Arsenal latest: Early team news; Giroud says fourth-place finish would be a success

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Arsenal head into this evening’s game against Newcastle United knowing they are just two wins away from securing Champions League qualification once more.

A win over the Magpies at the Emirates Stadium will put the Gunners four points clear of Everton with just two games remaining, and considering the Toffees have to play Manchester City, Arsene Wenger will be stressing the importance of a win tonight to give his team a huge advantage heading into the home-straight.

In early team news, the BBC reports that Thomas Vermaelen is set to return following a hamstring problem. Abou Diaby had returned to first-team training and would have been hopeful of minutes prior to the end of the campaign, but the Frenchman has now sustained a minor groin injury.

Newcastle will be without Papiss Cisse, Luuk de Jong and Hatem Ben Arfa, but Moussa Sissoko should return to the squad.

In other news, Olivier Giroud believes finishing fourth will ensure Arsenal have had a good season.

In quotes published by the Mirror, the French striker said, “If we have finished fourth, we have not lost anything and it will be a good season.

“I think that if we finish fourth, that will be a succesful season. And the FA Cup, if we win, would be a bonus.”

Considering a league place that yields no trophy as more of a success than holding aloft one of Europe’s most coveted domestic cups is an interesting way of looking at things. But such is the way of football with the financial rewards of, and coveted participation in, the Champions League these days.

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