It is now almost exactly two months since Arsenal edged to a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth at the Emirates on October 6th. If you had told Arsenal fans that day that they would fail to win any of their next six Premier League games, they probably would have laughed in your face.
There are no words to sum up how bad Arsenal’s run has been, so cold facts will have to do.
The Gunners have gone on their longest winless run in the league since December 1994 when they ultimately finished 12th in the table, their lowest ever Premier League finish.
They simply have to put that record to right on Thursday.
Brighton have picked up just one point on the road since they beat Watford 3-0 on the opening day and that result no longer seems impressive given Watford’s shortcomings this season.
The Seagulls looks set for a relegation dogfight and, if Arsenal players have any spine whatsoever, they should be confident of arresting their alarming run of results.
There is a slight complication for Arsenal, however, due to the fact that they can’t defend.
The Gunners have failed to keep a clean sheet since that win over Bournemouth and they have conceded two goals in each of their last four games. They have conceded a staggering 20 goals in their last 10 games in all competitions of which they have only won one.
Coming up against a Brighton side who have managed to find the back of the net in their last three away defeats, their wait for a shutout might go on.
Arsenal to win and both teams to score at 9/5.
Amazingly, Sheffield United have now gone seven league games without defeat in a run that has included Manchester United, Arsenal, Wolves and Tottenham.
The Blades have set a perfect example for newly promoted teams and, although it is still early days, it would be a major surprise if they were dragged into the relegation battle.
Newcastle, on the other hand, have exceeded expectations under Steve Bruce. For all the doom and gloom around St James’ Park following Rafa Benitez’s departure, Bruce hasn’t really gotten a fair assessment.
However, the Magpies are currently four points better off than they were at this stage last season and have taken seven points from Man United, Man City and Tottenham already.
Things are nowhere near as bad as they have been made out to be at St James’ Park. With games against Southampton and Burnley to follow their clash with Sheffield United, they can put some real daylight between themselves and the bottom three as the season halfway point approaches.
Against a Sheffield United team that has drawn five of its last seven league games, there is no reason that Newcastle can’t take a point from this one.