Mikel Arteta’s men head to St James’ Park to take on Eddie Howe’s nascent army of Toons in front of a packed house in a game where just one win will be enough to propel rivals Tottenham into the Champions League to beat
There is no margin for error for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal.
The Gunners’ 3-0 derbies in north London and Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Burnley on Sunday means that while the fate of the top four is largely in their own hands, only perfection has been in the last two Premiers -League matches guarantee a return to the top of European football and the Champions League.
But it won’t be easy against a Newcastle United side that have been upwardly mobile under Eddie Howe, a side that has been re-energized since their new owners injected the money in January. In a white-hart atmosphere at St James’ Park, Arsenal need to be as good as they can if they want to walk away with all three points.
Will they too? Or will Arteta’s men, struggling with injuries and battling at the highest stakes, give their fiercest rivals the edge before heading into the final day.
Some of our Mirror Football writers made their predictions ahead of Monday night’s showdown…
Mikel Arteta will rely on his injury-struggling side to trump the Magpies as they look to reclaim fourth place from Tottenham on Monday night. With Gabriel and Benjamin White doubts about the game and Rob Holding suspended, it’s hard to imagine the Gunners keeping a clean sheet at St James’ Park in what is sure to be a boost for the final home game of the season.
The onus is on Eddie Nketiah in form to continue his good run and inspire the visitors to victory, and Arsenal should have enough quality to defeat a Newcastle side who have lost their last two games to Manchester City and Liverpool.
Newcastle United 1-2 Arsenal
I’m betting my money on the Gunners. Newcastle have lost their last two games and manager Eddie Howe will be eyeing next season after securing Premier League status.
Arsenal have also had 18 of their 21 league wins this season against sides outside the so-called ‘Big Six’. And they have responded well to poor results before, recently winning at Stamford Bridge after suffering three straight defeats.
The Champions League is within reach for the Gunners. You cannot afford to let this opportunity go to waste as both Manchester United and Tottenham are expected to improve next season. Arteta will be aware of that.
Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal
If Arsenal are reasonable they will win the game 2-0. But I don’t think they will be.
Granit Xhaka will be given his marching orders after about half an hour for cutting Allan Saint-Maximin in half on his break attempt, Cedric will receive another penalty for shoving someone into the box, Callum Wilson will on his first start bagging a brace back from injury and Mikel Arteta will blame referees Ant and Dec, Jimmy Nail, Billy Elliott and Monty the Magpie.
Newcastle 2-0 Arsenal
Newcastle have been in excellent form at home since the turn of the year, losing just once at St James’ Park and Eddie Howe seemed to be turning the tide and creating a different kind of atmosphere in the North East. I can’t see them losing here even though the Magpies don’t have much to offer.
Meanwhile, Arsenal need to win to hold the fate of the top four in their own hands following Tottenham’s win over Burnley, but I think they could fall short. The derby defeat in north London will have shaken their confidence and Newcastle will be hoping to capitalize on that in their final home game of the season.
Newcastle 1-1 Arsenal
The Gunners have been impressive in their ability to produce results under Mikel Arteta and even with the added pressure of sitting fifth, I imagine his side come out on top.
Newcastle’s home form has been superb lately and St James’ Park will rock for the last time this season, but two straight defeats have shaken the confidence of Eddie Howe and company.
Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal’s entire season has been about destroying the curse of narrative, only for it to sneak up on them when they think they’ve turned the corner.
Nothing would embody more than one of their own ex-players gunned them down after a sale that has so far looked extremely smart, only for Spurs to drop points on the final day at Norwich for Mikel Arteta’s side to finish fourth anyway
Newcastle 2-2 Arsenal