Mikel Arteta’s side travel up north this weekend, where they will face Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United under the lights at St James’ Park. Arsenal have won 19 of the last 22 meetings between the two clubs and both teams haven’t scored in the last ten fixtures.
Eddie Howe has done a remarkable job at Newcastle United and not only has he made his players buy into his philosophy, but he has made each individual buy into the city and what it means to wear the black and white stripes. The relentless, hard work and effort as a priority approach is fantastic, and it has earned his side a position in sixth. The Magpies are the joint top scorers in the Premier League on 26 goals and they have also only failed to score once, which was at the Etihad. Furthermore, they have the fifth best defensive record (1.1 goals conceded on average per game), highlighting how his team works as a unit to attack and defend.
St James’ Park has become a fortress, with tackles celebrated like goals, and Newcastle must use their 12th man advantage on Saturday to stun Arsenal. A similar game plan to the one that beat PSG 4-1 will be deployed from the off.
Last time out in the Premier League, Newcastle stumbled for the second time in a row whilst travelling, drawing 2-2 with Wolves. The Magpies deserved to win the tie, but they looked vulnerable at times in transition. Howe’s side also visited Old Trafford, where they easily beat the Red Devils 3-0.
Arsenal’s quest for a Premier League title resumed this campaign after the thrilling battle with Man City last season where they eventually fell short. Arteta has the highest of standards and he demands that his players meet them. After ten matches, the Gunners sit in second place, winning 70% of their games and remaining unbeaten. They have the second best defensive record in the top-flight, 8 conceded, whilst boasting the third highest goals scored, 23. Arsenal have also netted in every match this season.
In order for Arsenal to get a result this weekend, they must avoid getting drawn into the occasion and block out the atmosphere. Over the last year, we’ve seen plenty of top sides fold when playing at Newcastle and the best approach may be to get through the first half an hour, remain patient in possession and look to make the game dull.
The Gunners swept last placed, Sheffield United, aside last weekend, comfortably winning the tie 5-0. Arteta had the opportunity to rest players, whilst giving others a chance to build fitness and confidence. However, Arsenal suffered a 3-1 defeat to West Ham on Wednesday in the EFL Cup.
Newcastle and Arsenal will both believe that they can win this game, and it is hard to predict an outcome. Although both teams to score in this fixture is uncommon, I believe it will occur this time around.
The final prediction is Newcastle 1-1 Arsenal.