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Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s stay, minute-by-minute protection of Arsenal v Newcastle on the Emirates. Let’s begin with a second of sympathy for Peter Bankes and Lee Betts, who’re on VAR obligation tonight. Given what occurred within the return fixture – “it’s embarrassing, it’s a disgrace” – they’ll do effectively to not quintuple-guess each single determination they make.

Although Mikel Arteta’s fury was with the folks of Stockley Park relatively than St James’, the match was ill-tempered even earlier than Newcastle’s controversial profitable aim. There is a burgeoning feud between these two groups, who each fancy clambering atop Manchester City’s perch. With this additionally being an evening sport, there must be a cracking ambiance.

Arteta mentioned yesterday that refereeing requirements have improved since his rant, although he was too modest to spotlight the correlation. “Well that is what we all wanted – for decisions to be better,” he mentioned. “The last stats that came across show that there was a significant improvement and they were getting a lot of the decisions right. Hopefully that continues.

“I talked the way I felt. I was very straight and I did it in a way that was pretty strong but within the law. I didn’t get charged for it and I think that tells the story.”

Arsenal have had a couple of information cycles since St James’ Park. They gained the subsequent six video games, then misplaced at Villa Park to start out an more and more depressing run of 1 win in seven. At the flip of the yr, Arsenal held the Premier League Crisis Baton, which is handed every week to the staff {that a} hysterical media deems to be in disaster.

If Arsenal didn’t signal a striker, we have been advised, they have been carried out for within the title race. Since then, with out signing anyone, they’ve gained all 5 Premier League video games and scored 21 objectives. What does all of it imply?

Arsenal stay third, however they’ve some very winnable fixtures forward of the massive one on the Etihad on 31 March: Newcastle (H), Sheff Utd (A), Brentford (H), Chelsea (H). They’ll quietly fancy taking all 12 factors, which implies just one consequence will do tonight.

Kick off is at 8pm, and we’ll have staff information shortly.