Verdict: Arsenal win
Best Odds: 1/2
Turning their attention to FA Cup duties on Saturday evening, Arsenal will host fellow Premier League outfit Newcastle at an empty Emirates this weekend.
Starting with the hosts, while Arsenal might have broken a string of unwanted records after a hugely worrying start to the 2020/21 campaign, the Gunners appear to have turned a real corner over the festive period. Although Mikel Arteta might have seen his job at the Emirates come under real scrutiny after enduring their worst domestic start in over 50 years, the Reds have found themselves enjoying a recent boost. Last seen away at Premier League returners West Brom, the defending FA Cup winners managed to put on a thumping display in the Midlands. Eventually breezing past the relegation scrappers thanks to a 4-0 win at the Hawthorns, Arsenal suddenly find themselves enjoying a three-match top-flight winning run. Skyrocketing their way from any looming bottom-three battle, Saturday’s hosts should also be boosted by Alexandre Lacazette’s recent purple patch. Bagging himself a brace against the Baggies last weekend, the Frenchman has racked up five goals in his last four matchups across all competitions.
Expected to make a string of alterations this weekend, the likes of David Luiz, Callum Chambers, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mohamed Elneny could feature on Saturday evening.
Eddie Nketiah could also be handed a chance to lead Arsenal’s line at the Emirates.
As for the visitors, although Newcastle might have signed off their 2020 run with what was a gritty 0-0 stalemate against defending champions Liverpool, the Magpies failed to keep up that momentum over the weekend. Eventually hit with a 2-1 defeat at home against top-four chasers Leicester, there still remains a large section of fans around the North East who feel that Steve Bruce is not the man to take them forward. With the former Sunderland boss finding his role at St. James’ Park under what feels like constant scrutiny, Newcastle have lost three of their last four contests and they have failed to win any of their previous six appearances on the spin. With their recent issues highlighted by a shock 1-0 loss against Championship outfit Brentford in the EFL Cup last month, Saturday’s guests have also shown some extended issues in front of goal. Despite bagging a consolation strike against Leicester last time out, that was the only goal that the Magpies have scored in over 400 minutes of action.
Newcastle look set to once again be without Allan Saint-Maximin and Ryan Fraser this weekend.
Central defender Jamaal Lascelles will also likely miss out on Saturday as he deals with the effects of coronavirus.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides last faced off at the Emirates, Arsenal picked up a thumping 4-0 win.
- Despite their tricky start to the season, the Gunners have won each of their last three Premier League contests on the bounce.
- French striker Alexandre Lacazette has racked up five goals in his last four matchups across all competitions.
- Newcastle have lost three of their last four matchups across all formats and have failed to win any of their last six appearances.
- The Magpies have also managed to score just a single goal in over 400 minutes of action.
Although Arsenal might have endured a hugely worrying start to the 2020/21 campaign, the Gunners find themselves enjoying a real purple patch. Putting on a rampant display as they landed a 4-0 romp away at West Brom last weekend, Mikel Arteta’s side have won their last three matchups on the bounce and they’re certainly enjoying their brightest run of the season so far. With Newcastle continuing on their own worrying patch and without a win in their last six straight matchups, Steve Bruce’s strugglers should face a stern test in North London. Hit with a 4-0 drumming the last time they made the trip to the Emirates, we’re backing a similar home victory on Saturday evening.
Verdict: Arsenal win
Best Odds: 1/2
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