Premier League: Be afraid, be Shelvey afraid…

There are two more Premier League games scheduled this afternoon, with the first coming from St. James’ Park, as Newcastle entertain Arsenal.

Traditionally this game is something of a banker for the Gunners. Newcastle have lost their last 10 league games against Arsenal, and their last home win was in December 2005.

That said, Arsenal have clearly started to prioritise the Europa League as that represents their best chance to get into next season’s Champions League. This means it’s difficult to predict what side manager Arsene Wenger will pick today.

Additionally, Newcastle are on a good run, having won three league games on the trot, while Arsenal are the only Premier League side yet to pick up an away point this calendar year.

We’re going to take a punt that Arsenal put out a weakened side and find a buoyant Newcastle side difficult to contain. The midfield player who has been at the heart of their revival is Jonjo Shelvey, and we’ll take the 10/1 on offer that he’s named man of the match.

The late game sees West Brom travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.

The visitors are desperate for points as they lie plumb last in the table, staring relegation in the face. It won’t be easy though, they have only taken two points from the last 30 available and are winless in their last 15 Premier League away games.

And they face a Manchester United side buoyed by a remarkable win at the Etihad Stadium last weekend which delayed their cross-city rival’s title celebrations.

One of the refreshing sights from the second half of United’s game last Saturday was Paul Pogba seemingly being released from defensive duties to power into the City penalty area.

With West Brom unlikely to cause too many defensive worries, we may see more of the French midfielder in the opposing box. His physical presence will cause problems, and we take the 16/1 on offer that he scores a header.

Recommendations:

Newcastle/Arsenal: Shelvey to win man of the match, 1 pt, at 10/1, William Hill 

Manchester United/West Brom: Pogba to score a header, 1 pt, at 16/1, Paddy Power 

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