Arsenal play host to Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium as they complete this weekend's billing of Premier League football on Monday night.
Both sides will enter this game in confident mood on the back of recent good form, with Arsenal looking to cement their spot in the top four, and Newcastle hoping to continue their pull away from the relegation battle.
Following just one defeat in their last six, the Magpies will provide a stern test to the Gunners, who will be looking for their tenth straight home league victory in what would be their best run in over 20 years.
Arsenal are now in the driving seat in the race for the top four as they sit two clear of Manchester United in fifth place. Newcastle on the other hand have eased fears of relegation and Rafa Benitez's men now look more like troubling the top half of the table, credited partly to the January acquisition of Miguel Almiron.
Check out 90min's preview of the encounter below:
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Monday 1st April|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||20:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Emirates Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports Premier League|
Arsenal will have to wait and see on the fitness of midfielder Granit Xhaka, who injured his thigh whilst on international duty last week. The Switzerland man had to be substituted during his side's Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark.
The Gunners will also be without the services of tough tackling midfielder Lucas Torreira, who is serving the second of his three match ban. The Uruguayan was shown a straight red card for a nasty challenge late on in the 1-1 draw away to Spurs at the beginning of March.
There were also concerns over the fitness of Aaron Ramsey after his return from international action, but the Welshman is expected to be fit and available for selection on Monday night.
Newcastle will be without defender Fabian Schar, as he serves the second of his two match ban, which he received for totting up ten yellow cards in the season. However, the Switzerland man would probably have missed out anyway after suffering a concussion on international duty.
Skipper Jamal Lascelles missed the Magpies' last game away to Bournemouth with a knee injury, though he has now recovered and is expected to return to the starting line up.
|Arsenal||Leno; Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Koscielny, Sokratis, Kolasinac; Ramsey, Guendouzi, Ozil; Aubameyang, Lacazette.|
|Newcastle||Dubravka; Yedlin, Lejeune, Lascelles, Fernandez, Ritchie; Hayden, Diame; Almiron, Rondon, Perez.|
Arsenal have won 11 of the last 14 meetings between the two sides, drawing just two. If the Magpies are to take anything away from north London, they will need to improve their scoring record at the Emirates, with just one goal in their last four visits - that coming in a 4-1 defeat.
Only once in the last 15 years have Newcastle managed to score more than one goal away at Arsenal and that was in their 7-3 defeat in 2012.
When the two sides met earlier this season, Mesut Ozil marked his return to the Arsenal team by leading his side into a two goal lead. Ciaran Clark's 90th minute reply proved just to be a consolation, as the Gunners came out 2-1 winners.
In the entire history of this fixture, the two sides are fairly evenly matched with Arsenal securing 76 wins, whilst Newcastle have 67. The north east side have certainly had the worst of it in recent times though, having picked up only four wins in this tie since the turn of the millennium.
Both Arsenal and Newcastle have been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season, as you never seem to know which side is going to turn up. However, both teams have tended to produce their best performances at home, as is proven by their recent records.
Despite the Gunners winning four of their last six, only one of these victories came away from home in a narrow 2-1 victory at Huddersfield.
Likewise, the Magpies come into this game on the back of an excellent recent run, having picked up 11 points from their last six games. True to form though, only two of these points were picked up on the road.
Aside from the unstoppable top two in Liverpool and Man City, the Gunners have the best home record in the league. They have lost just one game at the Emirates in the Premier League this season, which came on the opening day to title-holders City.
Despite only mustering two away wins this season, Newcastle have proven themselves to be difficult to beat on the road. Picking up seven draws away from home this season, their away record in the league comes out at a respectable mid-table.
Here is how the two sides have faired in their last five league fixtures:
|Arsenal 2-0 Man Utd (10/03)||Bournemouth 2-2 Newcastle (16/03)|
|Tottenham 1-1 Arsenal (02/03)||Newcastle 3-2 Everton (09/03)|
|Arsenal 5-1 Bournemouth (27/02)||West Ham 2-0 Newcastle (02/03)|
|Arsenal 2-0 Southampton (24/02)||Newcastle 2-0 Burnley (26/02)|
|Huddersfield 1-2 Arsenal (09/02)||Newcastle 2-0 Huddersfield (23/02)|
Arsenal are out of the top four places before this game has kicked off, thanks to Manchester United managing to overcome Watford at home. The Gunners will be all the more motivated to return to the Champions League places and will be looking to put Newcastle to the sword.
However, Newcastle seem to have turned a corner since the close of the January transfer window and have managed to overcome their major shortcoming from the first half of the season - their ability to score goals. The dynamism of their front three has caused problems for teams of late and they could cause trouble for an occasionally fragile Arsenal defence.
The question is whether it will be enough to overcome Arsenal's own attacking threat with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang making a formidable strike partnership.
Their form at the Emirates this season has been sublime and, given the extra drive they will have due to the tight race for the top four, Arsenal should have enough to beat the Magpies.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Newcastle