entertaining match.