Newcastle United vs. Arsenal: Players to Watch as Gunners Seek Top Four Finish

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott (Google Creative Commons)

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott (Google Creative Commons)

Arsenal will travel to St. James’ Park on Sunday to face Newcastle United in a match that will decide whether the Gunners get a spot in next season’s Champions League or if they will play in the Europa League.

Coming off a brilliant 4-1 victory over FA Cup champions Wigan Athletic on Tuesday, Arsenal sit in fourth place in the table with 70 points and can guarantee themselves a fourth place finish with a victory over Newcastle. The Gunners can still finish fourth with a loss, but they will need Tottenham Hotspur, who are currently in fifth with 69 points, to either draw or lose at home to Sunderland. Arsenal also have a chance of finishing third if they win and Chelsea lose at home to Everton in their season finale.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League matches and will look to continue the streak as they head north to Newcastle this weekend to take on a depleted Magpies side.

Newcastle have severely underachieved this season after an impressive 2011-2012 campaign in which they finished fifth and qualified for the Europa League. Currently in 13th place with 41 points, the Magpies are safe from relegation, but could finish as low as 17th if they lose against Arsenal and the four teams below them all win.

The side have been plagued by injuries throughout the season, which has contributed to their standing. Not to mention they lost their best player and main goalscorer, Demba Ba, to Chelsea in the January transfer window. Luckily for the Geordies, they will get a fresh start next season after narrowly escaping relegation thanks to a big win over QPR last weekend.

On Sunday, Newcastle will have nothing to play for but pride, while Arsenal come in with much to gain and much to lose. Let’s take a look at some of the key players to watch in this weekend’s finale:

Theo Walcott

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