BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson has given his predictions for this weekend’s Premier League matches. He has Newcastle defeating Arsenal 2-1 at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
This is the reasoning behind his prediction:
Arsenal’s priority has to be the Europa League now because it is the only way they are getting into Europe next season.
The Gunners are extremely inconsistent at the best of times and I just have a feeling Newcastle will come out on top here.
Part of that is down to the Magpies’ form – they have won two and drawn two of their past four games – but they also have their big guns back in attack and they have made a big difference.
Arsenal are currently trailing Villareal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final. As Lawro states, The Gunners are well out of the European places at the moment in 10th place so their focus could remain on Villareal.
Newcastle are on an encouraging run in which we’ve lost just once in the last 8 matches while being unbeaten in the last four. So the Magpies carry some momentum into the match on Sunday.
Allan Saint-Maximin’s return has been nothing short of season-saving. The Frenchman has again shown his value to this team since coming back from his groin injury. His presence makes Newcastle a much different proposition on the pitch.
Last weekend, Newcastle got another goal from ‘super-sub’ Joe Willock. The midfielder will not be available on Sunday as he’s on loan from Arsenal. However, Steve Bruce could bring Callum Wilson back into the starting eleven to partner with Saint-Maximin.
Wilson looked up for it in his cameo at Anfield over the weekend. He seems to have fully recovered from his hamstring problem as evidenced by those pacy runs against the Reds.
Dealing with a front two of Wilson and Saint-Maximin for 90 minutes would be a handful for any defense. Especially one whose focus may be on elsewhere this Sunday.