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Preview: Arsenal vs Newcastle United, Wenger to field an unchanged XI?

North London side Arsenal welcome Newcastle United to the Emirates on Saturday afternoon, as they look to extend their lead on top of the Premier League table with a win over the Magpies now. The Gunners will go into this one at the back of a win, as they beat Bournemouth 2-0 in their last game to go to the top of the points table and have been in really good form in recent weeks, with just one loss in their last five games in all competitions. On the other hand, the visitors are not in the best of form themselves at the moment and are struggling to get back to winning ways, with just a couple of wins in the same number of matches.

With Manchester City and Leicester City only able to manage a 0-0 draw in their game at the KP Stadium, the pair still remain on Arsenal’s tail with the title still anybodys to win at present, depending on how they perform in the second half of the campaign.

There is no doubt that Arsene Wenger’s side would not want to let go of this opportunity that they have to finally win the league this time around after more than a decade, with some of the top clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool still struggling for consistency this season. The French manager’s side will now try their best to keep winning their upcoming matches and can hopefully add another three points to their tally in their first game of the new year at home.

Also, the Londoners will know that they have to face Barcelona in the knockout stages of the Champions League and will have a tough task at hand to beat the reigning champions of Spain and Europe and go through, with every game a must win game for them if they wish to win some silverware this season.

Further, with the transfer window also open now once again, a few more additions to the squad would surely help their cause and it will be quite interesting to see whether Wenger finally decides to spend money on some outfield players this time around or not, after a rather quiet summer window.

Former Chelsea man Petr Cech was the only player signed back then, though it has really fortified the back-line, yet injuries have once again troubled Arsenal and there is a need for additional reinforcements to the squad, as soon as possible. 

On head to head clashes, the hosts have a huge advantage as well, as they have won all five of the two side’s previous meetings which would surely be a huge boost for them, as they go into the game looking to win it once again.

Arsenal still have seven of their main players out injured, including some of their key stars who will really be missed and it would be interesting to see how they cope with these problems into the second half of the current season, in which they have done really well till now.

One man to watch out for in this fixture would be France international Olivier Giroud, who has had a great time playing against this opposition. Manager Steve McClaren would be aware that the striker has scored a total of eight goals in seven Premier League games against his side on previous occasions.

Expected lineup of Arsenal: 

Petr Cech; Hector Bellerin, Gabriel Paulista, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal; Mathieu Flamini, Aaron Ramsey; Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Joel Campbell; Olivier Giroud

 

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