Jaymes Monte previews the Premier League match of the week, as in-form Arsenal welcome Newcastle to the Emirates Stadium in what is expected to be an intriguing encounter.
Arsenal v Newcastle – Best Bet Tips:
Back Arsenal (-1 goal) @ 21/20
Back Rosicky to score @ 3/1
If Arsenal can take the positives from their midweek Champions League clash with AC Milan then they should be well placed to see off Newcastle this Monday night. The danger is that the manner of the victory, and ultimate elimination from the competition, has had a negative effect on the Gunners.
It certainly shouldn’t have any adverse effect as Arsenal were at their very brilliant best in the first 45 minutes. Before their shortcomings were laid bare as Arsene Wenger was unable to inject any impetuous from the bench when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott ran out of steam in the second period.
There are injury concerns surrounding no fewer than 10 Arsenal players going into this game, but the extra couple of days recovery that a Monday night kick-off allows should seeMikelArteta and Yossi Benayoun make the squad. SebastienSquillaci has an outside chance of being involved but, regardless, Wenger is likely to take advantage of a rare opportunity to name an unchanged back four for the fourth game in a row.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has no fresh injury concerns following last Sunday’s brutal North East derby. Shola Ameobi’s injury-time equaliser in that game will boost confidence within the camp but it isn’t likely to be enough to see him named in the starting XI. Pardew will likely opt to give Demba Ba and PapissCissemore time for their partnership to gel on the domestic scene, or opt to pack the midfield and deploy a lone striker.
Whatever happens from here on in Newcastle will be delighted with their season, but defeat at the Emirates would end any realistic dreams of snatching a top-four Premier League spot. And that is exactly what I see happening.
The Geordies are now without a win in three and striker Demba Ba has stopped scoring goals. His post-match interview after the Sunderland game painted him in downbeat mood despite the draw, having missed a penalty late in the first half. There must be some concerns surrounding his confidence levels.
The 4/9 available for a home win aren’t the most appealing of odds, but 21/20 on Arsenal to win with a goal deficit on the handicap offers a much better return.
Robin van Persie scored his 32nd goal of a fantastic season when slotting in from the penalty spot against Milan. He also has an impressive record against Newcastle scoring four goals in his last five games against the Geordies. I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him to add to those tallies here but at odds of 4/7 there is better value to be had elsewhere.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was a menace against the Italians and can cause Pardew’s men similar problems, while Tomas Rosicky has been rejuvenated in recent weeks, finally repaying his manager’s faith. The youngster can be backed at 2/1 to score anytime and Rosicky at 3/1.
It may be too late for them to win any silverware this season but Arsenal are beginning to play attractive and effective football again. Wenger just needs to create a squad that can see them maintain these levels throughout a season.