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Champions League Qualifying Play-Offs Round

Wenger has confidence in team

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is confident his title-chasing side can pass another stern test when they head to Newcastle on Sunday.

Last Updated: 28/12/13 at 14:39 Post Comment

Arsene Wenger: Win at West Ham returned his side to the top of the table

Arsene Wenger: Win at West Ham returned his side to the top of the table

The Gunners returned to the top of the Premier League table after coming from behind to win 3-1 at West Ham on Boxing Day.

This weekend, Wenger's side face a Newcastle side with aspirations of breaking into the top four after winning seven of their last nine games, including a 5-1 hammering of Stoke last time out.

"Newcastle are in full confidence, they are doing well and won again on Boxing Day with a big score," said Wenger, whose side are a point clear of second-placed Manchester City in the Premier League table.

"That will all be another test, but our team wants to do well, the character is great and our concentration is top."

Arsenal will be without top-scorer Aaron Ramsey for their next two matches and possibly even the FA Cup third-round tie with Tottenham after he suffered a thigh injury at Upton Park.

However, Wenger does have options in midfield, with Lukas Podolski, who came off the bench to score against West Ham, returning to full fitness and Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere also vying for a starting place.

"We have a very short time to prepare, but maybe we can rotate a little bit as well," said Wenger. "I will have to make the right decisions.

"I rested (Santi) Cazorla for a few games and you could see against West Ham he had an outstanding game and what a difference that makes when the player is fresh.

"I rested (Tomas) Rosicky, (Jack) Wilshere will come back from suspension, so we will have two more options.

"We have (defender) Laurent Koscienly who can maybe come back as well, maybe who is fresh as well."

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