Of all the teams to be battling against each other for fourth place on the final day of the season, it happens to be fierce rivals Arsenal and Tottenham and, although the Gunners occupy the better position at the start of the day, they must be wary of any complacency when so much is at stake.
Victory for Arsenal at St James’ Park has become rare over recent years but one on Sunday would secure a place in next season’s Champions League, regardless of Tottenham’s score. However, should Arsene Wenger’s men slip up, Spurs are in pole position to steal fourth spot, currently sitting just one point behind in fifth.
Without getting ahead of themselves, the Gunners also still remain in with a chance of finishing third and heading straight into the Champions League group stages, potentially via a third-place play-off with Chelsea depending on the weekend’s results.
Either way, a lot is riding on the outcome of Arsenal’s clash with a Newcastle side who have been victorious in four of their past six matches on home soil. With safety already assured, Alan Pardew’s men have little riding on the match but will be hopeful of building on their first win in five against QPR last weekend.
Arsenal will be boosted by the return of Olivier Giroud from suspension while ‘keeper Rob Elliot will be forced to sit out the match for the Magpies after picking up two yellow cards at Loftus Road.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 4pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Arsenal 7 (Walcott 3, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski, Giroud 2), Newcastle 3 (Ba 2, Marveaux), Premier League, December 2012
Arsenal 2 (Van Persie, Vermaelen), Newcastle 1 (Ben Arfa), Premier League, March 2012
Newcastle 0, Arsenal 0, Premier League, August 2011
- Arsenal have only one once at St James’ Park since 2004.
- Under Arsene Wenger, the Gunners have won five of 15 games away to Newcastle.
- When the sides met earlier this season, Arsenal triumphed 7-3 in what was the only time Newcastle have conceded seven goals in a Premier League match.
- Should Newcastle fire blanks on Sunday, it will be the first time they’ve failed to score in three successive Premier League matches since August 2007.
- Magpies ‘keeper Steve Harper will play his final match for the club after joining them in 1993.
Newcastle to win: 6.00
Arsenal to win: 1.57
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 at, highlights on BBC1 at 10.25pm.