As the season draws to a close there is still much to play for Arsenal, with attentions turning to St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon when the Gunners face Newcastle.
Mikel Arteta’s side were defeated 2-1 by Villarreal on Thursday night in a Europa League semi-final first leg which showcased many of their defensive deficiencies.
But they will be hoping to get back on track with a confidence-boosting result against Steve Bruce’s side, who most recently secured an impressive point against Liverpool at Anfield.
“From the position they’re in, they’re going to come at us, they’re a really organised team, they’ve been playing much better recently so it will be tough,” said Arteta ahead of the game.
“The amount of games that we are playing, every team has the capacity to make it difficult for you.”
One player who won’t be involved is Joe Willock, who has become an important player for the Magpies since joining on loan from Arsenal in January.
Willock’s goals have been worth eight points to Newcastle so far although he hasn’t started regularly under Bruce.
Meanwhile, Arteta is likely to make several changes for Sunday’s game.
Willian hasn’t been involved for a few games and Arteta may see this as a game where he can impact proceedings.
And the clamour for Gabriel Martinelli to start could provide the perfect opportunity for the Brazilian to feature from the off on Sunday.
At 3pm today until 11:59pm on Monday, all sports channels across the entire Reach network, including football.london, will join the boycott of social media as part of the campaign against online hate.
So far this season players at all of the capital’s top-flight clubs have been subject to horrendous abuse – from Arsenal’s Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Willian to Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham and Reece James to Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.
No dressing room has been spared this disgusting plague. Enough is enough.
That is why the Premier League, FA, Kick It Out and Women’s Super League have been joined by clubs up and down the country as well as organisations from cricket, rugby, cycling and horse racing in staging the boycott. Above all they want the social media platforms to take more responsibility for keeping hate out of our sport.
As journalists this is not a decision we take lightly but we believe it is important that Reach titles add their voices to the calls for greater action against the epidemic of online hate and be a force for good in the communities we serve.
As the nation’s biggest sports publisher we will of course continue to create the outstanding sports content – from Premier League to local matches – for which we are famous. We just won’t be sharing this content on social over the weekend.
Our news accounts will also continue to share the biggest breaking news this weekend, including covering the impact of this boycott.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Willian, Martinelli, Saka; Lacazette.