Venue and Timings
The match kicks off at Emirates on Saturday, December 29th, 2012 at 1730 hours BST (2230 hours PST and 2300 hours IST).
Arsenal have been fortunate enough at this time of the year with hardlyany players injured. Arsene Wenger will have a strong Arsenal squad to choose from.
Arsenal will be playing with a fresh team as they did not play any match during the week. Wenger is most likely to play the team that won against Wigan, with Walcott replacing Giroud.
Koscienly is fit but he is very unlikely to replace Mertesacker or Vermaelen, depite the latter’s form.
Tiote will return from suspension while Mike Williamson will miss this fixture as he picked up his 5th yellowe card of the season.
Due to Tiote’s return, James Perch could be moved back into the midfield.
Marveaux will be taking Gutierrez’ place on the wing, while Gabriel Obertan would be hoping to get a chance to play.
Vurnon Anita had a bruised ankle and that will rule him out, causing a move back to two up front.
Arsenal 2 – 1 Newcastle United
Arsenal 0 – 0 Newcastle United
Newcastle 4 – 4 Arsenal
Arsenal 0 – 1 Newcastle United
Newcastle United 0 – 4 Arsenal
Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) : The 28-year-old Spanish central attacking midfielder is not an easy one to handle for any defence. Cazorla’s fatal long shots are unstoppable. He has mentionable crossing, passing and dribbling skills which eventually lead him to assisting goals – or even scoring them. He can take direct free kicks and set-pieces and his midfield indicts make him troublesome for the other side. With him in the squad, Arsenal have a majorly strong midfield. Cazorla has scored a number of goals now and in his last match, he scored a hat-trick. He has scored 7 goals and made 5 assists in 23 appearances in all competitions.
Demba Ba (Newcastle United): The 25-year old striker will provide a good amount of threat to Arsenal’s defence. In the 18 appearances he has made, he has scored 11 goal for his team. However, his form and participation in the game due to his finishing and powerful heading makes him a player that is hard to stop. He gets fouled often but he does not dive into tackles.
My prediction: 2 – 1 to Arsenal. You can never expect this fixture to be a peaceful one so keep your eys pen for all the football action, heat and drama. Arsenal will be all fresh while Newcastle will play, as they recover from a defeat at the hands of Manchester United midweek. Newcastle could keep control of the first half but fatigue will definitely affect their performance in the second half.