Unai Emery believes Newcastle are in a ‘good moment’ as the Magpies prepare to travel south to take on his Arsenal side.

The Gunners boss was very complimentary towards Newcastle, admitting that Rafa Benitez’s side will prove to be a difficult opponent. We have been brilliant in recent weeks, performing well against teams at both ends of the table.

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Arsenal were too strong for Newcastle earlier in the season, winning 2-1 at St James’ Park. However, we did very well in the first half that day and should have gone ahead.

However, Arsenal took control in the second half and controlled proceedings, with Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil getting the goals. Ciaran Clark scored late on but it was merely a consolation.

We are a much better side now, and Emery is clearly aware of that.

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Emery explains why Newcastle will be tough opponents

“It’s not my thought now, because I know Monday’s match is going to be very difficult,” he told Arsenal’s official website.

“Newcastle are in a good moment. They have a lot good players and good organisation.

“The coach has a lot of experience and he is very competitive and I know that. The last matches they are playing, they are playing with a big confidence and very strong defensively and very competitive.

“My focus is on how we can break their defensive positions and also a big performance for us to take a win against them.”

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The Arsenal boss has hit the nail on the head.

The game will no doubt be decided on his team’s ability to break down a stubborn Newcastle defence. We’ve rarely been hammered this season, which is a testament to how well drilled Benitez’s players are.

Arsenal have been very good at home this season, beating Manchester United 2-0 at the Emirates before the international break.

But despite this, Newcastle can still go into the game with confidence. We have stifled teams a lot this season, and we are starting to show that we can also be a threat in the final third.

If we can frustrate Arsenal for long enough, there is a chance we can get something from the game.

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