Arsenal take on Newcastle United in the Premier League on Monday in a 8pm kick-off at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners will move into the top half of the table with a victory, albeit that would represent a slightly false position due to Aston Villa’s mounting games in hand.
Newcastle, meanwhile, are starting to look nervously over their shoulders after six league games without a win.
Arsenal are odds-on 4/9 favourites to win the match, with the draw 7/2 and a Newcastle win 13/2.
Given Arsenal’s lack of fluency in the final third (which let us down on Thursday evening as all we required to earn another winner was for Arsenal to score one goal in their tedious 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace), I won’t be touching them at those odds even with Newcastle’s terrible form.
Steve Bruce had stern words for his side after their horrific performance in defeat to Sheffield United last week, so I’d expect some sort of reaction from them even if it doesn’t lead to a positive result.
This only boosts my feeling that cards are good value here, especially with David Coote officiating. Coote is averaging four cards per game this season, with seven of his nine PL matches seeing 30+ booking points shown alongside both teams receiving at least a card each.
The recent FA Cup meeting saw more cards than any other tie in the road, too, with two for Arsenal and four for Newcastle (albeit after extra time).
With Arsenal receiving 1+ card in 15 of their 18 league matches and Newcastle receiving 1+ card in 16 of their 17, we’ve clearly got two teams who can be relied on to receive a card here. Just as importantly, their opponents are regularly carded, too, with 17 of Arsneal’s 18 opponents carded at least once this season and 15 of Newcastle’s 17 falling foul of the referee’s book.
Arsenal have actually received 2+ cards in 66% (12 times) of their league matches, with Newcastle hitting this line in over 75% of their’s (13 times), so I’m more than happy to back 1+ card each and 3+ cards overall.
To bring our Bet Builder to double-your-money territory, I’ll also back Under 2 Goals for Newcastle. Allan Saint-Maximin is back in light training, but this match is likely to come too soon for him after the winger severely suffered the effects of COVID-19. Without him, I just don’t see Newcastle threatening Arsenal on the break often enough to score two goals, especially with Mikel Arteta’s side keeping a clean sheet in each of their last four matches:
If you’re looking for a bigger price, Arsenal to win, Under 5 Goals and 2+ cards each team is 5/1. Each of Arsenal’s 18 league matches have fallen under this goal line this season, with Newcastle’s defeats to free-scoring Man Utd and Leeds the only two times their matches have seen five or more goals scored at either end.
In terms of player cards, it’s impossible to ignore Isaac Hayden at 13/5 (bet365) given that the Newcastle midfielder has been carded in four of his last six starts, while Fabian Schar has been carded twice in his last four starts and is likely to pay close attention to Alexandre Lacazette.
The double pays 11/1, while adding Thomas Partey (if he starts) or Granit Xhaka from Arsenal’s midfield provides a fun 40/1 treble. (If Saint-Maximin does surprisingly start, then consider Hector Bellerin, who alongside Hayden is the most carded player in the league this season, at 55/1 instead.)
Elsewhere, both sides’ central strikers look decent value to record a shot on target, with Lacazette 1/2 (bet365) and Callum Wilson 5/6 (Sky Bet). Wilson has had one in five of his seven away league games this season, while Lacazette ,ay have fired a blank against Palace, but he recorded 10 shots on target in his previous five league games.
I can see Bukayo Saka starting this one at left-back if Kieran Tierney fails to recover from injury as expected, meanwhile, which could mean a busy evening for Newcastle’s right wing-back. DeAndre Yedlin has received the nod there in recent weeks, making 2+ tackles in his last three starts. He’s 8/15 to make 2+ and 13/8 to make 3+ (Sky Bet), which he has in the last two matches.