It’s must-win territory for Arsenal in their penultimate game of the Premier League season as anything less than three points against Newcastle United on Monday night and a top-four finish will no longer be in their hands.
Tottenham Hotspur ramped up the pressure on the Gunners with a 1-0 win over Burnley to place themselves in pole position to finish in the final Champions League qualification spot by opening up a two-point lead and slightly improving on their already superior goal difference.
Although, for Arsenal, the mission is the same as it was after the final whistle blew in the 3-0 North London Derby defeat on Thursday night; Beat Newcastle, as well as Everton to be back at Europe’s top table for the first time in half a decade when everything is all said and done.
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A repeat of the 2-0 scorelines from the reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium this season and the corresponding fixture at St James’ Park last season will be exactly what the doctor has ordered to ensure Arsenal regain control of the top-four race heading into the final day.
As usual, before the big Premier League game, Mikel Arteta and his coaching staff put the Gunners squad through their paces during a training session at London Colney on Sunday afternoon and there has been media footage released to provide a clue as to what shape the players are in.
Speaking ahead of the trip to St James’ Park, Arteta said he would have answers today (Sunday) regarding the fitness of defensive pair Benjamin White and Gabriel Magalhaes. With that said, judging by the training pictures it could be safe to assume that it’s touch and go with neither being spotted in the session.
Although, the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, Nuno Tavares, Aaron Ramsdale, Bernd Leno, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Granit Xhaka, Martin Odegaard, Mohamed Elneny, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Alexandre Lacazette, Emile Smith Rowe, Cedric Soares, Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah all trained.
Whilst football.london understands that other than the early recall of a goalkeeper in exceptional circumstances, no other player who has been out on loan is permitted to return outside of a window and play first-team football for the Gunners, this Premier League ruling doesn’t apply to Jonathan Dinzeyi.
This is because the defender – who arrived on a free transfer from Tottenham in the summer of 2020 – returned to Arsenal in the January transfer window following a loan spell with Carlisle United and as he is included in the club’s updated squad list, he could be drafted in to replace the suspended Rob Holding in the matchday squad.
Dinzeyi was one of several youngsters called up alongside Salah-Eddine, Charlie Patino, Zak Swanson and Marcelo Flores.