Newcastle v Arsenal Odds: Gunners aim to finish off a superb 2013 with a win at high-flying Newcastle

arsenalLeague leaders Arsenal are evens favourites to beat a strong Newcastle side as The Gunners look to cap off their impressive year with victory in the North-East.

Having regained top spot on Boxing Day, Arsenal will be looking to extend their lead with a win against a Newcastle side that has the European qualification places firmly in their sights.

Pardew’s side Newcastle have been extremely consistent this season having won 10 games so far which has helped them climb to sixth in the table and remain just one point off the European spots.

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Sunday, boss Alan Pardew will be boosted by the return of Cheick Tiote to the midfield after the Ivorian was suspended for the 5-1 thrashing of Stoke on Thursday.

With Tiote available, The Magpies face the dilemma of who will start in midfield against The Gunners with both Hatem Ben Arfa and Jonas Gutierrez both available and capable of providing adequate cover.

One player that Newcastle fans will be keen to see start will be attacking midfielder Yoan Gouffran as the Frenchman has scored in each of his five last home games for The Magpies.

The Magpies will face a tough test though as league leaders Arsenal have seemingly found some form again which has helped The Gunners regain a two point lead at the top of the standings heading into the end of 2013.

Having picked up a knock in the 3-1 win against West Ham, midfielder Aaron Ramsey will be out with a thigh injury until the festive fixtures are done and dusted.

However, Arsene Wenger will be boosted by the return of Jack Wilshere from suspension as well as Tomas Rosicky giving him plenty of options to choose from for the trip to St. James Park.

There could also be a start for Lukas Podolski who scored on his return from injury on Boxing Day whilst Laurent Koscielny could feature among the subs after recovering from a knee injury.

2013 has been a strong year for Arsenal and no other side has amassed more points in the league over the calendar year with The Gunners earning 79 points so far since January.

Newcastle’s good form will certainly give them a chance of getting something from the game but they will need to watch for an Arsenal side who will be keen to put more distance between themselves and their title rivals.