Having won three games on the bounce for the second time this season, confidence and squad harmony amongst the players seem to be through the roof at the moment. Now in the top half for the first time since November, ten points off the bottom three and three points behind ninth placed Everton with a superior goal difference and a game in hand. Rafa Benitez is still insistent on reaching the forty point mark but I think it is now safe to say that we will be a Premier League team next season.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s match where Arsenal take the 280 mile trip to St. James’ Park, one out of the ordinary statistic is that Arsenal have won all of the last ten meetings between the two clubs, a run dating back to March 2012 when Thomas Vermaelen scored a last minute winner after Hatem Ben Arfa gave the Magpies a first half lead. Also with regards to previous meetings with Arsenal in recent history, this will be the first time that we will be playing Arsenal at home following the sad and sudden death of Cheick Tiote last year. Many Newcastle fans will always remember his only goal for the club which was the wonder-strike to equalise late on in this fixture seven years ago to break the record for the greatest comeback in Premier League history.
Facts and Figures
Arsenal wins: 75
Newcastle wins: 66
Arsenal wins: 26
Newcastle wins: 9
Premier League at St. James’ Park
Arsenal wins: 9
Newcastle wins: 5
Previous ten (all competitions)
Arsenal wins: 10 (23 goals)
Newcastle wins: 0 (6 goals)
Biggest win (in this fixture)
Newcastle United 7 - 0 Arsenal (03/10/1925)
A Bob Clark hat-trick was of key influence as Newcastle obtained their biggest win at home to Arsenal. It was a fairly average season for Newcastle in 1925-26 as the achievement of a 10th place finish in the league was their worst finish following the Great War. As for Arsenal, they had a much better season despite the 7-0 defeat as they finished second and five points behind the league winners, Huddersfield.
Biggest defeat (in this fixture)
Newcastle United 0 – 4 Arsenal (27/10/2010)
Unfortunately we will have to wait for another week at least before we can possibly celebrate mathematical survival but that does not mean that we can get one step closer to that achievement. Elsewhere over the weekend, Southampton are visited by Chelsea in the Saturday lunchtime kick off. As for the teams around us in the table, Everton, Bournemouth, Watford and Brighton are all playing away from home respectively against Everton, Liverpool, Huddersfield and Crystal Palace.
With regards to Arsenal’s form away from home of late, a hopeful statistic for us is that Arsenal have lost all four of their away league games since the turn of the calendar year and have only won one in the last eight of those away league matches – a run stretching back to November. Arsene Wenger has recently stated that the recent crisis at the Emirates Stadium has passed but, I think, this is a decent time to play against them especially as they seem to be putting most of their attention into winning the Europa League. All in all this is a really good chance to stop Arsenal making it eleven wins in a row against us.
Following Jonjo Shelvey’s and Ayoze Perez’s goal against Leicester at the weekend, Newcastle has now surpassed scoring 1,200 Premier League goals. Soon after the season comes to a close, I will be writing a series of articles where I will be looking back on the certain landmarks of our Premier League goals to celebrate this milestone and achievement.