Newcastle v Arsenal – St.James Park at 12:45 live on BT Sport 1
Round four of the Premier League (yes already!) kicks off with what should be an entertaining clash between Schteve McClaren’s Newcastle and Arsene Wenger’s underwhelming Arsenal.
These two sides have produced, what can only be called humdingers over recent seasons with score lines such 4-1, 3-0, 7-3 and who can forget the 4-4 when the Gunners led 4-0 at half time! Unfortunately, neither side have found their most fluid attacking football as yet this season but perhaps this is the ideal game to bring out the best in each other.
The hosts have begun life under new manager, ex England brolly wally Schteve McClaren in slightly muted fashion. Their opening three games have resulted in just two points and only two goals, both of which came in their first match against Southampton.
The club has backed their new man with a flurry of summer signings, unsurprisingly the majority of which came from Eredivisie, but they are yet to settle in to life in the North East and the existing players are obviously still getting used to the new training and tactics employed by McClaren.
This was evident in the 0-0 draw at Manchester United last time out, which although was a creditable point on the road, they were very lucky not to concede on the day and did not manage a single shot on target during the match.
Daryl Janmaat is available to return to the side but Moussa Sissoko could again be missing, which could mean a first league start for Florian Thauvin, who had a sensational debut in midweek against Northampton in the Capital One Cup.
Arsene Wenger is never far from a war of words in the media and this week has proved no different, with Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville questioning his transfer strategy as it’s painfully obvious what the Gunners need. But, the prickly Frenchman claims that he is working day and night to bring in the right players for his squad, despite the lack of signings this summer.
The Gunners had come into the new campaign high on confidence having beaten Chelsea in the Community Shield, but the 2-0 first game defeat at home against West Ham seems to have brought the whole club crashing back down to earth.
Wenger is still sweating over the fitness of his number one centre back pairing, as both Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny remain doubts ahead of the trip up North. Hopefully, the backup pair of Gabriel and Calum Chambers will start this game as they finished the last, otherwise Arsenal will be in for a rough ride at St. James Park.
Looking at the prices available in the markets for this match, Arsenal can be backed at around 1.60 which is basically the same price they were in this fixture last season. However, this time around it looks a touch short based on my tissue price of 1.72.
The Asian handicap betting line for this game is +/- 1 which is a fair line but it is still a tricky match to call. Arsenal clearly have the attacking talent to win by two goals against most Premier League teams but they are not yet firing on all cylinders.
Plus, everyone saw how poorly they defended without their two main centre backs and if they both miss out this weekend, it would be no surprise to see them concede at Newcastle tomorrow lunchtime.
With that in mind, together with a motivated Newcastle team and their fanatical home support, I am happy to take a chance on the small value available on the home team.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Newcastle +1 at 1.89 with Eastbridge
Prices correct at the time of writing.
Bet and win without restrictions at Eastbridge Soccer Betting Broker