Arsenal will be hoping to reproduce their European form as they return to domestic league action against Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium today.
The Gunners are sixth in the Premier League and trail leaders Chelsea by 13 points after losing three of their last five English top-flight matches. Arsenal were beaten 3-2 at Stoke last weekend and also had Calum Chambers sent off late on for two bookable offences.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was jeered by some of the club’s supporters after the match as he boarded a train back to London.
In sharp contrast, Wenger’s side again progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League and beat Galatasaray 4-1 in Istanbul on Wednesday in their final group match. Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey each scored two goals, and Ramsey’s second tally came from a spectacular long-range effort.
Wales international midfielder Ramsey was delighted by his team’s performance against Galatasaray.
“It was important to bounce back from that (Stoke) defeat and we did that,” Ramsey told his club’s website. “Every player here wants to work hard for (the manager), we proved that again on Tuesday night. He has been under some unfair criticism, but we are all out there, we are in it together. We wanted to get the result for us and for him.”
Newcastle travel to north London in buoyant mood after ending table-topping Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the 2014-15 campaign, beating the Blues 2-1 at StJames’ Park last weekend. Papiss Cisse scored both goals for Alan Pardew’s side, who withstood a late onslaught from the visitors after defender Steven Taylor was sent off in the 80th minute.
The Magpies have climbed to seventh in the standings after winning six of their last eight league matches.
Captain Fabricio Coloccini hailed his side’s victory against Chelsea.
“It was a great result,” Coloccini told his club’s website. “It was difficult for us to really play at our best because Chelsea are such a good team and had a lot of the ball. But we defended really well, we had good shape, good spirit and every player helped each other. That made the difference.
“A team like Chelsea make it difficult because they have so much possession, and then when we have the ball we look tired because we have been pressing them so hard. But we had the opportunities to score and took them, and that is fantastic for us and for the fans.”
Arsenal will be without midfielders Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Mesut Ozil (knee), who are both out until the new year, while teenage defender Chambers is banned following his dismissal at Stoke.
Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul is out with an ankle injury, while Taylor will also miss the trip to the Emirates due to suspension.
Arsenal did the double over Newcastle last season, including a 3-0 win at the Emirates in April. Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud and Ozil all found the net for the Gunners. The Londoners won 1-0 at St. James’ Park in late December on a Giroud goal just after the hour mark.
The Gunners have won five straight league matches against Newcastle, outscoring them 14-4. The Magpies have not scored in 291 minutes of league action against Arsenal.
Overall, the Gunners have a hefty advantage in Premier League meetings, winning 21 of the 40 matches between the sides. Newcastle have nine victories, while the remaining 10 finished as draws.