Steve Bruce begins his reign as Newcastle United manager with a visit to Tyneside from Arsenal. Five of the Toon’s new signings could make their competitive debuts, with Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin, Emil Krafth and Jetro Willems all in line for a place in the squad. Andy Carroll is unavailable due to an ankle injury, though. Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac have not travelled with the Gunners squad to the north east.
Arsenal will feel confident, having won 12 out of their last 13 games against the Magpies in all competitions, with their solitary defeat during that run coming in April 2018. Newcastle have only drawn once in their last 25 league games, and have won six of their last eight games at St James’ Park.
Newcastle United vs Arsenal Prediction: Magpies 1-1 Gunners
Predicting how games on the opening day of the season will turn out is never an easy thing to do. Bruce’s Magpies area different team from last year, given the number of new recruits who are likely to be in the starting line-up. The Gunners have lost four out of their last six opening-day fixtures in the Premier League, but all of those defeats have come at home. Draws have been rare at St James’ Park in recent times, but we suspect that this game might buck that trend and end all square. Our prediction is for a 1-1 draw.
Our recommended tip: Draw, both score
Our featured tip for this game comes from Betway, who are offering odds of 7/2 on the game ending in a draw with both teams scoring. The bookies have made Arsenal favourites for this game, but we suspect that opening day rustiness will affect their chances of victory. This bet also matches our prediction of a 1-1 draw perfectly, while also giving you some flexibility when it comes to the precise final scoreline. We suspect that Newcastle will open the scoring in the first half, but that they will be unable to hang onto the lead in the face of some determined Arsenal attacking.
These two sides have met on 48 previous occasions in the Premier League, with Arsenal having won 28 of those games. Newcastle have won 10 and there have been 10 draws. Newcastle have beaten Arsenal six times at St James’ Park in the Premier League, with the Gunners winning 10 times on Tyneside.
The last time the two sides met in the Premier League was last season, when they played against each other at the Emirates Stadium in April. The Gunners won the game 2-0, thanks to goals from Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette. Last season’s meeting in Newcastle ended in a 2-1 win for Arsenal.
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Players to watch: Jonjo Shelvey & Alexandre Lacazette
Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey could emerge as a truly top Premier League player in 2019/20. Although always highly rated, there is a sense of unfulfilled potential about the player, who has never quite hit the heights that many observers felt he was capable of hitting. The former England international has a real eye for a pass, and his combative attitude means that he is never far from the heat of the battle.
Gunners striker Alexandre Lacazette will be a key component of Unai Emery’s team in 2019/20. The French striker is rumoured to be in discussions about a new contract, despite having three years left to run on his current deal, a sign of how much the Gunners value him. Last season, he hit 13 goals in 35 Premier League appearances, and also weighed in with eight assists. Of those goals, 12 were scored with his right foot and just one with his left.