Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has called on his side to out in a solid defensive performance against a Newcastle side smarting from the agonizing 4-3 loss to Manchester United.
The two teams clash in the late game of the English Premier League with Arsenal looking to keep up the pressure for a top-four place and beyond.
The Gunners are currently in seventh on 30 points, having played a game less than the likes of Tottenham, Everton and West Brom. Newcastle are still hovering above the relegation zone, in 15th on 20 points.
"They always looked dangerous going forward, and only lost in the last minute in a game that they could have won as well," Wenger said of Newcastle's defeat to United on Boxing Day.
"They made Manchester United look vulnerable defensively. I expect us to have a good defensive performance without forgetting to play our usual game going forward."
Wenger believes his side will get better in the second half of the season and has backed his team to make up for lost ground, starting with a win over Newcastle. "We will (do better in the second half of the season," Wenger said. "We are behind our schedule and we have to make up the points we miss at the moment. We just want to win the next game.
"Football is not as mathematical as that. We have played many away games, we have a good home run until the end of the season. Our team has grown together, because we rebuilt the team at the start of the season. Overall what is important for us is to improve the quality of our displays and focus just on that. Points will come."
Alan Pardew is convinced Newcastle can hurt the Gunners at the Emirates, with the Newcastle manager ready to take advantage of Arsenal frailties in defense, just like they did against United.
"It will be a similar scenario," Pardew said. "Both teams play a little bit differently, as you would imagine. They will match us up in midfield -- we won't get as much joy in that area -- but I still think we can hurt them.
"The league suggests that Man United have stronger assets, and we need to focus on the weaknesses of Arsenal and try to hurt them."
Arsenal will have Olivier Giroud and Tomas Rosicky available after the duo missed the Wigan game through illness, while Abou Diaby and Andre Santos are expected to return to training next week.
Newcastle have several worries Vurnon Anita ruled out through injury along with Jonas Guttierez, while Mike Williamson is suspended. Cheick Tiote, though, returns after serving a one-match suspension.
Expected lineups: Arsenal: Szczesny; Gibbs, Vermaelen, Mertescaker, Sagna; Arteta, Wilshere; Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski; Walcott.
Newcastle: Krul; Simpson, Tavernier, Coliccini, Santon; Tiote, Perch, Marveaux, Bigirimana, Cisse; Ba.
Prediction: 2-1 to Arsenal
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