Weatherwatch: looks a nice one. Enjoy it while you can, Newcastle: meteorological types insist it’s going to rain tomorrow, and not a little.

Mikel Arteta explains his eight (eight) changes:

It was just to prepare today’s game in the best possible way. We played 40 minutes with 10 men [on Thursday], we’ve had a crazy schedule and some players haven’t recovered. We need fresh players. It’s all about getting momentum, getting confidence, and winning helps. We had some disappointing results in the last week or so and today we need to win, because the better we are with winning, I think the team will benefit in terms of performances.

Team news is in, and here’s all you need to know. Newcastle bring Wilson in for Joelinton in their only change, while Aubameyang comes into the starting XI after a bout of malaria in one of eight changes for Arsenal:

Newcastle: Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Almiron, Sean Longstaff, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Wilson. Subs: Matthew Longstaff, Schar, Joelinton, Gayle, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Gillespie, Anderson.
Arsenal: Ryan, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Xhaka, Elneny, Ceballos, Willian, Odegaard, Martinelli, Aubameyang. Subs: Leno, Saka, Cedric, Thomas, Pepe, Chambers, Pablo Mari, Nketiah, Smith-Rowe.
Referee: Mike Dean.

It’s hard to see Newcastle going down, even if they fail to add to their current 36 points. West Brom could still reach 40 and Fulham might get 39, but then again they won’t. What they might do, though, is make it a little bit interesting: Newcastle have a tough run upcoming, with games against Arsenal today followed by a trip to Leicester on Friday and the visit of Manchester City a week later. No points from those, combined with victory for Fulham both at home to Burnley and at Southampton, would leave those clubs only three points apart with four days and two games remaining - and Fulham hosting Newcastle on the final day (at which point Fulham head to Old Trafford and Newcastle host Sheffield United, and in all likelihood the risk ends there). But if Newcastle could conjure a win here they would suddenly vault to 13th and Fulham’s hope of catching them would be all but over.

And it could happen. Sure, Arsenal thrashed Newcastle 3-0 at the Emirates back in January (“We gave as good as we got,” said Steve Bruce ridiculously, after his side had four shots to Arsenal’s 20 and 34% of possession), but they are in poor form, and the 2-1 defeat at Villarreal on Thursday means they come into this one not only perhaps a little fatigued and underprepared but also in the knowledge that this Thursday’s second leg against the Spaniards is now the absolute and undisputed No1 top priority of their season.

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