Newcastle United can take a lot of heart for the way they performed against Manchester United, but they still came out on the wrong side. Alan Pardew's men still seek their first away win of the season, and traveling to the Emirates isn't going to make that task any easier.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have won their last three games and have their sights set on fourth place, which would also see them overtake Tottenham. If they need an extra incentive to win this game, there it is.
Where: Emirates Stadium, London, England
When: Saturday, Dec. 29, 12:30 p.m. ET
TV/Live Stream: Fox Soccer Channel
Beating the Odds
Newcastle have won just two games since October and have been battling injuries to key players. Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez and Vurnon Anita will all be missing from the starting lineup on Saturday, while Cheick Tiote returns from a one-game suspension.
Of the last 10 games held between the sides, Newcastle have only emerged victorious once. While they have been playing better over the last couple of games, it's difficult for them to get into any sort of rhythm before they suffer another injury.
Anita, for example, has been one of the Toon's best players in recent weeks, so Antonio Valencia's late challenge at the end of last week's game was exactly what Pardew didn't need, but also probably exactly what he expected.
Pardew has received a lot of criticism for his tactics this year, particularly the way they have resorted to long balls in lieu of creative passing plays. With Cabaye, Ben Arfa and now Anita out of the picture, it's difficult to see how the Magpies will break Arsenal down.
This time last season, Newcastle were 10 points better off than they are right now, and the last time they had fewer points at this stage, they were relegated. Pardew and his team will be looking to get at Arsenal in the same way that they did at Old Trafford.
An early lead for the Toon would make this game very interesting.
Arsenal have had an extra few days to relax after Christmas, as their game against West Ham on Boxing Day was postponed. Their injury list is much less pronounced than Newcastle's, so Arsene Wenger has a much bigger squad to choose from.
What's your prediction for the game?
There have been rumours of Newcastle striker Demba Ba departing Tyneside for Arsenal in January, which gives the fixture that extra spice. Ba will be Newcaslte's main attacking threat, so it's absolutely vital that they contain him.
Limiting Newcastle to long balls has been the easiest way to beat them this season, so controlling possession in the middle of the pitch will pay dividends. When facing Wigan, Arsenal allowed their opponents too much time and didn't press the game as much as they should have.
They cannot make that mistake this time around and should instead look to flood the midfield and force Newcastle back into a defensive position. The Toon have been prone to errors at the back this year, again as a result of injuries to starting players.
Putting early pressure on Danny Simpson and Mike Williamson will be the best way to gain the upper hand, as they have both been exposed this year.
While Newcastle have looked better in recent weeks, the constant run of bad luck and injuries pushes them back each time they look to turn a corner. Whichever way you look at it, losing seven of their previous nine games means Newcastle are outsiders to get a result in London.
If the Toon are unable to get a goal in the first 20 minutes, the game will start to slip away as Arsenal find their stride.
Arsenal 3-1 Newcastle