Newcastle vs Arsenal preview, betting tips and prediction: Gunners face tough test against buoyant Toon
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Arsenal make the long trip north to St James’ Park to face Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon, and they will meet a side full of confidence and gunning for a fourth consecutive home win. The Gunners have found their feet after a tough run, but their focus has not been on the Premier League for some time; with the Europa League their only route back into the Champions League. Arsene Wenger does have a good record in the North East, but Rafa Benitez has set the ball rolling on Tyneside and the Magpies, who will be well equipped to pounce if their visitors are not completely at it this weekend. Don’t forget your Coral free bets!
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Just before Christmas, life was looking bleak for the Magpies; they were heavily embroiled in the relegation battle and without a win for nine games. But since beating West Ham on December 23, they really have not looked back, with just three defeats to their name in this calendar year. They will have to face Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal’s record signing, who has scored six goals since arriving from Borussia Dortmund despite being ineligible in Europe. But Newcastle are among the worst sides to face in the league right now, having beaten Leicester to all but assure themselves of safety, and that could tell again on Sunday.
Rafa Benitez insists Newcastle are not safe until they reach 40 points, but they are more or less there already, with just two Premier League defeats in their last 14 games, since they faced Arsenal in December.
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Benitez has named the same team for the last three games, and he could do so again. Islam Slimani returns to the squad having been unavailable against Leicester.
Arsenal will be without Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who is suffering with a knee injury.