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Arsenal will have to play much better than it did last year at Newcastle United if it is to keep its slim title hopes alive, manager Mikel Arteta said, after a loss last year effectively ended its hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.
A 2-0 defeat at St James’ Park last season saw Arsenal eventually finish fifth in the league while Newcastle finished 11th when relegation was a possibility midway through the season before Eddie Howe took over.
Sunday’s contest is a stark contrast to last season, with Arsenal now second in the standings and Champions League qualification in the bag while third-placed Newcastle -- which has lost only once at home -- looks to seal a top-four spot.
“It’s a very different game. A year ago, it was different players, different games. We’re going to have to play much better than we did last year, that’s for sure,” Arteta told reporters ahead of Sunday’s trip.
We know it’s going to be a really tough game because, especially at home they’ve been really, really good.”
The two teams shared the spoils in January at the Emirates Stadium in what was Arsenal’s only goalless draw of the season.
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