Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 11/10
Two sides who are only separated in the Premier League table by their goal difference, Arsenal will welcome Newcastle to the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
Starting with the hosts, only just managing to hand onto what was a flattering 0-0 stalemate away at Burnley when opening February, Arsenal are still struggling to pick up maximum points since bringing in new boss Mikel Arteta. Despite booking their spot in the fifth round of this year’s FA Cup thanks to a 2-1 win away at relegation scrappers Bournemouth last month, the Gunners are on a remarkable run that has seen them draw their last four Premier League matchups on the bounce. Throwing away the lead in consecutive matches against Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, and Chelsea, Arsenal have won just six of their 25 Premier League games this season (D13 L6), their lowest tally after 25 league games in a season since 1912. With only their goal difference keeping them in the top half of the table, there is no doubt that Pep Guardiola’s former right-hand man will be desperate for his side to make some much-needed improvements on home soil. Aside from a 2-0 win over Manchester United on New Year’s Day, the Gunners have won just one of their last eight Premier League matches at the Emirates.
Arsenal could welcome back several players, with defender Sead Kolasinac and midfielder Reiss Nelson in contention following thigh injuries.
New signing Cedric Soares, who arrived from Southampton with a knee issue, will not return to full training until the end of February.
As for the visitors, despite still dealing with a string of injury issues, Newcastle have continued to show some very impressive resolve. Despite only managing to play out a 0-0 draw against rock-bottom Norwich when opening February, Steve Bruce’s men did manage to book their spot in the fifth round of this year’s FA Cup thanks to a dramatic 3-2 win away at League One outfit Oxford last week. Also pulling off what was a stunning fightback to snatch two injury-time strikes away at Goodison and leave with a point intact, the Magpies are enjoying an eight-match unbeaten run across all competitions that stems back to New Year’s Day. More impressive, also unbeaten in their last four top-flight appearances, the one-time Sunderland boss finds his side on their most successful run since November 2018. However, while only their goal difference is keeping them behind Sunday’s hosts and climbing into the top half of the Premier League table, they do hold a worrying record against the Gunners. Losing their last three straight matchups against Arsenal, Newcastle have lost 12 of their last 13 Premier League matches against Sunday’s hosts.
Newcastle are still missing a raft of senior players, although Joelinton and Miguel Almiron are expected to return.
Yoshinori Muto and Dwight Gayle will be assessed but Andy Carroll remains out.
Key Factors to Consider
- Along with losing their last three meetings against Arsenal, Newcastle have lost 12 of their last 13 Premier League matchups against the Gunners.
- However, Newcastle are unbeaten in their last four Premier League matchups, their best run since November 2018.
- Arsenal have drawn their last four top-flight matchups on the bounce.
- The Gunners have won just six of their 25 Premier League games this season (D13 L6), their lowest tally after 25 league games in a season since 1912.
- Newcastle have not scored a goal at the Emirates since December 2014.
While Arsenal might open Sunday’s contest as a landslide favorite with the bookmakers, Newcastle do have a growing reputation for their new-found resolve. Unbeaten in their last four Premier League matchups, their best run since November 2018, Steve Bruce’s side will travel to North London quietly confident of causing an upset this weekend. Although the Gunners may have snatched a 1-0 win when the two sides faced earlier in the season, Sunday could prove to be a cagey encounter. With five of the last seven matchups between Newcastle and Arsenal seeing under 2.5 goals at full-time, we’re backing few goals at the Emirates this weekend.
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 11/10
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