Arsenal will be hoping to begin the 2019-2020 Premier League on a winning note as the Gunners face Newcastle United in Sunday’s clash at the St James’ Park.
The Gunners are determined to improve from last season’s disappointing sixth position even though Steve Bruce will also be hoping to kckstart his managerial career at the Toons with a perfect start.
The Geordie-born coach agreed to the unenviable challenge of trying to replace the widely loved Rafa Benitez earlier this summer after the former Real Madrid manager failed to reach an agreement over a new contract.
The Gunners have won 12 of their last 13 competitive fixtures against Newcastle, losing only once in this run – a 2-1 reverse at St James’ Park in April 2018 – while Bruce himself has only beaten the north Londoners twice in his previous 27 meetings as a manager.
As Bruce is probably well aware, there will be no soft landing for the 42-year-old as he begins life in his dream role.
A start at Newcastle will perhaps allow Unai Emery to show off Arsenal’s finer assets, but if they hope to be top four contenders, they will need to hope that Luiz can inspire much needed defensive tranquility – with hope being the keyword.
Head to Head
The last time that Arsenal played an away game on the opening matchday of a league season was against Newcastle in 2011-12. This will be the first time in eight seasons that Arsenal haven’t opened a league campaign with a match at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal have lost four of their last six matches on the opening matchday of a Premier League season: 1-3 at home to Aston Villa in 2013-14, 0-2 at home to West Ham in 2015-16, 3-4 at home to Liverpool in 2016-17 and 0-2 at home to Manchester City in 2018-19.
Newcastle: Dubravka; Schar, Lascelles, Dummett; Manquillo, Aarons; Hayden, Shelvey, Longstaff; Joelinton, Almiron.
Arsenal: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Sokratis, Monreal; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Aubameyang, Ozil, Mkhitaryan; Lacazette.
Unsurprisingly, the bookies are backing Unai Emery’s men to triumph at St James’ Park. A straight win for Arsenal.