Writer: Mehzeb Chowdhury
Date:Thursday March 19 2009
Where: St James' Park
When: Saturday, 21 March
Time: 1730 GMT
Newcastle United are looking down the barrel of relegation after drawing in their 'cup final' last week against Hull City, while Arsenal are looking to extend their winning ways in the league, thereby cementing their stake in a Champion's League place.
The Magpies are the Premier League's draw specialists, with 11 draws, while their next opponents Arsenal have drawn 10 of their own fixtures.
The two clubs are separated by 23 points, and 12 places. Arsenal lie 5th in the league, while Newcastle are fighting for their premiership survival at 16th place (only above the bottom three due to goal difference).
The Gunners are yet to be beaten in 2009, while Newcastle United have only one win in the last three months.
Newcastle United have not won any of the 16 matches in which they conceded an early goal. The Toon are the only top-flight club this season to have failed to win a match after going behind.
In the absence of Magpies manager Joe Kinnear, assistant manager Chris Hughton will take charge of the team, while first-team coach Colin Calderwood deputises.
Newcastle United welcome back a host of players ahead of their coveted encounter against Arsenal, with two central midfielders, a winger, and a right-back among the returning lot.
Kevin Nolan returns from suspension, with Danny Guthrie, Damien Duff, and Habib Beye coming back after injury.
Michael Owen is also available after a lengthy lay-off.
The Gunners are without midfielders Cesc Fabrigas, and Tomas Rosicky, but welcome back goalkeeper Manuel Almunia who was injured for the club's FA Cup win against Hull City.
Line-ups to follow later...
Date:Thursday March 19 2009
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