Despite being exceptionally average this season, Arsenal’s home form has been impeccable. Since losing to Man City on the opening day of the Premier League season at the Emirates, Arsenal have not lost a home league game and have only drawn there twice; against Liverpool and Wolves in successive November ties.
Since then, Arsenal have won nine consecutive league games on their own turf, including defeats of Tottenham, Chelsea and Man United. The Gunners’ home form is largely responsible for their lofty position in the race for the top four and without it, they would probably be fighting for a Europa League place.
Newcastle will not be a pushover, however. After a difficult start, Newcastle have gradually improved as the season has gone on and realistically only need one win to secure their Premier League survival.
A run of one defeat in six games before the international break has given them breathing space, but Arsenal’s formidable home form should see them over the line. They should do so with a bit to spare too.
They have blown teams away in the early exchanges recently, scoring inside the first 15 minutes in seven of their last eight games. At even money, they are good value to win with a goal handicap.
Apart from Sergio Aguero, Aubameyang has the best goals-per-minute record of those chasing the Premier League golden boot. The Gabonese striker has been prolific since he joined Arsenal last January and his pace has caused problems for virtually every Premier League defence.
He has been particularly effective against teams in the bottom half of the league, scoring 11 of his 17 league goals against teams in 11th place or lower. Auba has largely enjoyed home comforts in his goal-scoring exploits too, 11 of his 17 goals also coming at the Emirates.
Every goal he’s scored in 2019 has come at home.
Only two goals off Aguero in the race for the golden boot, Aubameyang can close the gap on Monday night against a Newcastle team that will sit deep and afford Arsenal plenty of possession.
Tottenham dropping points for the fifth game in a row on Sunday has given Arsenal the chance of overtaking their North London rivals when it seemed extremely remote a month ago. Despite a rocky Christmas period where it seemed for all the world that Arsenal had reverted to the same old Arsenal again, they can launch themselves into the top three with a win on Monday night.
As a result, expect them to come flying out of the traps in the opening exchanges against Newcastle. Their recent form suggests that they will score early anyway.
In their last eight games, Arsenal have scored 11 first-half goals and only failed to score in the opening period once, in a 2-1 victory over Cardiff in February.
Having failed to lead at the break in any of their first 17 games, they have led at half time in nine of their last 13 and a fast start makes it far more likely that we will see plenty of goals on Monday night.
Newcastle have also been uncharacteristically free-scoring this calendar year, failing to score in just three games in 2019. Their last two games saw them find the net on five occasions, and they could poke holes in what is sometimes a porous Arsenal defence.
The Gunners have the second worst defensive record of the top seven and have conceded just one goal fewer than Newcastle in 14th. Rafa Benitez’s men will get chances, that much is certain, and all they need to do is take one of them for the both teams to score market to click.
*All odds correct at time of posting