Arsenal have a difficult test on Sunday as they travel to the North East to take on one of the Premier League’s form teams in Newcastle United.
Alan Pardew’s Magpies have emerged victorious in seven of their last nine Premier League matches, but were thankful for Stoke City’s loss of discipline and some very generous refereeing decisions on Boxing Day. All the same, this a great run, which has helped them keep up the pace with the pace setters, and victory here would put them just three points behind their opponents.
The visitors ensured a return to the Premier League summit with victory at West Ham United, which was deserved but perhaps more hard-earned than it should have been. The game saw Theo Walcott continue his excellent comeback from injury with another brace away from home, and there was also time for Lukas Podolski to return to the scoresheet following his long injury lay-off.
Cheick Tiote returns for Newcastle after a one-match ban, but Jonas Gutierrez and Ryan Taylor are unavailable because of injury.
Arsenal suffered a blow at Upton Park as Aaron Ramsey was forced off, and he will miss this trip. However, Jack Wilshere does come back from suspension.
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