Focus Fixture: Can Arteta's Gunners avenge St James' Park defeat

By Scott Thornton

Latest Football Odds

23 February 2024

Arsenal are looking to respond after their midweek defeat in the Champions League by continuing their great run of form in the Premier League. They face a Newcastle United side that have their sights set on a European place.

The Form

Arsenal have been at their brilliant best over the last month so the toothless performance in Portugal came as a real shock. They still have time to turn that tie around but they need to ensure that they don’t slip up in the Premier League this weekend.

The Gunners are 3rd in the table. They are five points behind Liverpool but this match against Newcastle is their game in hand. Arteta’s side suffered a dip in form just after Christmas and it meant they surrendered their place at the summit of England’s top tier. Since then, they have won their five league matches. Four of those victories came emphatically.

Newcastle have played their best stuff at St. James’s Park but they have managed to win their last four away matches in all competitions. Eddie Howe’s side are currently 8th in the league and qualifying for the Champions League once again appears to be a stretch.  The Magpies will aim to finish the season as strongly as possible in the hope that they will be playing some form of European football next season. 

The Magpies beat Arsenal when they met earlier in the season. Anthony Gordon scored the crucial goal in that fixture but their record at the Emirates is poor. They haven’t won at this ground since 2010.  Newcastle are unbeaten in their last four league matches so they will carry some confidence into this tricky fixture. 

The Runners and the Riders

Trossard has led the Arsenal attack in recent weeks to devastating effect so Arteta is likely to stick with him here. Gabriel Jesus is a doubt once again and it seems unlikely he will be risked from the start even if he is declared fit to play. Thomas Partey is also likely to be absent. Jurrien Timber and Oleksandr Zinchenko are the only long-term injuries that Arsenal have to worry about in this crucial phase of the season.

Newcastle's injury list is far more extensive. Callum Willson, Nick Pope, Matt Target, Elliot Anderson and Joe Willock are all ruled out. Alexander Isak faces a late fitness test after he returned to training this week. Anthony Gordon has been deployed as a striker in recent matches but the Swedish international's return would be a huge boost. 

What They Said

Arteta was left infuriated by the refereeing in his side’s 1-0 loss against Newcastle earlier in the season. He said “It’s not acceptable, there’s too much at stake. I don’t want to be in the hands of these people. I don’t know how to feel. I’m wasting my time, we are wasting our time. It’s difficult enough to compete against Newcastle, they are a really good team, but we have to talk about how the hell this goal stood.”

Dan Ashworth has grabbed the headlines in the north-east this week with the sporting director placed on gardening leave after expressing his desire to join Manchester United. The club have a bright future as they look to establish themselves amongst England’s elite club. Their statement said, “We are naturally disappointed that Dan has chosen to leave, however, our exciting journey doesn't stop and the process to recruit a new sporting director will begin immediately.”


These side’s recent domestic matches suggest we should see plenty of action in front of goal. They have had to contend with key injuries in the attacking third but the managers have continued to throw caution to the win in pursuit of goals.

 Arsenal’s five Premier League matches since the turn of the year have seen a glut of goals. The Gunners themselves are averaging 4.2 goals per game in that period. While they have been solid defensively and conceding just two, Newcastle have the quality to hurt the Arsenal defence.

Newcastle are averaging 2.67 goals per Premier League game in this calendar year. They have scored at least two goals in all six of those matches and have faced the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool. 

Howe’s attack may be thriving but the defending has left a lot to be desired. They are also conceding an average of 2.67 goals per league game in 2024 and both teams have scored in all of those.

Recommended Bet: Both Teams To Score at 1.72

Bet Builder Tip

We are also backing goals in our longer odds bet builder. Newcastle’s recent clashes with Manchester City and Liverpool saw five and six goals respectively so I’m happy to back over 4.5 goals as they take on the other title contender.

Arsenal have hit the five-goal mark themselves in their last two matches so the ingredients are there for another goals fest on Saturday. We will also back the home side to win thanks to their rampant attack.

Newcastle have picked up just three away wins in the Premier League this season.  Over that period. They have conceded an average of 2.08 goals.

The next leg of the bet builder is Bukayo Saka to score in the match. Saka has scored six goals in five Premier League matches in 2024 and has found the net in the last four.  Two of those goals have come from the penalty spot.

Saka has benefitted from Arsenal’s creativity and is receiving an average of 15.51 progressive passes per 90 minutes played. That puts him in the 98th percentile when compared with all other attackers across Europe’s top five leagues. He will undoubtedly have opportunities to find the net against Newcastle.

Recommended Bet: Over 4.5 Goals In The Match, Arsenal To Win & Saka To Score at 6.60

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