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Arsenal vs Newcastle and the EPL’s enticing Champions League spot battle

March 12, 2012 By Angela Asante
To end Matchday 28 in the English Premier League, Arsenal and Newcastle United will provide the public with a thrilling battle at the Emirates Stadium.
Both Arsenal and Newcastle United are chasing European qualification. The Magpies would be satisfied with UEFA Europa League football but the Gunners wouldn’t settle for less than UEFA Champions League action. However, this doesn’t mean that the visitors are the Emirates tonight will seat back.

At this point in the championship, every minute and every movement on the pitch counts. The race between the fourth-placed and the seventh-placed teams is so congested that third-placed Tottenham Hotspur are even feeling the heat.

Already, we witnessed mixed results at the weekend between the English Premier League’s top teams. For Chelsea, it was all good.

The Blues had a difficult mission against Stoke City but a winner from Ivorian superstar Didier Drogba separated the two teams at the Bridge. The good news for Chelsea is that third-placed Spurs went on to lose their evening kick-off against Everton.

On Monday night, Arsenal will also try to take advantage of Tottenham Hotspur’s slip to the Toffees. After all, nothing is decided yet with just about 10 matches to finish the 2011/12 English Premier League season.

The Gunners, with a one-game advantage, are level on points with the Blues. Victory at the Emirates tonight will see Arsenal close the gap against Spurs to a single point. Meanwhile, Newcastle United are also aiming high.

The Magpies, who stunned Manchester United earlier this year, have a better chance than Liverpool to qualify for Europe. Champions League football may be a dream too big to achieve but it remains very realistic. Newcastle United are only 5 points behind Arsenal and Chelsea who have 49 points each ahead of Monday night's match in London.

In case they fail to finish fourth in the English Premier League table, they could at least deny other contenders such as Arsenal from playing Champions League football next season. In the meantime, the Magpies can take it one game at a time as a fifth-place finish (to reach the UEFA Europa League) looks possible.

Let’s just say that Arsenal vs Newcastle United is like a final among many other battles for European qualification.

Should Newcastle win it, seventh-placed Liverpool (with 39 points, 5 behind the sixth spot) will be put under intense pressure. Should Arsenal win it, the Champions League hopes of fifth-placed Chelsea will eventually hang in the balance as the Gunners will edge much closer to guaranteeing tickets for the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League competition.

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