FT: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1

That's it! Arsenal secure a vital three points by scoring with their only real chance and holding firm in the wake of pressure from a tireless Newcastle side. The Gunners will end the year top of the Premier League.

Cabaye swings it in and Szczesny punches clear with Krul again trying to challenge. It breaks to Ben Arfa but he fires wide from range.

Arsenal kill a valuable few seconds before Jenkinson puts it out for a Newcastle throw. Tiote crosses and Bendtner shows poise to find Wilshere, who can clear. But Newcastle come again and win a corner.

We're into four minutes of time added on and Newcastle create a real chance, with Ben Arfa cutting inside before dragging his shot wide. He had options there and perhaps chose the wrong one. Bendtner concedes a throw deep inside the Newcastle half.

Mertesacker again clears but this time only for a corner, which Krul sees as a chance to join the attack. Arsenal clear and Krul is out of position but Jenkinson can only win a throw.

Newcastle win a free-kick on halfway but Mertesacker and Arteta combine to clear. Flamini then does well to win a throw deep inside his own half.

Cazorla does well to relieve the pressure momentarily but his ball towards Bendtner is poor and Coloccini can launch another ball forward. This time it does fall to Remy but his touch is heavy.

Debuchy again gallops forward and Szczesny does well to nip in ahead of him and collect. It is all Newcastle now.

Ben Arfa glides in-field but Wilshere is on his tail and his pressure is enough to see Ben Arfa misplace his cross.

Final change for Arsenal as Giroud departs, replaced by Nicklas Bendtner. The French striker didn't have a great day in the main, except for the goal. To his manager, that's all that will matter.

Tiote clips a ball towards Remy but Mertesacker gets up ahead of him to clear. The Arsenal centre-backs have been excellent so far.

All hands to the pump for Arsenal now and Szczesny is relieved to collect Ameobi's tame shot from 20 yards.

Wilshere clears from the edge of his own box but there's nobody up-field to receive it. Newcastle then attack again and a brilliant cross almost falls to Remy, who would've had a simply job to score from five yards.

Sagna has stayed on the right with Jenkinson just in front of him - there's no doubt Arsenal are prepared to shut-up shop now. Will they hang on?

Wow! It's nearly 1-1 out of nothing as Szczesny blasts a clearance straight into the face of Remy. It trickles just wide of the goal as Remy understandably falls to the floor - he's up quickly though.

I wonder whether Sagna may go to left-back now that Flamini has been booked but we will see. For now, Arsenal break but Giroud's ball to Cazorla is misdirected.

Another change for the hosts as Sissoko comes off, with Massadio Haidara taking his place. Arsenal also make a change with Walcott taken off and Carl Jenkinson on.

Williamson tries to get on the end of the free-kick but is unable to do so. Newcastle are well on top now as Arsenal look to close out a vital win - pressure is relieved as Sissoko fouls Sagna.

Tempers are flaring now and Rosicky is the latest to be booked for a foul on Cabaye which prompts some pushing and shoving before Probert restores order.

From the free-kick, Ameobi is adjudged to have fouled Szczesny but Newcastle are back in possession quickly and Koscielny does well to deny Remy.

Flamini is booked for a foul on Ben Arfa and it could be a difficult 15 minutes for the temporary left-back now. It was a needlessly aggressive challenge.

Anita comes off and is replaced by Shola Ameobi. Interestingly, Newcastle then choose not to return the ball to Newcastle after Flamini had kicked it out in the belief that Wilshere might need treatment. Nobody seems to mind though so we press on.

Ben Arfa nearly does exactly that with a cross which Sagna has to clear. Flamini then puts the ball out as Wilshere clutches his ankle.

It looks like Newcastle are preparing another change but for now Ben Arfa seeks to expose Flamini, who has filled in at left-back now.

Arsenal look at their most threatening now as Arteta comes on in place of Gibbs.

Debuchy has been phenomenal today and that clearance off the line was exactly that. He was completely off-balance and kept the ball out with an inch to spare.

