Can Newcastle all but secure safety?
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has suggested one more victory will be enough for his side to secure their Premier League place for next season.
He will be looking to get over the line when he takes the Magpies to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal on Monday, a place they have only ever won once, and on a night of the week they have a particularly poor record.
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Benitez has just a few weeks remaining as Newcastle boss as things stand; his contract expires at the end of the current campaign and fans are worried he will not sign a new one.
The relationship between manager and board is a can of worms not worth opening in this preview, but there seems no chance of an extension being signed until there is significant compromise, and until survival is confirmed.
Newcastle are a defensively solid team, who will threaten on the counter attack through Miguel Almiron, Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon. They have won five on the bounce at home, but their away form has suffered; not since December 15 have they tasted victory on the road, though they did snatch a dramatic point at Bournemouth last time out.
Rondon netted a sublime free kick at the Vitality Stadium to take his goal tally into double figures. He is probably the visitors’ best hope of scoring in this game and can be backed anytime at 12/5
with Betfair, while Perez, who recently netted a brace in the win over Everton, is 7/2.
But Arsenal have been superb at home for quite some time now; they have five games at the Emirates in all competitions, conceding just one goal and scoring 15 goals. Unai Emery’s men will ve focussed on staying in the Champions League race and they’ll be confident of taking a victory here.
Newcastle have struggled in the games against top six sides all season, winning just once home and away. But there is a real theme that has developed over the campaign, with many of these games ending in one goal defeats. Benitez’s tactical nous will ensure the Magpies will be competitive, but we think you should back Arsenal by a goal with Ladbrokes.
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