Two sides level on points clash on Sunday when Arsenal welcome Newcastle to the Emirates in the Premier League with each looking to move closer to the top of the table.
Emirates Stadium, London, England
Key Stat: Arsenal have four consecutive draws in a row in the PL and have managed to win just once in their last nine matches in the top flight.
Expert Verdict: It's an unbelievable record, really, if you think about it. Arsenal have won just six times in 25 matches. Who on earth would have thought that to be possible? Draws have been the crux of their issues, and that makes this match with a less than stellar or exciting Newcastle far from elementary. The Tynesiders have very little threat going forward most of the time, but given the Gunners' back line, that can be turned around in a moment's notice. Would a draw really be a shock here?
Mikel Arteta will be missing Calum Chambers, Kieran Tierney, and Bukayo Saka due to injuries for this clash. Three players- new man Cedric Soares, Sead Kolasinac, and Reiss Nelson- are all possibilities to play, but it will be touch and go on each.
The last time these two sides met, way back in August, it was, to no one’s shock, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that made the telling blow in the encounter. The Gabonese attacker scored, one of his 14 goals thus far, and they will hope he can rekindle his form having gotten a couple of breaks of late. Another that they will be putting faith in is Gabriel Martinelli, though there are questions about him. He had been catching on fire, but they moved him out of position at Burnley, so it’ll be interesting to see how he gets on again here.
Arsenal have four draws and a win in their last five matches:
0-0 draw at Burnley
1-2 win at Bournemouth (FA Cup)
2-2 home draw vs Chelsea
1-1 home draw vs Sheffield United
1-1 draw at Crystal Palace
Defenders:Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac
Defensive Midfielders:Guendouzi, Xhaka
Attacking Midfielders:Martinelli, Ozil, Aubameyang
Steve Bruce continues to nurse a massive injury list that makes this run they’ve had even more amazing. Emil Krafth, Jonjo Shelvey, Javi Manquillo, Dwight Gayle, Andy Carroll, Jack Colback, Paul Dummett, and Jetro Willems are all definitely ruled out. Yoshi Muto, Miguel Almiron, and Joelinton have been dealing with issues, but each of them look to have a very good shot at being included.
It might have ‘only’ been Oxford in the FA Cup, but once again Joelinton showed promise for the Magpies in their win. He had an assist to open the scoring and also scored to put them up by two. He’s not hit his stride in the league as of yet, but they will hope he’s about to do so. Another man that they will be desperately hoping to see hit the pitch here is Miguel Almiron. The former Atlanta United man has been at close to his best in the last couple of months, and that’s a big part of their success in the top flight and in the FA Cup as well.
Newcastle have two wins and three draws in their last five matches:
2-3 extra time win at Oxford (FA Cup)
0-0 home draw vs Norwich
0-0 home draw vs Oxford (FA Cup)
2-2 draw at Everton
1-0 home win vs Chelsea
Defenders:Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Lejuene, Ritchie
Midfielders:Sean Longstaff, Matt Longstaff, Bentaleb
In 162 matches, Arsenal have taken 69 wins, 34 draws, and 59 losses to Newcastle thus far.
Here's a look at the last five results:
Aug 11, 2019: Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal
Apr 1, 2019: Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle
Sep 15, 2018: Newcastle 1-2 Arsenal
Apr 15, 2018: Newcastle 2-1 Arsenal
Dec 16, 2017: Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Arsenal are at 2/5, a draw is at 15/4, and Newcastle are at 7/1.
Arsenal will begin the weekend hoping to start going forward rather than backwards of remaining in place. They are in tenth ahead of the round of matches on 31 points. That leaves them ten off of Chelsea for the Champions League and also seven ahead of West Ham. Some are stating, probably wrongly, that they are in the relegation battle, and while that is likely an exaggeration, results do have to improve soon. Four draws in a row is just not good enough, and that has to be righted.
Newcastle will come into this match, incredibly, on the very same number of points as the Gunners have. That is remarkable given that many had them as definite relegation candidates after Rafa Benitez left. They are in 12th, due to goal difference, and they come into this match in decent form having failed to lose in any of their last four (though they have three draws in that spell). Being seven clear of the relegation zone is not what the hosts would want to be, but they’ll be delighted.
The Gunners’ home form this season has been far from brilliant, to say the least. In 12 matches, they have just four wins and five draws thus far, giving them only 17 points. It’s not been good enough, and it’s one reason, of many, they are not going to be involved in Europe next term (potentially, of course). The Magpies, on the other hand, will give them some hope as they have just 11 points from 12 road outings to date. They have three wins and two draws, but they have only two points- via successive draws- in their last four games now.
Betfair have both sides scoring at 1.87.
Ladbrokes have Aubameyang scoring anytime at 7/10.
Both sides have had a penchant for the draw of late, and all term really, so it would be no real surprise to see that played out again. Arsenal should win, but paper doesn’t always win out in football.