Rafael Benitez hints at Martin Dubravka, Kenedy impact


Despite three wins in a row that has virtually guaranteed survival for Newcastle for another season on 38 points in 10th position, manager Rafael Benitez insists his side are focused on reaching and surpassing the 40-point barrier.

Arsenal have made it through to the Europa League semi-finals but must now take care of domestic matters against Newcastle.

Benitez has also credited Dubravka and Kenedy's influence on improving Newcastle's form, claiming the added competition for places saw a marked improvement across the board.

However, he is remaining committed to the cause at Newcastle and finishing out the season with professionalism. Newcastle fans must desperately hope for a change in ownership this summer, because Benitez will surely tire of being taken for granted by the owner Mike Ashley. Only the injured Jesus Gamezis unavailable to him. Nine of their 26 wins against the Magpies in the division have been by a single goal, including the last three.

With the team expected to have some exhausted legs in the camp following exertions in Thursday's Europa League trip to Russian Federation in eventually beating CSKA Moscow 6-3 on aggregate, Wenger says the physicality and commitment of Welbeck could prove useful.

Aaron Ramsey received a deep cut during the game in Russian Federation, and while he soldiered on to complete the game, he could make way on Sunday.

Arsenal will be without David Ospina, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Santi Cazorla with ankle, knee, and Achilles injuries respectively, according to Physioroom.com.

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Arsenal are the [2.28] favourites, with Newcastle at [3.4] and the draw at [3.7].

If you fancy the Magpies to sneak a win against exhausted opposition, then the [1.74] in the Double Chance market or the [2.44] in the Draw No Bet market are both decently priced options.

Despite their recent unbeaten run, Arsenal have conceded five goals from their last three games.

Newcastle's last two matches have both been decided by one goal and Perez has got the victor in both of them.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been unavailable to play in the Europa League since moving to Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January and comes into this match well rested.

Another in-form Arsenal forward is Danny Welbeck.

Benitez has got this Newcastle side functioning like a well-oiled machine, with Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez sparkling in midfield and attack, respectively.