Arsenal face Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Monday night.
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BEATING TEAMS HOME & AWAY
KEY BATTLE - RAMSEY v TIOTE
Aaron Ramsey has made a major impact since his return to the Arsenal team at the start of the month, scoring once and claiming two assists while also playing a major part in another goal. Arguably more important though, has been his speed of thought, his energy and his ability to get beyond Olivier Giroud.
The Wales international was enjoying the season of his life before a thigh injury at West Ham United on Boxing Day sidelined him for three months. But he has really hit the ground running since his return, and his vision, eye for goal and box-to-box stamina has had a profound effect on the Gunners' fortunes.
Ramsey is likely to be shackled by Cheick Tiote on Monday night. The Ivorian is Newcastle's 'destroyer' - breaking up play, flying into challenges and adding a robust edge to the midfield. However, he is much more than that. As his passing accuracy rate (87.2 per cent) indicates, he can play a bit too, and has won an impressive 53.8 per cent of his duels.
Tiote has also won 67 per cent of the 67 tackles he has made this season, and will be expected to stay close to Ramsey, deny him time and space and track his runs forward. However, Ramsey does not shirk a physical challenge himself and has an excellent 85.5 per cent tackle success rate.
It should be a fascinating battle but, with Ramsey seemingly straight back on top form, he will fancy his chances of shaking off Tiote to drive Arsenal on to a crucial victory.
ARSENAL v NEWCASTLE UNITED - MATCH FACTS
- Arsenal have won their last four Premier League meetings with the Magpies; their best-ever run against them in the competition
- The Magpies have lost eight of their last 10 Premier League games at Arsenal (W1 D1); losing 7-3 there last season
- Only against Liverpool (15) have Newcastle lost more Premier League away games than at Arsenal (13)
- The Gunners have won their last two Premier League games, after winning only two of the previous nine
- All four of Mesut Ozil’s Premier League goals have come at the Emirates Stadium but only three of his eight assists have
- Lukas Podolski has scored a brace in each of his last two Premier League appearances and has netted five in his last five in the top flight
- Newcastle remain in the top half of the table despite losing nine of their last 12 Premier League matches
- The Magpies have scored just 10 Premier League goals in 2014, fewer than any other side
- Arsenal cannot top the table again this season but will send the season having spent the most days at the summit (128)
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