Mikel Arteta will be aiming for just his second league win as Arsenal boss when his side welcome Newcastle to the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal touched back down on English soil this week after spending five days warm weather training in top of the range Dubai facilities.
The Spaniard will be hoping all that sunshine will be worth while when they make their return to the Emirates after nearly a month away from their North London home.
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The Gunners currently sit 10th in the table, with significant distance between them and the rest of those in the top four rat race. Ten points exactly separate them from fourth placed Chelsea.
With that being said, morale around the Arsenal camp is seemingly higher than it has been for a while as Arteta’s influence is beginning to take shape.
Since Arteta’s first game at the helm against Bournemouth , Arsenal have conceded just one shot after losing possession in their defensive third. Compare that to the Unai Emery regime where Arsenal were conceding shots left right and centre throughout.
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Newcastle will be no push-over, Steve Bruce’s men are unbeaten in their last eight in all competitions and will be out to avenge their opening day home defeat to the Gunners.
Arsenal ran out 1-0 victors at St James Park in August, but their season capitulated in spectacular fashion since then. Newcastle, meanwhile, have been steadily on the rise as of late and now sit on the same points tally as their hosts this weekend.
The Londoners' injury woes continue as Kieran Tierney and Callum Chambers remain sidelined with long-term injuries, the latter being out for the rest of the season. Tierney is anticipating a full return to training in March.
Arteta has however been handed a positive with the return of Sead Kolasinac, Reiss Nelson and Shkodran Mustafi who are all now back, fit and available for selection.
New boys Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares aren’t expected to feature.
Joelinton returned to training this week in the build up of the Magpies trip to North London, after the club's record-signing suffered a rib injury in The FA Cup clash against Oxford United.
Danny Rose and Valentino Lazaro are aiming to get their first full debuts, the former can expect a frosty reception at The Emirates after his years with Tottenham.
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