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Newcastle United VS Arsenal - English Premier League, Match Preview
Match Time：5/2/2021 21:00 Sunday (GMT+8)
English Premier League -- Newcastle United VS Arsenal
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Newcastle United take on Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday, with the hosts looking to take another step towards surviving relegation.
Arsenal, meanwhile, will be looking to remain in the top half of the table ahead of their Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal on Thursday.
After a winless run of six league games saw Newcastle slip perilously closer to the relegation zone, Steve Bruce's side have since taken eight points from their last four matches to move nine points clear of 18th-placed Fulham with only five matches remaining. Within that run there have been two impressive draws against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, with Arsenal loanee Joe Willock scoring dramatic late equalisers on both occasions.
While it may be a stretch to argue that Newcastle deserved a point at Anfield last weekend given that the Reds had 22 shots and 69% possession across the match, with Jurgen Klopp's faltering outfit missing several straightforward chances, the Magpies demonstrated their increasing resolve by remaining in the game. Substitute Callum Wilson thought he had scored an injury-time equaliser after racing in behind Liverpool's high line before bundling the ball over the line, but saw his strike disallowed due to handball.
However, the visitors were not to be denied gaining a crucial point, with Willock's deflected effort five minutes into added time stealing a share of the spoils. Bruce's side cannot mathematically guarantee survival this weekend, but should they defeat Arsenal, Fulham lose at Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion fail to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers, then they would be 12 points clear of the bottom three with only 12 points left to play for, which would all but seal their status as a Premier League side for another campaign. In truth, it could be a perfect time for Newcastle to be playing Arsenal, whose season largely rests on their progress in the Europa League. The Gunners lost 2-1 away to Villarreal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday, with Nicolas Pepe claiming a crucial away goal from the penalty spot after two first-half strikes from the Spanish outfit had been compounded by Dani Ceballos's red card shortly after the break.
Mikel Arteta must quickly turn his attention back to domestic matters, then, ahead of Sunday's trip to the North East. In truth, Arsenal have little left to play for in the Premier League this season, with perhaps avoiding falling into the bottom half of the table the Spaniard's only real concern.
Should Aston Villa avoid defeat at Everton on Saturday, the Gunners will head into this match in 11th place, so while Europe will rightly remain their priority, they will still have plenty of pride on the line against a side guaranteed to be fully focused.
Newcastle United Premier League form:
Arsenal Premier League form:
Arsenal form (all competitions):
Bruce revealed in his press conference on Friday that he feels the "time is right" for his top goalscorer Wilson to start against Arsenal, after the England forward suggested his hamstring issue is firmly behind him with a bright cameo at Liverpool last time out. Joelinton may drop out of the side as a result, unless Bruce chooses to switch to a back four system. Recent goalscoring hero Willock is unavailable to feature against his parent club, while Ryan Fraser, Karl Darlow, Isaac Hayden and Jamaal Lascelles have all been ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury.
Fabian Schar will not be considered for selection after his recent knee operation, but the Switzerland defender did play for 45 minutes in a reserve match during the week and will hope to be involved in the first team at some point before the end of the season, with the Euro 2020 tournament in mind. Arsenal, meanwhile, welcomed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and David Luiz back to their matchday squad in Villarreal on Thursday and both may start here in order to gain crucial match fitness. Alexandre Lacazette and Kieran Tierney are close to returning from hamstring and knee injuries respectively, but both are likely to be spared for Thursday's second leg.
Ceballos will almost certainly start given that he is suspended against Villarreal, while the likes of Matthew Ryan, Hector Bellerin, Gabriel, Cedric, Mohamed Elneny, Gabriel Martinelli and Willian may also be handed starts as Arteta shuffles his pack.
Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Fernandez, Clark, Dummett; Murphy, Shelvey, Longstaff, Ritchie; Almiron, Saint-Maximin; Wilson
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Cedric; Elneny, Ceballos; Willian, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli; Aubameyang
Prediction: Newcastle United 2-1 Arsenal
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