Newcastle United have lost their last five Premier League meetings with Arsenal, but will leapfrog them in the table should they claim victory at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
This is a huge game for the home side, whose defeat last weekend at Stoke City was met with yet more criticism for of their leaky defence as the Potters – and Peter Crouch in particular – were allowed to bully them throughout a humiliating first period.
Despite a spirited second half showing, Arsene Wenger’s position as manager again came under severe scrutiny in the aftermath, and Tuesday’s comfortable success against Galatasaray in the Champions League will soon be forgotten if they cannot find some consistency in the league.
It has been a wonderful couple of months for Newcastle, but the way they ended leaders Chelsea’s unbeaten record last time out is clearly their biggest achievement to date this season, as Jose Mourinho’s side were added to a growing list of scalps.
Papiss Cisse is being carefully managed by Alan Pardew, but he seems to have rediscovered the predatory instincts he earned many plaudits for in his first few months at the club, representing a terrific option from the bench.
Arsenal have problems in defence, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal both injured while Calum Chambers is suspended. Aaron Ramsey is also missing due to a hamstring problem.
Midfielder Moussa Sissoko and defender Steven Taylor are suspended for Newcastle, but Mehdi Abeid is likely to return from a toe injury.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Arsenal