What a colossal football match this is. With Arsenal probably fancying their chances against Everton, this is the cup final.
Eddie Howe has steered the Magpies to safety in the Premier League from an incredibly unlikely position. He too got cash to spend in January, but having taken over the side when they were winless after the first 14 matches, he’s gone and won 11 of the 26 he’s managed since.
A 42.31% win rate is more than commendable.
They’re now safe in the table with no fears of relegation, leaving them only to try and finish has high as possible. A top ten finish is very much on the cards.
Newcastle vs Arsenal: Everything favours the Magpies on Monday night as Premier League top four place remains within Gunners’ grasp
As for Arsenal, they’re battered and bruised from the 3-0 defeat to Tottenham but still have a top four place and Champions League football within their grasp should they claim victory in their final two matches. Despite the doom and gloom, it is theirs to lose.
However, everything is set up for them to fall short on Monday.
In what will be the Magpies’ final home game of the season, under the floodlights, there will be an expectant party atmosphere. Everyone has played before them across matchweek 37, with all eyes fixed on St James’ Park, and the pressure is unlike anything these players will have felt for quite some time, if not ever.
Add to that the decimated defence that Mikel Arteta has to patch together, one that will potentially see just one player of the first choice back four feature in his preferred position, and the task suddenly becomes increasingly more challenging.
Both teams head into this fixture off the back of heavy defeats with a point to prove, and Howe’s side being able to rectify that on their own patch will give them an additional boost. How about Bruno Guimaraes, too?
The Brazilian’s embarrassing announcement video threw shade at Edu and Arsenal, referencing the club’s apparent interest, and making it out as if he chose Tyneside over north London. This despite Arsenal never lodging a bid, of course. That’s just additional incentive that nobody wants to have to deal with.
And, yes, all of this is tremendously negative and unhelpful. Looking at it from the more positive spin, Arsenal are going to a side in the bottom half of the table knowing a win will move them to within 90 minutes of the Champions League. If that doesn’t fire them up then nothing will.
It all appears to be kindly set up for a Newcastle win. The stars are aligning for them. If there was ever adversity to overcome, however, it is at St James’ Park.
Come on you Gunners. Make victory all the sweeter.