Arsenal attack down the right and Sagna's cross is headed out for a throw by Santon. The ball then falls to Wilshere and his pass finds Walcott, who slides in to force a save from Krul. The ball then falls back to Walcott and his lob is cleared off the line by Debuchy before Giroud puts the rebound wide. Amazing passage of play.

As Arsenal prepare to bring on Mikel Arteta, I should acknowledge that I had said it wasn't Giroud's day prior to that goal, and the same applies to Walcott, whose free-kick it was that Giroud nodded in. Funny old game.

Ben Arfa wins a corner for the hosts but Mertesacker heads clear. It breaks to Santon who audaciously shoots but it's never a threat and goes over the bar.

That's hard on Newcastle, who had until that point denied Arsenal any sort of chance. Can they find a response?

Arsenal win a free-kick when Tiote is penalised 35 yards out. Walcott takes it and would you believe it - Giroud gets the faintest of touches to guide the ball past Krul. 1-0 to Arsenal.

It isn't Giroud's day. Walcott looks like getting on the end of the free-kick but instead it breaks to Giroud, who plays it right - where Walcott would ordinarily be - which allows Newcastle to clear.

More sloppy passing from Arsenal but they win a free-kick when Ben Arfa goes in late on Gibbs.

Here he is - Ben Arfa is on with Gouffran the man withdrawn. It's the first time in six home games that the French striker has failed to find the net.

Ben Arfa is being prepared as Pardew shows that he's ready to go all out for the win. For now, Arsenal are on top but Gibbs is careless and gives it away.

Walcott is desperate to have an impact on the game and Giroud's neat ball almost sets him up to shoot. Instead, Walcott has to go wide and although his cross is decent, it's too deep for Giroud and goes behind.

Wilshere gets in behind the Newcastle defence down the left and wins a throw. Cabaye does well to again dispossess Wilshere before giving it away to Gibbs, who just fails to keep it in play.

Remy is offside after a ball down the line from Debuchy. We're getting towards the hour mark and both managers will surely be considering changes.

Much better from Arsenal as Walcott helps find Flamini. The French midfielder isn't known for scoring from distance so it's no surprise he fails to find the target here.

Krul goes long with the free-kick and Wilshere is forced to hook clear. Coloccini then returns it only for Szczesny to collect comfortably.

Wilshere tries to find Walcott but the aerial ball is dealt with by Coloccini before Anita wins a free-kick on halfway.

Cazorla does well to find Gibbs whose fizzed cross is cleared by Coloccini as Arsenal apply the pressure. Eventually, Rosicky is fouled by Gouffran on halfway.

Arsenal slow the game down in midfield before working space for Sagna, whose cross is cleared by the excellent Debuchy.

Good ball from Williamson to find Debuchy and when the ball is worked into the Arsenal box, it causes all sorts of confusion between defenders and keeper. Arsenal are lucky to escape as Flamini clears.

Poor from Giroud who, having initially done well to win the ball on halfway, fails to spot Walcott in space down the right.

Cabaye's energy reserves seem limitless as he slides in to prevent Koscielny clearing and that's been the hallmark of this Newcastle performance so far - they've not allowed Arsenal time to be creative.

Protestation from the Newcastle camp as Arsenal are awarded a throw, and after much deliberation that sees the referee change the decision. You don't see that very often.

Tiote tries an angled cross but Koscielny clears. Sissoko then does superbly do get past Cazorla and Gibbs but his off-balance cross sails behind the Arsenal goal.

Debuchy again steps in, this time to deny Giroud, and gallops up field to join in a Newcastle attack which ends when Rosicky tackles Anita.

We're back under way with no changes made to either side. Arsenal threaten immediately but Cazorla's first touch lets him down and Debuchy can clear.

Is there a game-changer on either bench, I wonder? Hatem Ben Arfa would look the obvious one as there's no denying that Arsenal are somewhat lacking in options today. Lukasz Podolski and Serge Gnabry could be the ones especially with both Giroud and Walcott quiet.

