Arsenal host Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium on Monday in the English Premier League. The two sides met recently in the FA Cup as the Gunners won 2-0 after extra time to extend their winning run against the Magpies to five matches. Can Steve Bruce’s Newcastle spring a surprise against Mikel Arteta’s charges?
Arsenal were on a run of one win in 10 Premier League matches on Christmas day and Mikel Arteta’s job was hanging by a thread. A 3-1 win against Chelsea turned the tide. Arsenal then won 1-0 at Brighton and 4-0 at West Brom before a 2-0 FA Cup win at home to Newcastle after extra time. Emile Smith-Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the goals.
On Thursday, Arsenal were held to a 0-0 draw at home to a disciplined Crystal Palace side.
Arsenal Team News
Both Kieran Tierney and Pablo Mari missed the Crystal Palace match and are doubts for this game. Ainsley Maitland-Niles struggled at left-back in Tierney’s absence and Arteta may instead put Bukayo Saka in that role if the Scot is still missing. David Luiz covered for Mari and did well and Gabriel was back on the bench and in contention too.
Thomas Partey made his injury comeback as a substitute in that match and will be pushing for more minutes but is unlikely to start. Gabriel Martinelli is still carrying a knock and likely misses out. If Saka drops to left-back, then Nicolas Pepe or Willian could play in his place on the right.
Nothing less than a win will do from this match but as against Palace, Arsenal can’t be too gung ho or they open themselves up to transitions and counter-attacks. Roy Hodgson’s team had some decent openings on the break and Newcastle play in a similar way: drop off, no high pressing, but speed in the wide areas to counter.
Arsenal need more ideas in wide areas to break down what will be a stubborn Newcastle side.
With just two points from six league matches, Newcastle are in dire form and heading towards the relegation places. They sat 12th in the table on the 12th of December but the last month has seen the Toon drop into 15th place and they sit 19th on the table since that victory.
Including cup matches, they are winless in eight games and have failed to score in five of those clashes. They lost 1-0 to previously winless Sheffield United last time out having played with ten men for half the match after Ryan Fraser was dismissed.
Newcastle Team News
Newcastle look set to continue to be without Allan Saint-Maximin on the wing, Jonjo Shelvey in midfield and Jamaal Lascelles at the back. At least one of them could make the bench though. Ryan Fraser is suspended and Jamal Lewis is a doubt at left-back.
Steve Bruce bizarrely left Joelinton and Miguel Almiron as unused substitutes against Sheffield United but will surely recall them for their speed in this match.
As usual, expect a 5-4-1 Newcastle shape that sits off Arsenal and blocks passing lanes without really doing any pressing high up the pitch. The side will aim to burgle a 1-0 win on the counter-attack or from a set play but would be pretty delighted to leave with a point. They are basically going to play for a draw from the start.
Arsenal have lost 7 of their last 14 PL matches
Arsenal have won 3 of their last 4 PL matches
Arsenal have kept 4 consecutive clean sheets after 1 in 8 matches before that
Arsenal have failed to score in 7 of their last 14 PL matches
Arsenal have won 5 matches in a row against Newcastle
Newcastle are 8 matches without a win
Newcastle have failed to score in 5 of their last 6 matches
Newcastle have lost their last 5 away matches
Arteta has a strong bench to call upon even if he rotates his side whilst Newcastle are out of form and struggling to score goals. A Gunners victory is a good bet.