Despite the understandable anguish that has reverberated across north London following the 3-0 defeat to Tottenham, Arsenal still have their destiny firmly within their own hands.
A disaster of a result and performance for Arsenal saw them comfortably beaten away from home against their rivals yet again, even if refereeing decisions have continued to dominate a lot of the narrative since.
Paul Tierney’s decision to award a penalty and then send Rob Holding off has caused widespread anger, but did he have much choice?
You know what? Who cares anymore. That game is in the past. Everything that happened on Thursday is spilled milk. While it does leave scars in terms of selections, focus shifts entirely to events on Monday.
Newcastle vs Arsenal: 4 pre-match discussions as Gunner chase Premier League top four on Monday night
Newcastle away from home will be a tough fixture. Eddie Howe, whether the money altered the course or not, has brilliantly lead the Magpies towards being the first team in Premier League history to avoid relegation despite winning none of their first 14 games.
Their home form under him is worryingly strong, too, and across 2022 they’ve shown marked improvements in almost all facets.
Arsenal know what must be done. They won here last season in front of no supporters, but this time around it is Newcastle’s final home game of the campaign, under the lights, with the backdrop of a jubilant and joyful Geordie following, against a depleted side.
No game is easy. Not least when the pressure is as high as this.
There is plenty to discuss.
1. Eddie Howe Manager Curse?
Who wants a big fat curse for dinner? Please, please, let this come true once again.
On Friday the shortlist was drawn for the Premier League Manager of the Season – a list that somehow missed out Arteta despite him leading the youngest team in the division to within a whisker of the Champions League – with Howe’s name featured.
As many will remember, the last time Arteta got nominated (and won) Arsenal went on to lose three games in succession against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton. While that may feel like clinging on to straws, it also happened to Howe.
The Magpies boss was nominated for the Manager of the Month for February with three wins and a draw, but as soon as he was confirmed as the winner on March 11, results changed.
Newcastle’s nine game unbeaten run came to an end with a 1-0 defeat at Chelsea, which was followed by a 1-0 defeat at Everton and then a 5-1 thumping at Tottenham.
Granted, he’s only been nominated on this occasion with no winner named, but fingers crossed the curse strikes again.
Continued on next page…