Arsenal v Newcastle United
EPL Match Preview
The Gunners kick-off 2016 at the top of the Premier League table as they welcome Newcastle United to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
ARSENAL HIT THE SUMMIT AS THEY BID FAREWELL TO 2015
A shock 4-0 away defeat at Southampton on Boxing Day did not deter ArsèneWenger’s Arsenal side from claiming top-spot in the Premier League as we bid farewell to 2015. Although it may only be on goal difference from Leicester City, it’s a warning to the rest of the title contenders that this team can stay the pace this time around. Normal service was resumed just 48 hours after the humbling at Southampton, as they strolled to a 2-0 home win over in-form Bournemouth back in North London to claim their fourth win in their last five league outings. The best online sports betting sites now have them as joint favourites at *2.37 with Manchester City, to be crowned champions in May but Wenger has been in the game too long to take anything for granted.
NEWCASTLE RETURN TO LOSING WAYS AFTER MINI REVVIVAL
Just when it seemed that Newcastle United had turned their fortunes around, two defeats over Christmas has put Steve McClaren’s team right back in the relegation dogfight. Wins against Liverpool and more surprisingly, away at Spurs have now been followed up by ahome draw against fellow strugglers Aston Villa, and back to back defeats against Everton and West Bromwich Albion. The loss against the men from the Black Country was particularly bitter for McClaren’s men and now they have the unenviable task of trying to conjure up a result against a side unbeaten at home since the opening day of the campaign – The Magpies will need to show some more of the grit and determination they displayed across North London at White Hart Lane.
Wenger declared this week that he has been left “speechless” by the performances of German midfielder Mesut Ozil this season and he will look to orchestrate the side once again against Newcastle United this weekend. Big French striker Olivier Giroud failed to find the target over the festive period and will be desperate to put that right on Saturday. Injuries still dominate team selection for Wenger as Alexis Sanchez, Danny Wellbeck, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Tomas Rosický and Mikel Arteta all remain sidelined.
It’s been a sad week for Newcastle United after the tragic death of former goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek. McClaren will want his current team to do him proud at the Emirates and looks likely to stick with the side that lost at West Brom on Monday. The volatile Serbian striker AleksandarMitrović looks set to lead the line once again and the best football betting sites price him at *4.50 to be an anytime goalscorer on Saturday. Just like their hosts, the Magpies have a debilitating injury list, with eight first-team players remaining in the treatment room.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Cech; Gibbs, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Bellerin; Ramsey, Chambers; Walcott, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Giroud
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1) Darlow; Dummett, Coloccini, Mbemba, Janmaat; Anita, Colback; Wijnaldum, Ayoze Perez, Sissoko; Mitrović
HEAD TO HEAD
Arsenal have won 11 of the last 14 league meetings between the two sides, with the last three Premier League games in North London producing an incredible 18 goals. Earlier this season, the Gunners won 1-0 at St James’ Park thanks to a goal from Oxlade-Chamberlain. Wenger’s side has only conceded more than one goal at home once this campaign – in their opening day 2-0 defeat by West Ham United.
Arsenal 1.25 Draw 6.50 Newcastle United 10.00
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)