All the latest news and gossip from the past 24 hours at The Emirates.
The Gunners will be without Aaron Ramsey, who picked up a thigh strain v West Ham at the weekend.
However Jack Wilshere is back and Tomas Rosicky also returns from suspension and injury respectively for the Sunday match at St James Park.
Arsene Wenger has had his annual pop at the festive scheduling. Arsenal went four games without a win before beating West Ham at the weekend - a result that took them to the top of the table.
But Wenger is furious with the amount of games they have had to play over the past month:
"It has been a difficult period but mainly down to our schedule," Wenger said. "I completely think our schedule has been absolutely horrendous."
Diego Costa is reportedly not interested in a move to Arsenal … or Chelsea this summer.
The Atletico Madrid director of football Jose Luis Caminero is certain that he is going nowhere:
“Right now Costa does not think of leaving, he is contracted to Atletico. He has renewed with us which is important. He has shown that he wants to continue at this club.”
Belgian starlet Michy Batshuayi has not agreed any deal with an unnamed Premier League club - after reports suggested that team was Arsenal.
His current club Standard Liege have released a statement which unequivocally denied any deal had been done for the player and which suggested he would be at the club until the end of the season at least.
Arsene Wenger has sung the praises of Lukas Podolski - after his excellent return to action against West Ham this weekend:
"I tried to get him slowly back to competitiveness and he's shown he can have a huge impact because he can score and make assists."
image: © Ronnie Macdonald