At half-time Arsenal are out to 6/4 with Sky Bet, with the draw the same price and Newcastle 5/2. Price Boosts include Arsenal to win 2-1 at 14/1, Cabaye to score next at 12/1 and Remy to score in a 1-0 home win at 20/1.

The half almost ends with a Newcastle goal as Debuchy's header clips the underside of the crossbar but stays out, possibly with help from Wilshere. Fascinating half but neither side threatened until the final seconds. It's 0-0 at the break.

We're into the first of two added minutes and Newcastle do brilliantly to pressure Arsenal into a mistake. The ball then breaks to Sissoko who fires a rasping shot from 30 yards that Szczesny does well to tip behind for a corner.

When I say end to the half, we do have a couple of minutes to go after the earlier stoppages. Tiote dispossesses Walcott but his ball forward evades Remy who, like Giroud, hasn't had much of an impact.

It's a scrappy end to the half and you feel both sets of players would settle for 0-0 at the break. This game is typical of the time of year, with both sides lacking a little in the final third.

Walcott is the latest to go down under a Tiote challenge but while the Newcastle midfielder raised an arm, there was nothing wrong with that and play is rightly waved on.

Cazorla wastes the free-kick and Santon clears but only as far as Gibbs, who clips it into the area where Mertesacker has a chance. The German volleys wide from 18 yards - that was the best opportunity of the game so far but fell to the wrong man.

This time Probert does give a free-kick and it's a dangerous one for Newcastle as Tiote clips Flamini 40 yards out.

Nice stuff from Newcastle as Debuchy finds Sissoko, and he goes down on the edge of the Arsenal box. He looks to have been fouled if not by both Flamini and Gibbs then certainly the former, but Probert gives nothing. He's been lenient in the extreme here.

Lovely stuff from Rosicky as he spins and then curls a ball over Walcott's shoulder. However, Walcott mistimes his attempt to control the ball and it just goes behind for a goal-kick.

Santon rises high to win a header at Sagna's expense but he diverts it behind for an Arsenal goal-kick. Lively but lacking in goalmouth action, this.

Walcott's first telling contribution sees him find Sagna and the full-back almost returns it to him with a chipped ball that Santon does well to nod clear.

Krul gets play back under way and temporarily, Newcastle have a two-man advantage with Cazorla and Giroud waiting to be waved back on.

The delay is a lengthy one but when Giroud does get to his feet, he's booked for the foul on Tiote.

There are some challenges going in now and Giroud is penalised for a foul on Tiote, but it's the French striker who is down and in some pain. Cazorla is also in pain having been clipped by Debuchy.

Newcastle fans are angered by the referee's decision to let Flamini off for a slightly late tackle, before awarding Arsenal a free-kick instead.

Arsenal win a throw down the right, where they've yet to really threaten with Walcott particularly quiet. Again, the best they can do here is find space for Giroud to shoot from 25 yards and it's well wide.

Debuchy is arguably Newcastle's most dangerous attacking force at the moment and his latest cross is cleared by Koscielny with Remy lurking behind.

The game resumes with Arsenal in possession and this time it's Cazorla who finds space to shoot, and Krul does well to collect low to his right. Still no real chances but it's Arsenal who look marginally more threatening.

The game's first stoppage comes as Williamson slides in to tackle Giroud. It was a genuine attempt to win the ball and understandably went unpunished, but replays show the French striker was caught. He's up soon enough.

Cabaye finds space but dwells long enough for Sagna to slide in and concede a throw. From it, Remy prepares to shoot but Flamini slides in to clear.

First real chance for Santon to attack Sagna and he does well to cut inside and cross to Gouffran, who tries to cushion it to Remy but can only find Szczesny.

Walcott nods down to Rosicky who finds Giroud. Arsenal then work it back across to Rosicky who hits the first shot on target, but it's straight at Krul and he catches it comfortably.

Cabaye takes the free-kick and Williamson is again the target. This time, the ball sails over his head but Debuchy is there to fire a volley just wide from a tight angle.

Cabaye does brilliantly to win the ball from Sagna and instigate an attack which is brought to an end as Remy is fouled on halfway.

