Arsenal Perspective: James McNicholas, Gunnerblog.
Arsenal are in the unusual position of going in to the New Year with no real injury problems. Lukasz Fabianski is still recovering from surgery, and Andre Santos and Abou Diaby are not yet fit to start, but other than that they have a clean bill of health. Crucially, Olivier Giroud has recovered from illness, and should come in to oust Theo Walcott from that coveted central spot.
Despite mixed form in Europe and in cup competitions, Arsenal have now picked up three league wins on the spin and are suddenly looking much healthier. However, Boxing Day wins for West Brom, Everton, Chelsea and Spurs mean they simply cannot afford to drop any points.
Incredibly, considering how many times they've played each other, Arsenal and Newcastle are currently level, with 66 wins each after 170 encounters in all competitions. In recent years, Arsenal have dominated, and will be hoping to continue that trend on Saturday.
Olivier Giroud to score at least twice at 7.00 - The Frenchman has been on a mini-drought of late, but I'm backing him to get back on the scoring trail in style.
Demba Ba to score at 3.70 - How often do we see a player score against the club they're linked with? Ba will be eager to show his worth and I fancy him to nick one for Newcastle.
Santi Cazorla to score from outside the penalty box at 9.00 - The Spaniard sometimes looks more threatening from thirty yards than he does from 3. Although he's missed a couple of sitters this season, he is capable of the spectacular, and is always a good bet to launch one from long range.
Score Prediction: Arsenal 2 - 1 Newcastle (8.00)
Newcastle perspective: Mark Jensen, The Mag
Injuries continue to pile up for Alan Pardew, with Anita and Gutierrez now added to the list and Williamson suspended. I doubt anybody will return from injury so the only bright spot is Cheick Tiote who returns after suspension.
Performances have improved recently with vital wins against Wigan & QPR, whilst battling displays against the two Manchester clubs deserved at least a point. Newcastle’s defeat at Old Trafford, despite taking the lead three times, showed the current defensive deficiencies.
Ten defeats in Newcastle’s last twelve visits to the Emirates (in all competitions) doesn’t make good reading, though United were unlucky to go down to an injury time defeat last season.
Over 2.5 Goals at 5.75 - three goals in the first half at Old Trafford and could have been more.
Cisse to score anytime at 4.50 – the striker is starting to show signs of his best form
Newcastle to win at 8.00 – we will play with a lack of fear again as we nothing to lose. There will be goals and an NUFC win at 8.00 looks value.
Score Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Newcastle (22.00)