Newcastle United vs ArsenalEnglish Premier League, KO: 14:00 Aug 11, 2019, St.James' Park
ANOTHER turbulent Summer on Tynside resulted in Rafa Benitez checking out of Newcastle for China and a storm soon followed when Steve Bruce was named as the Spaniards successor.
The Toon Army are already gunning for Bruce and things might get worse before they get better when Arsenal arrive in the North-East with a Newcastle win priced as high as 10/3 (Bet 365) and even the draw is deemed unlikely at 11/4 (Bet 365) with the same firm.
Arsenal's awful away form was their undoing last season in their quest to qualify for the Champions League and Unai Emery's side will be eager to eradicate that this term by starting with an away win on Sunday which is available at 19/20 (BetVictor)
An Arsenal victory is usually the outcome when they face teams managed by Steve Bruce – the Gunners are one of Bruce's bogey sides – the New Magpies boss has only beaten Arsenal twice in 27 attempts from the dugout.
However, Bruce, unlike his predecessor Benitez, has been backed financially in the transfer market by the much-maligned Mike Ashley after splashing out in the region of £60m on new recruits.
Furthermore, one of the new signings at St James' seen the Toon shatter their transfer record when they forked out £40m on striker Joelinton.
The Brazilian has impressed in pre-season and the Geordies will be hoping the former Hoffenheim forward can fill the void left by last seasons top scorers Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez who have departed for China and Leicester City respectively.
Arsenal themselves have been active over the close season having spent in excess of £100m as they aspire to improve on last seasons flat 5th placed finish.
Gunners boss Emery sealed deadline day moves for David Luiz and Kieran Tierney after acquiring Dani Caballos and Nicolas Pepe earlier on in the window.
The latter seen the North London club make a club record signing after a reported £72m was spent on Pepe who looks set form a formidable front-three alongside Alexander Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Aubameyang scored 31 goals in all competitions last season and shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
The Gabon strikers overall record for the Gunners has seen him grab an impressive 41 goals in 61 games and after netting in three of Arsenal's last four pre-season friendlies – including an incredible goal against Barcelona – I fancy Aubameyang to get up and running on Sunday afternoon.
Naturally, Aubameyang starts as favourite in the first goalscorer market for this fixture and he looks overpriced at 4/1 (Betfred) to hit the opener.
However, I would be more inclined to opt for Aubameyang in the anytime goalscorer market at 13/10 (Ladbrokes) after Emery's side only registered a pitiful one clean-sheet on the road in the Premier League last season.
Consequently, both teams scoring is considered a high possibility with most bookmakers and that is reflected in the general 4/6 that is on offer with most firms.
However, staying with Aubameyang, an alternative angle to consider is backing the former Dortmund man to have two or more shots on target at Evens (Boylesports)
Last terms joint Golden Boot winner is deadly in front of goal and Aubameyang should be presented with chances to score against an inferior Newcastle side.
What's more the Gunners goal-getter tends to take penalty kicks and the referee pointing towards the spot at 2/1 ( Boylesports) is a high possibly following VAR's controversial entrance into the Premier League over the course of this weekend.
Aubameyang can inspire Arsenal to an opening day win – but don't expect the Geordies to roll over – Bruce will have his side set up to avoid defeat and make life difficult for the Londoners.
However, there is a high possibility that a toxic atmosphere awaits at St James' on Sunday and if so that could play a part in the Magpies downfall.
Although Arsenal have triumphed on their last five visits to Tyneside, they have done so by winning with a one-goal margin and that again points towards a tight encounter.
Yet, Arsenal appear to have Newcastle's number with the Gunners winning 12 of the last 13 meetings and that makes the 19/20 (BetVictor) on offer for another Arsenal win just a little too tempting to pass up on.
This English Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal will be played on Aug 11, 2019 and kick off at 14:00