Wilshere exchanges passes with Cazorla 30 yards out and finds space for a left-footed shot which goes well over Krul's bar. No real chances yet.

Arsenal go short before Cazorla curls in a dangerous ball which Krul does well to clear. Arsenal come again and the danger builds before Tiote hacks clear.

Arsenal win a corner after a break triggered by Rosicky. Cazorla finds Sagna and his cross is put behind.

Cabaye's diagonal ball finds Williamson but his header across goal is cleared by Mertesacker. It drops tantalisingly at the feet of Anita but his shot is sliced harmlessly wide.

Arsenal do well to pressure Anita, Santon and Tiote and Newcastle have to go back to Krul. The ball then falls to Gouffran and this time he wins a free-kick after a challenge from Sagna.

Debuchy and Cazorla class down the Newcastle right with the French full-back coming off best. There's intensity to Newcastle's play now.

Sissoko wants a free-kick as Gibbs looks to give him a little nudge and again the referee is lenient. Newcastle quickly get it back and Remy clips a cross to Sissoko, whose header back across goal is collected by Szczesny. Newcastle on top now.

Wilshere wants a free-kick 40 yards from goal but the referee says he slipped and that looks to be the case. Gouffran breaks but Remy can't get on the end of the cross and Sagna clears.

Cabaye whips in a decent cross but it sails over Gouffran, who had come to the near post. Newcastle win it back and Cabaye chooses to shoot this time, but it's high and wide from 35 yards.

Arsenal have three on two but Cazorla's ball to Giroud lacks the required weight and Williamson can clear. Newcastle break as the tempo increases.

Again, Cabaye switches the ball behind Cazorla and Gibbs but once more Debuchy can't keep it in play according to the assistant. Replays show he did get there and Newcastle are unlucky not to have a corner.

Anita and Tiote exchange passes but Newcastle have to go backwards under pressure. However, that allows Cabaye the space to play a superb through-ball to Debuchy who is clear but can't bring the ball under control. Gibbs caught napping.

Sloppy stuff at the back from Newcastle as Coloccini passes back to Krul, who slices it out for an Arsenal throw. Krul redeems himself by collecting Wilshere's cross.

Walcott finds Giroud who tries to return the favour, only to find Walcott on the floor after a mistimed challenge from Tiote. Remarkably, no foul is the call.

Wilshere, Cazorla and Rosicky have all started brightly and combine to set up another Arsenal attack. Coloccini steps in to deny Wilshere and although it breaks to Rosicky, his deflected shot is easily collected by Krul.

Gibbs plays a long diagonal ball towards Walcott but Santon gets there first, and his header back to Krul finds its target.

Better from Newcastle as Debuchy and Sissoko combine but Gibbs wins it back, albeit clumsily.

More nice interplay from the Arsenal midfield and Gibbs has space to cross three times. The first two are comfortably blocked by Williamson but the third almost finds Walcott in space before Santon steps in. Lively start from Arsenal.

Wilshere ghosts towards the Newcastle penalty area but Debuchy steps in to deny Giroud. However, it breaks again to Wilshere who threatens to shoot before being crowded out.

Cazorla almost finds Walcott with a clipped ball forward but Newcastle clear. The visitors are dominating possession at this very early stage.

Koscielny gets a few early touches on his return before Flamini is fouled by Cabaye, who was an Arsenal target back in the summer don't forget.

Krul takes a risk with his clearance and Arsenal attack with Giroud finding Rosicky, who takes a tumble on the edge of the area. No foul and Newcastle break until Sissoko fouls Gibbs.

Arsenal get the game under way in front of a packed and typically vocal crowd. Cazorla loses out in midfield as both back-fours enjoy time on the ball.

Prediction time is over, folks. The teams are out on the pitch and we're just a minute and a half away from kick-off.

Jamie Redknapp reckons it'll be close, too, and he's going for a 2-1 Newcastle win with Loic Remy to score first. However, Benn Phillips reckons it'll be one-sided: "I can see a 4-0 Arsenal win on the cards. Two either side of half time."

