Saturday 29/8/15, St James’ Park, 12:45pm
Odds: Newcastle: 19/4, Arsenal: 4/7, Draw: 14/5
Referee: Andre Marriner
Last three meetings:
Newcastle 1-2 Arsenal
Arsenal 4-1 Newcastle
Arsenal 3-0 Arsenal
Form: Newcastle: WDLD:, Arsenal: DWLW
Newcastle – Moussa Sissoko, Curtis Good, Emmanuel Riviere, Sylvain Marveaux, Paul Dummett
Arsenal – Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck
Win, Lose or Draw?
More data would be ideal to form a reliable opinion, but one statistic may be worth paying extra close attention to as Arsenal visit St James’ Park.
The Gunners have churned out a monumental 61 goal attempts in their opening three Premier League fixtures of the season, which unsurprisingly is the most in the top flight.
And they are visiting a Newcastle side which have created only 20, which is fewer than all of the other 19 Premier League sides. With top facing bottom in this particular statistic, surely picking a winner is as easy as it gets?
Those clutching at any long Newcastle straws in the victory stakes won’t find much room for optimism looking back through recent history either.
The Toon have faced Arsenal seven times since the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and have lost them all.
At least Newcastle now have a new manager that can break this streak.
Well, Steve McClaren’s past record against the Gunners in nothing to shout home about either from his time in the Middlesbrough dugout. Ten Premier League meetings ended with nine defeats and a lone victory. In the most recent, the former England boss was on the wrong end of a 7-0 tonking.
Four points would have surely been the minimum that Arsenal would have expected from their opening three fixtures of this season, especially having already played twice at the Emirates.
But this fixture has been a reliable source of three points in recent years and a handsome victory could even see them, at least temporarily, stationed in the promised land of the Champions League places.
Recommended bet: Arsenal (-1) to beat Newcastle @ 17/11
Newcastle’s only home game so far resulted in four goals being scored, while the net bulged three times in Arsenal’s only road trip. This bodes well for overs being a smart bet here.
So do the facts that Arsenal will eventually up their dreadful goal conversion rate against somebody and that Newcastle’s threat in the final third will be enhanced by new signing Florian Thauvin. The Frenchman scored one and helped himself to three assists on his home debut in a 4-1 Capital One Cup triumph over Northampton.
The Toon’s chances of goals of their own should only be further enhanced if Arsenal’s regular central defensive pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny fail to pass late fitness tests, after missing the goalless draw with Liverpool, where Wenger’s men looked ropey at best at the back.
Recommended bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 3/4
Who’s going to score?
Olivier Giroud is the obvious place to start, not only because he has seemingly won the early-season battle over Theo Walcott to be Arsenal’s line leader, but also because he helped himself to doubles in both Newcastle victories last season.
No striker in the whole of the Premier League has had more chances than the Frenchman’s 13 so far, which includes 12 from inside the box, yet only his fine volley against Crystal Palace has troubled the scorers.
Newcastle don’t rank especially well for the concession of headed chances either and so Giroud is likely to get the nod over Walcott again against a defence liable to defend deep, as they did successfully against Manchester United.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have already been undone by one new Premier League recruit this season when Dimitri Payet spearheaded a West Ham success and Thauvin has the opportunity to follow suit
Recommended bet: Olivier Giroud to score two or more @ 5/1
It is somewhat strange that in eight competitive matches between them this season, none involving either Arsenal or Newcastle have seen the second period out-score the first for goals.
Both clubs comfortably saw more goals registered in the latter 45 minutes of their matches last season in comparison to the opening half and it will only be a matter of time before the goals start to flow after the break.
Recommended bet: Second half to be the highest-scoring half @ 6/5