High-flying Magpies capable of ending poor run against Arsenal

THE PRESSURE on Arsene Wenger from Arsenal fans has subsided slightly after the 4-1 win over Galatasaray in midweek which ensured the Gunners qualified for the last-16 of the Champions league in style.

But the Turkish side are really poor and a resurgent Newcastle can cause problems for Arsenal tomorrow at the Emirates.

Seeing Stoke score three goals in any match is a huge surprise so the fact they hit that total before half-time against Arsenal last weekend only meant one thing – the visitors to the Britannia had been awful.­

They salvaged some pride by finishing the game with the scores at a more respectable-looking 3-2, but any hopes of the Gunners picking up a first league title since 2004 have long since evaporated. Wenger faces a tall order just to ensure they finish in the top four.

Those calling for Alan Pardew’s head earlier in the season must be feeling a little silly now with the Magpies on a run of six wins in eight games with just one loss. That includes four clean sheets and the first defeat inflicted on Chelsea since April.

It’s true Newcastle have a woeful record against Arsenal, winning just one of the last 14 league games and losing five on the bounce. But there’s a steel about Pardew’s men currently, while Arsenal’s fragility has been highlighted time and time again this term.

You’d have to be a brave bettor to be buying the hosts’ supremacy at 1.45 with Sporting Index for this game. September 20 was the last time Newcastle lost by two goals and the away side will fancy their chances of heaping more misery on Wenger.

Relations have thawed between Pardew and Wenger since their touchline row in 2006. But despite Pardew recently calling for Arsenal to name their stadium in the Frenchman’s honour, you can be sure he’d love to get one over on him.

Selling Arsenal’s supremacy at 1.2 appeals, but backing the visitors to north London with a +1 Asian handicap at the 11/8 available looks the smart bet.

■ Pointers…
Back Newcastle with a +1 Asian handicap at the 11/8 available