Arsenal can move to within a point of third-placed Tottenham should they beat Newcastle at home on Monday night.

A fifth straight victory for Arsene Wenger's side will all but end Newcastle's slim hopes of Champions League qualification.

Arsenal have been in impressive form in recent weeks, winning nine of their last 12 games and losing only one. And Wenger will be hoping centre-back Thomas Vermaelen stays fit for the remainder of the campaign. The Belgian international has been in imperious form during that run, with Arsenal conceding less than one goal per Premier League game with him in the backline, compared to 2.3 per match without the former Ajax player - according to Castrol EDGE Performance data.

Indeed, since returning from injury in the 2-1 loss to Manchester United, Arsenal have not lost a league game with Vermaelen in the starting XI. With the Belgian international and Laurent Koscielny forming a formidable defensive partnership, Arsenal have collected an average 2.06 points per game, compared to a meagre 1.33 without him in the line-up.

And the Arsenal defender will fancy his chances against a Newcastle side that have won only two of the last 18 meetings between the two sides. Alan Pardew's team can reinvigorate their Champions League credentials with a win at the Emirates this evening, as they look to gain ground on fifth-placed Chelsea.

Newcastle are currently sixth, five points behind the Blues and they will be hoping to improve on their last visit to north London tonight, having been on the end of a humbling 5-0 defeat at Tottenham in February.

Team News

Midfielder Mikel Arteta returns after suffering a blow to the head at Liverpool last week, while Aaron Ramsey and Andre Santos (both ankle) are available once again.

Yossi Benayoun misses out with a virus and joins long-term absentees Abou Diaby (hamstring), Francis Coquelin (hamstring), centre-back Per Mertesacker (ankle) and midfielder (Jack Wilshire) on the sidelines.

Newcastle striker Peter Lovenkrands is absent after he suffered a suspected ruptured thigh muscle but Shola Ameobi returns from illness.

Leon Best and Sammy Ameobi (both knee), Steven Taylor (Achilles) and Sylvain Marveaux (groin) are long-term injury concerns.