ARSENAL welcome Newcastle to The Emirates for Monday Night Football. Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) previews the encounter, picking out his best bets.
Arsenal v Newcastle | Monday 1st April 2019, 20:00 | Sky Sports
Arsenal signed-off for the international break with impressive back-to-back triumphs over Manchester United and Rennes at The Emirates, securing a place in the Europa League quarter-finals, as well as breaking into the Premier League’s top-four for the first time under Unai Emery’s watch this season.
The Gunners were sharp, lively and industrious against United and Monday’s hosts have now claimed seven victories from 10 top-flight games in 2019 to move to within one point of rivals Tottenham with eight games remaining. Arsenal have now played all their Big Six rivals meaning Champions League qualification is very much in their own hands.
Emery’s outfit are back at The Emirates here to face Newcastle and it’s difficult to oppose the hosts considering their wonderful form in front of their home fans. The Gunners have taken top honours in 12 of their past 14 fixtures here across all competitions, with the exceptions arriving via the domestic cups in tough fixtures versus United and Spurs.
Arsenal’s outstanding record against the lesser lights
Remarkably, Arsenal have W24-D1-L0 when welcoming clubs outside the Big Six on Premier League duty since the start of last season and I anticipate the Gunners to enhance that stunning record further on Monday night. However, it’s worth chucking Over 2.5 Goals into the mix alongside the home success for an even-money shot from Ladbrokes.
Seventeen of those aforementioned 25 tussles featuring three or more goals, whilst Arsenal have struck at least twice in 12 of their 17 league outings at the Emirates under Emery. The hosts have managed only six shutouts across the campaign as a whole and head into this encounter with Lucas Torreira suspended, plus Hector Bellerin still sidelined.
That should encourage a Newcastle side that’s pulled clear of the relegation zone in recent weeks. Rafa Benitez’s boys have W5-D2-L2 since mid-January, although all five wins were secured at St James’ Park; indeed, the Toon have actually been beaten in four of seven winless road trips since Christmas and hold a rotten record against the league’s elite.
Newcastle can notch in North London
The Magpies have lost nine of 10 encounters with the Big Six this term and have W1-D2-L14 away to top-half teams since the start of last season. Nevertheless, eight of their 10 tussles with the Big Six in 2018/19 paid out for Over 2.5 Goals backers as Newcastle notched in seven of those matches. The visitors have also scored nine times in their last five fixtures.
Those aforementioned five contests have been the only showdowns that record signing Miguel Almiron has started with the Paraguayan impressing along with Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon in Benitez’s new-look attack. There’s no guarantee the United boss will unleash the trio together at the Emirates but there’s enough evidence to suggest Toon can at least get on the scoresheet.
Nevertheless, the absence of key defender Fabian Schar makes Newcastle’s rigid defensive structure weaker and means the Tynesiders are likely to come up short in the capital.
Arsenal v Newcastle – Arsenal to win and Over 2.5 Goals (1/1 Ladbrokes)