Arsenal will look to continue their scintillating form in the Premier League when they welcome Newcastle United to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Gunners are at the summit of the Premier League table and registered a 4-2 away win at Brighton on New Year’s Eve. With Man City drawing 1-1 with Everton, Mikel Arteta’s men managed to stretch their lead to seven points at the top.
Newcastle United, on the other hand, have consistently punched above their weight this season. They are third in the table, and before drawing 0-0 with Leeds United, Eddie Howe’s men had won six straight Premier League games.
With a mouthwatering fixture at the Emirates Stadium on the cards, let us take a look at the key battles on the pitch.
#Bukayo Saka vs Dan Burn
One of the best young players in the Premier League, Bukayo Saka has been exceptional for Arsenal this season. With six goals and as many assists in the Premier League so far, he has played a massive role in helping the Gunners reach the top of the table.
Since the Premier League’s resumption, two goals in as many games make Saka a man to watch out for. The England international has the skill-set to cause problems for the Newcastle backline. Dan Burn is likely to be the player marking Saka on his flank.
Burn has been a key component in helping Newcastle enjoy the best defensive record in the division. His height and ball-playing ability help the Magpies play out from the back with ease and poise, but the lanky defender’s lack of pace is something Saka will time and again look to exploit.
#Martin Odegaard vs Bruno Guimaraes
Martin Odegaard has been a class act for Arsenal—leading the side, creating chances, providing assists and scoring goals. He has been their midfield talisman, registering six goals and as many assists in the league thus far.
Odegaard’s job is to look for attacking partners up front and hook them up with incisive passes and through balls. Going by his importance and form, Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes has to be at the top of his game to keep the Norwegian quiet.
Bruno has been the beating heart of this Newcastle side, looking to keep the ball flowing from back to front with the silky fluidity Eddie Howe wants out of the team. His performances generally impact how the Magpies overall fare.
Thus, it will be an interesting battle to watch out for between Odegaard and Bruno.
#Miguel Almiron vs Oleksandr Zinchenko
Miguel Almiron has been reinvigorated by Eddie Howe’s arrival at Newcastle and, when now in the best form of his career, he is proving to be a tricky, rapid threat on the right flank.
The Paraguayan is Newcastle’s top scorer and will arguably carry the biggest threat going forward. For Arsenal, Oleksandr Zinchenko could get the nod at left-back ahead of Kieran Tierney, but he should have his hands full with Almiron operating from that flank.
Thus, how Zinchenko keeps Almiron quiet whilst contributing to Arsenal’s build-up play will be intriguing to watch.