So far we've had four predictions - two say Arsenal will win 2-1, one says 1-0 to Newcastle and the other says 2-1 to Newcastle. So we're agreed it's going to be tight then, eh? I'll hide my dismay that nobody has asked what I think but here you go: it'll be close, but at the prices (I always view football matches through the prism of prices), Arsenal have to be the bet. No side has a better away record, they do well at Newcastle and the hosts, while in a fine run of form, were obviously flattered on Boxing Day. We shall soon see.

Gordon Cosgrave is enjoying Newcastle's run of form. He says: "I've been a Toon fan since Keegan originally took over, and I have to say we are now playing with the flair and swagger that we did in those days. Gonna be a tight one today, but 2-1 to the Toon. Howay The Lads."

"I'm Nathan from Milton Keynes," writes Nathan from Milton Keynes. "I'm predicting Arsenal to end Newcastle's amazing win streak and win 2-1. Arsenal won't be on top form today without Ozil unfortunately, but should still have the quality to win. Remy, Giroud and Walcott with the goals."

Another important aspect of the team news is that Laurent Koscielny returns for Arsenal at the expense of Thomas Vermaelen, who is unwell and therefore doesn't even make the bench. Wenger is also without Mesut Ozil for a couple of games. Is this when we find out if Arsenal have the depth to continue their title challenge?

Another precise prediction, this time from Alex Dunn who writes: "Newcastle 1-0 Arsenal. I predict a very tight game. Arsenal will have the better chances but Krul will keep the Toon all level as we approach the 75mins. Cue HBA who will come on to score the winner with a stunning left-foot strike!" (That's Hatem Ben Arfa, folks. I'm sure you knew that but just in case...)

Asked if he faced a difficult decision over his team selection with Tiote available once again, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew said: "Well it is and it isn't because Cheick will play, there's no doubt about that. Last year, it was difficult to try to find 11 players to play. At the minute, it's difficult to find players to leave out. We are in great shape and we take it into the next game. That's all you can do in my experience of this league."

"Newcastle are in full confidence, they are doing well and won again on Boxing Day with a big score," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in the build-up to today's game. "Loic Remy is a very good striker, very quick and makes very good runs, so we have to keep him quiet. That will all be another test, but our team wants to do well, the character is great and our concentration is top."

If, like me, you like a bet, you may be interested to know that our friends at Sky Bet make Arsenal 6/5 favourites, with the draw 5/2 and Newcastle 23/10. Among their Price Boosts is a 2-0 Arsenal win at 12/1 (was 11s) and Yoan Gouffran to score first at 11/1 (was 10s).

I do enjoy a comprehensive prediction, I really do. More please.

Ryan joins us with a prediction: "I'm gonna go with a 2-1 win to Arsenal with Giroud and Rosicky getting the goals in the first half then a late goal in the second half from Newcastle."

For those interested, Lee Probert is today's referee. He took charge when Newcastle lost 2-1 to Sunderland and when Arsenal beat Norwich 4-1, while in nine Premier League games this season he's brandished two red cards. For what it's worth.

So the team news headlines are that Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky return for Arsenal, who are without the injured Aaron Ramsey. Newcastle make one change to the side that beat Stoke, with Cheick Tiote returning at the expense of Hatem Ben Arfa, who drops to the bench.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Wilshere, Walcott, Cazorla, Rosicky, Giroud. Subs: Arteta, Podolski, Fabianski, Bendtner, Jenkinson, Miyaichi, Gnabry.

Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Tiote, Anita, Sissoko, Cabaye, Gouffran, Remy. Subs: Cisse, Ben Arfa, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara, Elliot, Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi.

While I grab team news for you, please do join in the conversation by sending your thoughts to benjamin.coley@bskyb.com. Comments, questions, predictions, best bets - all are welcome.

Hello and welcome along to live coverage of Newcastle v Arsenal. Victory for the Gunners would see them lead the Premier League at the halfway stage but they face a stern test from in-form Newcastle, who can go fifth if they win and Everton fail to beat Southampton.

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