EPL Picks & Odds for Saturday's Arsenal vs. Newcastle

Lee Phelps

Thursday, December 11, 2014 2:40 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 2:40 PM UTC

Newcastle will be looking forward to their trip to London as much as Chelsea were anticipating their journey to St James, with a poor record at The Emirates. Our tipster has been looking at the betting and has picked out his favourite odds as part of his free picks.


This is a match-up of two teams hit hard by injuries and suspensions, with 19 players missing at the time of writing. Newcastle seldom get anything out of Arsenal in the Premier League, with the Geordies having won just one of the last 14 league matches against, including losing the last five on the bounce.

The Gunners missed out on top spot in their Champions League group on goal difference to Dortmund but can come back to concentrate on the league now, with qualification assured. Interestingly this is their first home game following a European match this season.

There’s no doubt it was a great 4-1 win in Turkey but Galatasaray are widely regarded as the worst Champions League team this season acording to the EPL Soccer odds market, plus Arsenal have tricked us too many times this season. That win away from home should give you confidence to back them at home, but it doesn't.

I do want to be with Arsenal in some form though, the stats I will furnish you with in a minute about Newcastle's lack of early goals are compelling and given the fact that Arsene Wenger’s team have only scored two first half goals out of 12 at the Emirates in the Premier league this season (with one of those in the 45th minute) I can see Newcastle holding them tight until at least half time.

Olivier Giroud’s performance against Stoke wasn’t much to write home about, but remember all those stats about the majority of his goals coming in London and predominantly at his home stadium? I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him grab more against the Magpies – he has netted four goals in four Barclays Premier League appearances against them already, with three of them headers.

I promised you the goal stats on Newcastle: they are the only team yet to score in the opening 30 minutes of their league matches this season. Their earliest goal this season has come in the 37th minute.

I also mentioned the injuries and bans and one man who will be missed in Moussa Sissoko. He has been the driving force in midfield, which resulted in two goals on Saturday. His presence, energy and spirit also helps the other players and they may well struggle with the pace and quality of Arsenal.

I think it’s important to look back at how Alan Pardew masterminded the win at Manchester City in the League Cup. Pardew checked the tape and did the only thing a "lesser" club can do against City: play a low block, pack the middle and utilise pace on the wings to counter-attack.

The pace he found in Gabriel Obertan and Rolando Aarons; the structure and discipline he found in a deep-set 4-3-3 full of players desperate to lay down their lungs on the pitch.

Fabricio Coloccini led a defensive line who sat on the edge of their own box for most of the game, but as soon as the ball came anywhere close to them, they become aggressive in snuffing out the danger.

Obertan frequently slipped into space behind the roaming Kolarov, and Newcastle launched most of their attacks this way, with his pace in space a serious issue for City's defenders.

Soccer picks
I do think the absence of Sissoko will cost Newcastle in the end, but their confidence and that blueprint from beating Manchester City away from home will mean they go into this game looking for a nil nil draw or to catch the Gunners on the break.

If I am going to back Arsenal I would have to do it by looking for some value. The draw at half time and an Arsenal win after 90 minutes at 10/3 is my favourite Soccer pick on the result.

My fears over backing the Londoners will lead me to play safer thought and I’m going to follow the stats with a wager on the second half being the highest scoring at 23/20.

Free Soccer Pick: Second Half Highest Scoring 23/20

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