Charlie Nicholas predicts Newcastle v Arsenal
Charlie Nicholas has been looking ahead to Sunday at St James Park.
Newcastle v Arsenal as the two clubs open their Premier League season.
Considering that whilst Arsenal have been consistently good in recent years BUT not that good, the record against this weekend’s visitors if horrendous.
Arsenal have won 12 of their last 13 matches (home and away) against Newcastle, with the one defeat coming in April 2018. Islam Slimani’s finest (only) moment in a black and white shirt, helping to set up the winner for Matt Ritchie.
That game is the only win against Arsenal at St James Park since 2005.
Indeed, despite not being one of the very most dominant clubs for most of this period, Arsenal have only lost three of their last 36 games (all competitions) against Newcastle.
A more enjoyable and uplifting stat is the one that shows six wins in the final eight home matches of last season, including the 3-2 comeback against Everton and the even more remarkable second half inspired win over Man City.
Steve Bruce has repeatedly claimed his team will be set out to attack this season, Newcastle fans interested to see whether actions speak as loudly as his words.
Last season Newcastle conceded fewer goals than all but two clubs outside the top four, Dubravka letting in only 48 goals whilst the lies of Arsenal conceded 51 and Man Utd 54.
Newcastle’s goalscoring improved rapidly when Miguel Almiron arrived, with 21 goals in the final 13 games compared to 21 in the first 25 PL matches. Almiron sparking Rondon and Perez into being part of a very productive trio.
However, NUFC’s final total of 42 PL goals was dwarfed by Arsenal’s 73, only bettered by Man City and Liverpool.
Both clubs have brought in a number of players but many of them arriving late on, leaving doubts as to how many will be on the pitch on Sunday.
A major benefit for Newcastle if £72m signing Pepe doesn’t make it, the same with Lacazette who is recovering from an ankle injury.
However, regardless of that pair, Arsenal will have a lot of quality going forward and very unlikely they won’t score, so there will be massive pressure on Joelinton from the very start, with many of his new teammates also needing to take more responsibility when it comes to goals.
Former Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas, unsurprisingly, spent most of the time speaking about his former club and fancies a 3-1 away win.
A clean sheet for Newcastle and a debut goal for Joelinton would be the perfect response and settle a lot of nerves on Tyneside.
Charlie Nicholas talking to Sky Sports:
“The Gunners surprised me with the signing of Nicolas Pepe, they will be very exciting going forward after that.
“I am glad that Laurent Koscielny has been shipped out, Carl Jenkinson has gone so the ones Arsenal don’t need are going.
“Is David Luiz better than what Arsenal have? Absolutely. On his day he is world-class. On another day he is an absolutely ridiculous defender.
“It suits Arsenal to a tee! He is better than what Arsenal have so if they do get him, then I see no problem with that.
“I am just looking for an improvement from Arsenal. They have to challenge for the top four after blowing it on a number of occasions last season.
“Arsenal are not going to challenge for the title. If Luiz comes in I will applaud it and I think they will finish third.
“Steve Bruce is just through the door at Newcastle.
“Jacob Murphy is going away from St James’ Park and they have made some interesting new signings.
“Steve Bruce is not Rafa Benitez and he will not play as cautious as him.
“I see both teams scoring, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette ushering in the new season with a goal apiece.
“Prediction is Newcastle 1 Arsenal 3.”
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