As Premier League Gameweek 19 rolls on, the new year begins in style on Tuesday night as Arsenal host Newcastle in a potentially pivotal league encounter at the Emirates Stadium.
Now with an extended advantage of seven points at the top of the standings over champions Manchester City, the Gunners continue to sit pretty in their lofty bough after both the Citizens and their opponents here were held on New Years’ Eve.
Two points off City, the Magpies have become not only a strong bet for a Champions League place but such is their form, are now considered an outside title contender. Those credentials will be sorely tested here.
Nevertheless, under Eddie Howe, Newcastle have continued to flourish and their goalless draw with Leeds was their first winless league game since mid-October – a better current winning league record than Arsenal themselves who have won five on the bounce.
But stopping the Arsenal goal machine will be a task here and 2+ Bukayo Saka SOT at a boosted 4/1 from 2/1 with SkyBet is sure to gain attention.
Miguel Almiron drew a relatively rare blank last time out, but the Paraguayan has netted in the last three away league games including during Newcastle’s last trip to north London when they beat Spurs. Almiron is invitingly priced at 11/2 with Bet365 to score in 90 mins. A Saka-Almiron double meanwhile, fetches a whopping 18/1, again with SkyBet.
The visitors beat the north Londoners in their last meeting back in May at St. James’ Park, but prior to that, Arsenal had won the last eight games between the two sides. Indeed, at the Emirates, Newcastle have not so much as score a single goal in eight years.
This of course is a very different side and a pacy, fluid attack and a solid midfield could cause problems for Mikel Arteta’s men who have kept just one clean sheet on home turf this season. It could be a sensible ploy then, to back a 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 Arsenal win at 9/4 with BoyleSports.
Howe has a slight quandary as to who to lead his line with Callum Wilson reportedly ready to go after illness, considering that Chris Wood has been an able deputy up top over the festive period and scored away to Leicester on Boxing Day.
In his Burnley days, Wood was a player who created problems in the air for the Gunners so a 3/1 shot for Wood to have 1+ headed SOT could be one to consider with both PaddyPower and Betfair. To cover that however, if Wilson starts, the England man is the same price with Betfred to score anytime.
Finally, Newcastle stopper Nick Pope has been in superb form of late but can expect to be a busy man on Tuesday night so similarly, backing an Arsenal win, Arsenal to have the most SOT and the most corners at 11/4 with PaddyPower is another option.