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Michael Taylor 20th Mar 2009 - 22:33

Arsenal uprising will see Newcastle freefalling

Being a Newcastle United supporter is never easy but it could be even harder than normal if Arsene Wenger's improving Arsenal march into St James' Park on Saturday and take all three Premier League points.

The Magpies have seemingly thrown tens of millions of pounds away again this season as their highly paid, under-achieving flops have failed to fire amongst scenes of boardroom mayhem, leading to a relegation battle that nobody would have predicted at the start of the season.

The likes of Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini were supposed to be the final pieces in Kevin Keegan's new, exciting revolution but just like everything related to Newcastle it was only ever destined to fail.

King Kev's exit was the start of the problems but the events since his departure have been one long nightmare that has left the Toon Army praying for every point as they attempt to pull away from Middlesbrough, Stoke and Portsmouth in a relegation dogfight.

The problem now for Newcastle is that they have run into Arsenal just as their star players are returning and the results as such are going their way - and I expect the Gunners Champions League charge to continue on Saturday evening.

Arsenal are 4/6 favourites to win the game and I think that is worth every penny. In days gone by St James' could have been considered a fortress but, with just four wins at home all season, it seems nobody is afraid of visiting Tyneside, except perhaps the home team. Newcastle at 9/2 are enticingly priced but they just can't buy a win right now.

In fact Arsene Wenger's biggest problem might be who to select now he has a large part of his squad back.

Andrei Arshavin has made an immediate impact since his under-stated move from Zenit St Petersburg and he will be charged with cutting open Newcastle's often fragile defence. The Russian loves to get forward and although Wenger sees him as a creative player it could be great value to back him at 7/1 to notch the first goal of the game.

And that is something I expect a few of - goals.

The Gunners may have struggled to find the net in recent months but with the re-arrival of Theo Walcott and Eduardo they now have the pace to stretch any defence - never mind Newcastle's.

While Newcastle's main threat Michael Owen looks a decent bet at 11/4 to score anytime as the England international is possibly the most natural goalscorer in the Premier League.

And though it is easy to mock the Magpies defensive inabilities but Arsenal themselves have rarely looked fully assured at the back this season, as their display against Hull in midweek can testify.

With this in mind I think 2-1 to Arsenal could be worth a punt at 7/1 although as an interesting outside chance 3-2 Arsenal priced at a massive 28/1 could be worth a few quid.

Whatever the score though, it looks as though Newcastle's grip on Premier League football could be loosening and after a year of doom and gloom don't bank on the days getting any brighter for the Toon Army.

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