Lukas Podolski has never started more than six games in succession for Arsenal and this is a record that he will match if lining up from the opening whistle against Newcastle.
Four goals in his last two games means that it is virtually impossible to drop Podolski and the fact that only Aston Villa have taken fewer points than Newcastle across the last six games will give the German confidence of continuing his scoring streak.
So will Newcastle’s dreadful defensive record of late, having conceded 14 goals across their last five top-flight outings.
Looking in greater detail at the defensive troubles of Alan Pardew’s men, it can be noted that they concede far more goals from the right side of their penalty box than the left.
Three of the four they let in at Southampton came from the left, Stoke’s solitary goal arrived from the same side and only one of the four that Manchester United put past them came from the right.
This only boosts Podolski’s chances of scoring further, as he looks to run in behind from the left flank or arrive at the back post to get on the end of crosses.
Therefore, Podolski’s price of 6/5 to score in the 90 minutes should certainly be considered, while 9/2 is attractive odds that the 28-year-old opens the scoring.
Taking the same price that he is the last goalscorer is not as lucrative though, as the former Bayern Munich man has completed the full 90 minutes in three Arsenal appearances all season.
And it is Podolski’s probable confrontation with French right-back Mathieu Debuchy that could prove the key tactical feature of the Emirates clash.
Interestingly, aside from a substitute appearance against Swansea last time, Debuchy has not played for Newcastle in their disappointing run of five straight defeats because of a groin complaint.
He is a particularly adventurous defender, while Podolski is likely to retain an advanced position and avoid tracking Debuchy back.
Thus, there is the possibility of Newcastle establishing a numbers advantage down their right, but should Debuchy get caught too far forward, there will be even more space for Podolski to exploit.
Arsenal’s odds are 2/7 to beat Newcastle, with the draw on offer at 9/2 and an away win available at 10/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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