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Arsenal opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Saturday
Newcastle United were held to a goalless draw by Leeds United on New Year’s Eve
These are the teams with the best records over the last seven Premier League games
The odds for Arsenal vs Newcastle United are brought to you from the Caesars sportsbook, where new punters will get up to $1250 in free bets after creating an account.
This is a clash between the two best defenses in the Premier League, so we anticipate a low-scoring encounter.
Back under 2.5 goals when Arsenal host Newcastle United on Tuesday. (+100)
Because they have not won the Premier League title in so long, it feels like soccer fans have been waiting for the moment that Arsenal slip up - not out of glee, but simply anticipation. The Gunners have not been crowned kings of England since 2004 and have not even come close to finishing in first place over the last decade.
Nor were they tipped to challenge for the championship at the beginning of the current campaign. Arsenal failed to finish in the top four last term, as they were overtaken by arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the final few weeks of the season. Before a ball had been kicked in 2022/23, they were only the sixth favorites to win the title with the best online sportsbooks.
Even after they came flying out of the traps in August and September, not many people expected them to still be at the summit of the standings at the start of 2023. Yet that is exactly where Mikel Arteta’s men are. Not only that, they hold a seven-point lead over the chasing pack after both Manchester City and Newcastle United failed to emerge victorious at the weekend.
Arsenal are not letting up in the pursuit of the prize. It had been assumed that the team’s youthfulness might be an impediment against the proven winners of Manchester City, but instead, it has brought a (positive) naive optimism that means Arsenal have not yet been affected by pressure.
All that could change, of course. We are not even at the midway point of the campaign yet, and Arsenal have some tough fixtures on the horizon in the coming weeks. It is telling that the sportsbooks still favor Manchester City, despite their seven-point deficit. One thing is for sure, though: Arsenal will not relinquish the top spot without a fight.
Arsenal have earned plenty of praise for taking 19 points from the last 21 available. Yet Newcastle’s record over the same period is identical. They too have exceeded expectations this season, and even though the Magpies were held to a 0-0 draw by Leeds United at the weekend, they remain well-positioned in the race for the top four.
One of the big reasons for Newcastle’s vast improvement - just 12 months ago they were 19th in the table and mired in a relegation battle - is the investment of their new owner, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Using the latest exchange rates, Newcastle splashed out more than $250 million on new players in 2022.
But the influx of money is not the only explanation. After all, the club from the northeast of England have not signed ready-made superstars. And even after their transfer business last summer was concluded, Eddie Howe’s side were not widely tipped to challenge for Champions League qualification in their manager’s first full campaign at the helm.
Just as the sportsbooks are not yet entirely convinced of Arsenal’s staying power at the top of the table, they harbor doubts about Newcastle’s ability to finish above at least three members of the so-called big six. Manchester United and Liverpool - both currently below Newcastle in the standings - are nevertheless available at shorter prices to secure a top-four finish.
Howe’s side are undoubtedly in an excellent position at the turn of the year, and they may even benefit from being underdogs at the Emirates Stadium in the midweek round of fixtures.
These two teams have the best defensive records in the division. Arsenal have conceded just 14 goals up to now, while Newcastle’s backline has been breached on only 11 occasions. Aaron Ramsdale has kept seven clean sheets and his opposite number Nick Pope has shut out Newcastle’s opponents nine times. Both clubs are flying high in large part because of their solidity at the back.
That is one reason why this could be a tight, low-scoring game. Another is the nature of this clash as a meeting between two of the top three, and the sides with the best records in the Premier League over the last few months.
Arsenal scored four goals against Brighton & Hove Albion at the weekend and Newcastle hit three past Leicester City on Boxing Day. That might hint at a high-scoring encounter at the Emirates on Tuesday, but both teams will have huge respect for one another and their first priority will therefore be to keep things tight.
With all that in mind, we recommend putting some money on under 2.5 goals when Arsenal take on Newcastle this week.
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Teams: Arsenal vs Newcastle United
Location: Emirates Stadium, London, England
Date and Time: Tuesday, 3 January 2023, 2.45 PM EST
How to Watch: USA Network, fuboTV
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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