Arsenal v Newcastle: Toon to fall short in the capital

Arsenal meet Newcastle in Saturday's Premier League curtain-raiser from The Emirates. Mark O'Haire shares his best bet.

Arsenal unravel at Anfield

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta said his Gunners side were punished by Liverpool last weekend because they "completely crashed" during a comprehensive defeat at Anfield. The capital club were beaten 4-0 and conceded three of those goals in a 25-minute spell during the second half, bringing an end to a 10-game unbeaten streak across all competitions.

Arteta said, "At 1-0 down we go to half-time, it is the moment to be patient but we were completely the opposite. We completely crashed. That's why we lose the game - the rest is a consequence of the frustration of having to chase. We showed for 45 minutes we could compete. We crashed for 15-20 minutes, we threw the game away and that is the learning."

The visitors gave the ball away while trying to play out from the back on several occasions, with Diogo Jota sparking the second-half flurry after pouncing on Nuno Tavares' loose pass. Changes could now be in the offing ahead of a return home with plenty of options available; only Granit Xhaka, Folarin Balogun and Sead Kolasinac are unavailable through injury.

Howe makes an impact from the hotel

New Newcastle chief Eddie Howe had an influence on his team's 3-3 draw with Brentford last Saturday despite being confined to a hotel room because of coronavirus, according to his assistant Jason Tindall. The former Bournemouth boss had to watch his first game in charge on a live feed but made the "final call" on introducing substitute Ryan Fraser.

Fraser played under Howe at Bournemouth and crossed for Allan Saint-Maximin's equaliser to earn the Magpies a point at St James' Park. Tindall said: "At 3-2 we had a decision to make and in dialogue with Ed, those subs we made were jointly done. But Ed is the manager and he makes the final call. Bringing on Ryan certainly made the difference."

Joelinton and Jamaal Lascelles were also on-target in a ding-dong encounter, with Jonjo Shelvey justifying his manager's praise before the game by showing how he can be a force in midfield. Overall, the Toon had 23 shots - nine on-target - but there's still plenty of work to be done with the new-look 3-4-3 appearing to lack protection in front of the defence.

Gunners relish matches with the Magpies

Arsenal have been dominant in recent head-to-head meetings with Newcastle, claiming top honours in 16 of their most recent 17 Premier League showdowns with the Magpies (W16-D0-L1). Since a 1-0 victory in November 2010, the visitors have lost each of their past nine away league trips to face the Gunners, failing to score in each of the last five.

Arsenal 1.49 have never lost a Premier League home game against the side starting the day bottom of the table (W15-D6-L0), winning the last eight in a row by an aggregate score of 23-2. The improving hosts have also posted W6-D2-L1 lately in the league, conceding just four goals in eight encounters before last weekend's unravelling at Anfield.

Newcastle 7.20 remain the only side still without a win in the top four tiers of English league football this season (W0-D6-L6). The Toon have yet to keep their sheets clean, and unsurprisingly boast the worst defence in the top-flight thus far. Meanwhile, all five of the Magpies' matches with top-eight teams have ended in defeat, leaking 16 goals in the process.

Toon to fall short at The Emirates

Arsenal's 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool was only the fifth Gunners' league fixture in 2021/22 to feature Over 2.5 Goals 1.63. However, half of the hosts' six outings at The Emirates have banked for Over 2.5 Goals backers with Mikel Arteta's producing much more fluent displays on home soil. The Londoners have kept four clean sheets in six against bottom-half dwellers.

Attack has tended to be Newcastle's best weapon of defence with the Magpies struggling to tighten up at the back. Both Teams To Score 1.78 has landed in all bar two of the Toon's tussles, with seven of 12 breaking the Over 2.5 Goals barrier.

Overall, the visitors' fixtures are averaging a chunky 3.50 goals per-game, with goals almost always prevalent.

Considering Arsenal rarely play with the handbrake completely off - the Gunners have only twice notched three or more goals - I'm happy to have a home success onside alongside Under 4.5 Goals at 1.78. This wager covers the 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, 2-1 or 3-1 home triumphs - 11 of Arsenal's 12 league wins here since the start of last season have featured Under 4.5 Goals.

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