As the saying goes, “there’s always light at the end of the tunnel,” and in the case of Arsenal’s Premier League title hopes, “there’s still a glimmer of hope.” To achieve this extraordinary goal, Arsenal will have to overcome four barriers, including Newcastle United at St James Park.
Manchester City’s recent performance has been astonishing, and they are now four points clear at the top of the table after defeating Leeds Utd at the Etihad. Arsenal fans were hoping for an interesting twist of events with the return of Sam Allardyce. However, it quickly became clear that fairy tales don’t exist when facing City’s ridiculous amount of talent and depth. City’s most crucial phase of the season is approaching, with the two Champions League semi-final ties against Real Madrid being sandwiched between a tricky game away to Everton, who continue to fight for survival in the Premier League.
However, none of that matters if Arsenal are unable to take three points from Newcastle United, who are having an incredible season under their new Saudi lead ownership. They have backed Eddie Howe to the hills, and it’s clear to see that he is the man to take them to the next level. Newcastle face Arsenal having scored 20 goals in their last six games, with players like Wilson and Isak on top form. They are also the best defensive side in the league, having conceded only 27 goals all season.
Arsenal have their work cut out for them as they continue to work things out without William Saliba, who will most likely miss the remaining games of the season. The worrying sight of Gabriel leaving the pitch against Chelsea adds further concerns. However, there is hope that he can make a last-minute return following news that he is fighting to pass his fitness test.
Despite difficulties at the back, Arteta has many options in the attacking half of the pitch, with players like Trossard continuing to impress. This adds competition down the left-hand side, which should get the best out of Martinelli. The impressive performances of Martin Odegaard and Grant Xhaka against Chelsea are also things to look out for.
The Chelsea victory taught us that this group of players often performs best when they can play without added pressure. To beat Newcastle at St James Park, the Gunners must start quickly and score early to keep the fans quiet. They need to play with the same intensity and high tempo as they did against Chelsea. While Newcastle are a different kettle of fish compared to Chelsea, the circumstances this time around are different from last season. Last season, the pressure of needing to win at Newcastle meant effectively missing out on Champions League football. However, with the “glimmer of hope” motivating them, the Gunners have a different mindset this time around.
Written by: Farhan Ahmed (@GunnerSince96)