Friday, February 26, 2021

Prediction: Arsenal vs Newcastle

Verdict: Arsenal win to nil

Best Odds: 5/4

Bookmaker: Unibet

Looking to make an immediate return to winning ways on Monday night, Arsenal will welcome a struggling Newcastle to the Emirates.

Arsenal

Starting with the hosts, while Arsenal might have opened their London derby against Crystal Palace last week as a real standout pick with the bookmakers, the Gunners will certainly know that they missed a real chance on home soil. Putting in what was a sluggish display at the Emirates, Mikel Arteta’s side had to settle for a 0-0 stalemate. While Pep Guardiola’s former right-hand man might still find his side trying to forge a way into the top-half of the table, there is no doubt the Reds have made a string of improvements over the past three weeks. Although Arsenal might have broken a string of unwanted records after a concerning start to the 2020/21 campaign, the former Premier League champions are unbeaten in their last five matchups across all formats, winning four of those appearances. Knowing that they have a golden opportunity to make a return to winning ways on Monday night, Arteta will be boosted by his side’s recent improvements at the back. Including their stalemate against the Eagles last time out, Arsenal have recorded four clean sheets on the spin.

Team News

Arsenal hope left-back Kieran Tierney will be available after a scan revealed his calf injury is not serious.

Pablo Mari is out with a similar issue but Gabriel Martinelli might be fit.

Newcastle

As for the visitors, putting in what was a woeful display on the road last time out, it is no secret that the pressure is really starting to mount on Steve Bruce’s shoulders. With a large section of the Newcastle fanbase calling for a change in the St. James’ dugout, the Magpies slumped to a hugely worrying 1-0 defeat away at a rock-bottom Sheffield United. Becoming the Blades’ first victim in any of their previous 21 Premier League matchups, some in their camp have really started to fear they could get dragged into a relegation scrap. Watching both West Brom and Brighton pick up big victories over the weekend, the former Sunderland boss finds his side on a winless run that stems all the way back to December 12th. With it appearing that their hard-fought 0-0 stalemate against defending champions Liverpool last month was just an ever so minor bounce for the Magpies, it should also be noted that Newcastle suffered late heartbreak when they traveled to the Emirates earlier in the month. Eventually hit with a 2-0 defeat against the Gunners and crashing out of the FA Cup, Bruce’s side should face another stern test on Monday.

Team News

While Allan Saint-Maximin is close to making his comeback after contracting the virus back in November, the winger will miss out on Monday night.

Jamal Lewis and Federico Fernandez will face a late fitness test on Monday night.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides faced off at the Emirates on FA Cup duties earlier in the month, Arsenal picked up a 2-0 victory.
  • In fact, the Gunners have recorded four clean sheets on the bounce.
  • Newcastle have failed to win any of their last eight matchups across all formats, a run that stems back to December 12th.
  • More worrying for the Magpies, they have also recorded just a single strike in their last six matchups on the spin.
  • Including their FA Cup victory earlier in the month, Arsenal have won 15 of their last 16 meetings against Newcastle.

Conclusion

While Arsenal might have put in a sluggish display against Crystal Palace last week, the Gunners should see Newcastle’s arrival on Monday night as a golden opportunity. Appearing to have turned a real corner since their 3-1 romp against Chelsea on Boxing Day and making a string of improvements at the back, a struggling Newcastle side should face a stern test in the capital. Hit with that hugely worrying 1-0 defeat away at a rock-bottom Sheffield United last week, the Magpies do have the feel of a club in crisis. Losing a staggering 15 of their last 16 meetings against the Gunners, including that FA Cup defeat earlier in the month, we’re backing a similar home victory on Monday.

Verdict: Arsenal win to nil

Best Odds: 5/4

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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