The title may have gone for Arsenal before we’ve even reached Christmas, but the brilliance of Manchester City means there isn’t the same pressure on Arsene Wenger compared to recent seasons. There’s plenty of focus on Rafa Benitez in the opposite dugout though, as the Spaniard looks to mastermind a shock victory over his old foe.
Arsenal are 2/7 to record a routine win over the lowly Magpies. The Gunners lost their last Premier League fixture at the Emirates against Manchester United, but either side of that they put five past Huddersfield and six past BATE Borisov in the Europa League. In their quest to get back into the Champions League next season, defeat is not an option for Wenger’s side.
Newcastle are a long shot at 14/1, but they’ve given a couple of big teams a scare on the road in recent weeks. Dwight Gayle put them into the lead at both Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, although they went on to lose both games. The Magpies have conceded 15 goals in their last five fixtures, compared to 10 in their first 11 Premier League outings, so Benitez needs to reinstall that defensive discipline if his side are to have any chance of a result on Saturday.
The draw is 5/1 and looks like a more realistic bet if you think there could be an upset on the cards. Predict the Gunners will drop points at home for the second game in a row in a goalless draw at 18/1. A 1-1 scoreline is 11/1, which would keep up Newcastle’s scoring record of a goal a game so far this season. If you think there’ll be more goals, the 2-2 draw’s priced at 30/1 and 3-3 is 140/1.
Olivier Giroud is 16/5 to score the last goal of the game. The Frenchman drew level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the weekend as the Premier League’s second highest goalscorer off the bench, and he’ll be called upon once again if the Gunners need a goal late on.
Dwight Gayle is 23/2 to score the first goal, and complete a hat-trick of sorts against sides with top four ambitions after opening the scoring against Manchester United and Chelsea. Considering Arsenal are such heavy favourites to win the game, it would be an achievement for the visitors to get on the scoresheet at all, and you can back them to do this at 10/11.