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With the threat of an unthinkable relegation from the first tier now staved off, Newcastle are enjoying a slow cruise to the finish line and have seen manager Eddie Howe rewarded with a Manager of the Season nomination since the Magpies’ revival in January.
While the lucrative takeover must also be taken into account, Howe has overseen a stellar period of progression at St James’ Park, although their recent trip to the Etihad proved that they are not quite ready to go toe-to-toe with the big boys just yet.
Pep Guardiola‘s side are always a dangerous proposition to face in the wake of their European exits and hit the Magpies for five without reply last weekend, leaving Howe’s side down in 14th in the rankings but safe in the knowledge that they will be a Premier League team next season.
A trip to a Burnley side still involved in the relegation dogfight does not represent the most comfortable of final-day fixtures, but Newcastle welcome Arsenal for their final home game of the campaign having won six of their last seven at St James’ Park – only losing to Liverpool in that time.
In fact, only Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham, West Ham United and Chelsea have prevailed against Newcastle at St James’ Park in the Premier League this term, and a confidence-hit Arsenal cannot expect to be welcomed to Tyneside with a friendly atmosphere awaiting them.
Even this late into the season, the good news keeps on coming for Newcastle, who had both Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson on the bench against Man City, while Ryan Fraser is back in training and could also make the squad this week.
Jonjo Shelvey, Federico Fernandez, Jamal Lewis and former Arsenal duo Isaac Hayden and Joe Willock remain on the sidelines, and Howe must decide whether Trippier and Wilson are at a suitable level of fitness to feature from the first whistle yet.
Trippier and Wilson replaced Emil Krafth and Chris Wood respectively after 68 minutes against Man City, so Howe may be willing to take a punt on the two players in a fixture he may very well deem as winnable.
While Newcastle’s treatment room is emptying, Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes was withdrawn with a muscular problem against Tottenham, and his participation is currently up in the air.
Arteta will already be without Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey – as well as the suspended Holding – so Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White should form the centre-back pairing here, assuming that the latter is fit enough.
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Martinelli was also seen hobbling just before his 64th-minute substitution in the derby, and Arteta’s cautious approach could see Emile Smith Rowe instead given the nod on the left here.
Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Trippier, Lascelles, Burn, Targett; Longstaff, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Wilson, Saint-Maximin
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Cedric, Tomiyasu, White, Tavares; Xhaka, Elneny; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Nketiah