Saturday’s Premier League action caps off with a handsome-looking game between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James’ Park.
The Magpies’ renaissance after suffering three defeats in their opening four Premier League fixtures is off and running, with Eddie Howe’s side stitching together six consecutive unbeaten league matches (W4, D2).
Newcastle will be confident about extending their top-flight purple patch following a stunning 3-0 League Cup victory over Manchester United on Wednesday.
Goals from Miguel Almiron, Lewis Hall and Joe Willock inspired the Tyneside outfit to an emphatic triumph at Old Trafford, helping them bounce back from a 2-2 league draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
After ousting both Manchester clubs from this season’s League Cup and demolishing Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 in the Champions League, there’s no reason for Newcastle to doubt their prospects against Arsenal.
However, they have historically struggled in this fixture, picking up just four wins in the last 45 encounters against the London giants (D9, L32), which plays into the Gunners’ hands.
Mikel Arteta’s side stuttered in midweek League Cup action, slumping to a 3-1 defeat to cross-city rivals West Ham United on Wednesday, just days after hammering Sheffield United 5-0 in the Premier League.
Eddie Nketiah’s first Premier League hat-trick saw Arsenal protect their unbeaten top-flight start (W7, D3) and stay within striking distance of early pacesetters Tottenham Hotspur.
The 24-year-old has not been given enough credit for the club’s bid to embed themselves in another title race, having bagged five out of his seven attempts on target in the division this term.
Howe’s side come into proceedings not only as one of the most in-form sides in the Premier League but also as the division’s most prolific attack, having netted 26 goals in the first ten rounds.
History beckons for Newcastle as after scoring at least two goals in their last five Premier League outings, they could do it six times on the trot in the competition for the first time since 2004.
Despite drawing a blank in both top-flight showdowns against Arsenal last term, the Magpies will expect to continue their recent free-scoring form at St James’ Park.
Before missing a catalogue of clear-cut chances in a 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in their last competitive home game, Newcastle had scored precisely four in two consecutive matches on Tyneside.
Newcastle’s outrageous scoring form shouldn’t faze Arsenal, considering the Gunners have shut the Magpies out in 30 Premier League encounters en route to setting an outright record in the competition.
Arteta’s side have been equally impressive at the back in their recent top-flight assignments, racking up three clean sheets across their last four league games (W3, D1), including a 1-0 win over Manchester City.
Their stellar defensive exploits haven’t come at the expense of their attacking proclivities, with Arsenal tallying 23 Premier League goals this season while netting on 16 of their last 17 travels.
But the visitors cannot take anything for granted, knowing both their competitive losses this term have come on hostile turf and saw them capitulate multiple times.
Sven Botman’s return to the field will take more time than first thought, with the Dutchman joining long-term absentees Elliot Anderson and Harvey Barnes on the sidelines.
Newcastle will also be without standout striker Alexander Isak and winger Jacob Murphy, while Sandro Tonali’s suspension renders him unavailable for the next nine months.
Jurrien Timber still has a long way to go before overcoming his nasty ACL problem, but he is not alone in the treatment room, with Gabriel Jesus and Thomas Partey also struggling with injuries.
Arsenal can at least draw confidence from Martin Odegaard’s return to the fold after being rested last weekend.
Newcastle United potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Nick Pope; Kieran Trippier, Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar, Dan Burn; Joelinton, Joe Willock, Bruno Guimaraes; Miguel Almiron, Anthony Gordon, Callum Wilson.
Arsenal potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): David Raya; Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Martin Odegaard, Declan Rice, Kai Havertz; Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah.
We Say: Newcastle United 1-1 Arsenal
Another goal fest is probably the first thing that springs to mind when you look at this match-up. But in reality, both last season’s duels were keenly contested and produced very few scoring chances.
While we expect Newcastle to return to the scoresheet against Arsenal, the Gunners should walk away from Tyneside undefeated.
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