Follow all the action as Newcastle host Arsenal in the Premier League this evening.
Mikel Arteta’s side know only victory will ensure that the top-four race remains in their hands heading into the final day of the season. The Gunners currently trail Tottenham by two points but have a game in hand over Antonio Conte’s side. It will take a tremendous display of mettle to recover from a harrowing 3-0 defeat against Spurs in last week’s north London derby, though. Rob Holding’s suspension added to Arteta’s woes, with doubts over the fitness of Gabriel Magalhaes leaving the Gunners desperately short in defence.
Newcastle have little left to play for but pride, with their impressive upturn in form under Eddie Howe long assuring the Magpies of safety. They will be keen to put on a show in their final home game of the season, though, especially after suffering back-to-back defeats against Liverpool and Manchester City. Prior to that, Newcastle had won their last four league games in succession and there is no doubt that this will be a huge test for Arsenal at such a pivotal stage of their season.
Follow all the latest updates below:
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta ‘excited’ by ‘opportunity’ to secure top four finish
The Gunners travel to Newcastle on Monday evening for their penultimate game of the season locked in a battle for fourth place with neighbours Tottenham, who kept up the heat by following up Thursday’s 3-0 north London derby triumph with a 1-0 win over Burnley on Sunday.
However, asked if fifth would be something to celebrate, Arteta was unequivocal.
He said: “No. We want to be playing in the Champions League, and that’s the end. We’ve come so far.”
Michael Jones16 May 2022 18:20
Arteta on losing north London derby
Arsenal’s hopes to secure a top four spot took a hit on Thursday night as they sank to a 3-0 defeat away to Tottenham in the north London derby.
Mikel Arteta gave his reaction to the performance which saw the Gunners go down to 10-men in the 33rd minute after Rob Holding’s red card.
“We started the game extremely well,” he sai. “That we conceded the first goal and the way we conceded after that decision and obviously after the game, got into a situation that is difficult to judge or assess, but I said it, I was really proud of the players, how they tried to handle the situation, but obviously very disappointed with the result.
“Thursday was another [low moment]. Obviously losing a derby is always painful and having been through the situation we went in the game, it’s like that, but as well, you learn a lot probably more than with any victory, so it’s good to go through those moments sometimes.”
Michael Jones16 May 2022 18:15
Howe credits Arteta’s performance at Arsenal
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe – recently nominated for the Premier League manager of the year award – was asked about his opposite number tonight and what he thinks of the job Mikel Arteta has done as the man in charge of Arsenal.
“I think sometimes with trying to judge how a manager has performed, it’s very, very difficult, because results don’t always tell the whole story,” he said.
“The biggest compliment I can give Mikel is that he’s seen a big transition of players and a big transition of playing style, and he’s managed to do that while getting consistent results, which is very, very difficult to do.
“They now have I think one of the youngest teams in the Premier League, and the future looks very bright there, so full credit to him and his staff and his players for what he’s done.”
Michael Jones16 May 2022 18:10
Jake Daniels: UK’s only active gay male professional footballer
The 17-year-old made the announcement public on Monday in a trailblazing moment for the English game.
“For a long time I’ve thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be, and now I am, a professional footballer,” he told Sky Sports.
“I asked myself if I should wait until I’ve retired to come out. No other player in the professional game here is out.”
Michael Jones16 May 2022 18:05
Blackpool player, Jake Daniels, becomes first UK professional male footballer to come out as gay in 30 years
In other heartwarming footballing news Blackpool forward Jake Daniels has become the first male professional footballer in the UK to come out as gay for 30 years.
Daniels, who recently broke into Blackpool’s first team and signed his first professional contract after a stellar season of goalscoring for the youth team, said in a statement: “I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself.”
The 17-year-old is the first male professional player to come out since Justin Fashanu did so in 1990. Fashanu, who took his own life in 1998, faced a fierce backlash from football fans, and the fear of homophobic abuse has been a key reason for the lack of players following suit in subsequent years.
“I have been thinking for a long time about how I want to do it, when I want to do it,” Daniels told Sky Sports. “I know now is the time. I am ready to be myself, be free and be confident with it all.”
Michael Jones16 May 2022 18:00
Will Trippier and Wilson return for Newcastle
Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson could be recalled to the Newcastle starting XI after recovering from respective injuries and boss Eddie Howe has been speaking about whether they will feature for the Magpies tonight.
“I think both players would say they would be very keen to start. I think my job is to try and make sure I’m doing the best thing, not just for the individual, but for the team as well,” he said.
“We’ve got to make sure they’re fit enough and physically good enough to last a long period in the game, as obviously I cant be making too many changes too early in the match as it will unbalance the team.
“You can’t group them together and say they’re at the same stage – Callum has done more training work than Kieran, and of course he sustained a more serious injury than Kieran as well. We’ll make a decision based on the training week as to whether they start the game or not.”
Michael Jones16 May 2022 17:55
Arteta on White and Gabriel
Mikel Arteta is preparing a makeshift defence for this evening’s game against Newcastle in the case that centre-backs Ben White and Gabriel are unfit to feature for the Gunners.
Speaking over the weekend on the prospect that the two defenders would be fit, Arteta said: “I could [give you an estimate on when they’ll be bakc], but I will probably be telling you whatever! Tomorrow will be the day we will have better answers, probably not the answers that we want until matchday, but hopefully better answers.
The Gunners boss added that he is looking at switching the positions of some of his more experienced players to compensate from the loss saying: “We will have to modify certain positions to try to make it work, because we don’t have more defenders and even though we have academy players, they haven’t experienced a lot of those positions because they’re not specified central defenders, so it’s something that we will try to find a way.”
Michael Jones16 May 2022 17:51
Early team news for Newcastle vs Arsenal
Eddie Howe is given a boost by the return of defender Kieran Trippier and striker Callum Wilson who both recovered from injury to make substitute appearances against Manchester City last time out. Ryan Fraser has also overcome a thigh issue that kept him sidelined for five games and is in contention to play.
Mikel Arteta has problems with his defence. Centre-backs Ben White and Gabriel are still nursing niggling injuries but may have to be called on as Rob Holding is suspended following his red card against Tottenham.
Michael Jones16 May 2022 17:43
Newcastle vs Arsenal
Welcome to The Independent’s coverage of Newcastle’s Premier League clash with Arsenal from St. James’ Park. Eddie Howe’s men have safely avoided relegation after some remarkable performances since the turn of the year and are now looking to finish the season inside the top 10 but will need to win both of their last two fixtures to be in with a chance.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are embroiled in a battle for the top four as they’re fighting it out with Tottenham for the final spot in next season’s Champions League. Following their 1-0 victory over Burnley yesterday Spurs moved above the Gunners into fourth and now Mikel Arteta’s men must win this evening to keep their destiny in their own hands heading into the final game of the season. Three points would be enough to lift them back above Tottenham and another victory on Sunday would see them clinch fourth place at the very least.
Michael Jones16 May 2022 17:34