Arsenal will travel to Newcastle on Saturday desperately in need of a victory to get back into the title race. Having taken just four points of their opening three matches, manager Arsene Wenger knows that there is very little room for error now. Newcastle, on the other hand, are yet to register a win this season and are joint lowest scorers in the league along with Arsenal! It’s fair to say that the Magpies haven’t had the easiest set of fixtures till now but with three games were gone and only one place above the relegation zone, a victory is much needed.
Although the goalless draw against Liverpool last Monday can’t be termed as a disaster per say but the manner of Arsene Wenger’s team’s performance would have been a concern to Arsenal fans. An immediate improvement is much needed if Arsenal are going to convince everyone that they are genuine title contenders this season. Wenger knows that they cannot afford another slow start to the campaign like last season which eventually left them with a mountain to climb. The cause for concern right now isn’t just the defense but also the attack which has managed just a single goal this season.
After an excellent draw against Southampton on the opening day, the Magpies suffered a demoralizing defeat at Swansea on matchday two but last week’s goalless draw at Old Trafford would have definitely restored some faith back in the supporters. The new signings have definitely added steel to a Newcastle side which suffered a nightmare of a run in the second half of 2014-2015 season.
For Newcastle, Daryl Janmaat is again available for selection after serving out his suspension for a red card against Swansea. The biggest concern for Newcastle right now will be the fitness of Moussa Sissoko, who is suffering from a groin injury. Steve McLaren will be hoping that the Frenchmen is fit for the weekend given that he is one of only two Newcastle players to score against Arsenal in the last five meetings. After impressing against United last weekend, Florian Thauvin could be handed his first Premier League start.
Per Mertesacker will not be available for this match due to illness, but Wenger is hoping that his centre-back partner Laurent Koscielny is fit enough to start this match. Koscielny availability is dependent on a late fitness test. Wenger is still without the likes of Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, and Tomas Rosicky who are all out with long-term injuries.
Predicted Newcastle United XI: Krul, Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Haidara, Anita, Colback, Perez, Wijnaldum, Thauvin and Mitrovic
Predicted Arsenal XI: Cech, Bellerin, Chambers, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud
Predicted score: Newcastle Versus Arsenal: 1-2
Newcastle have won 0 of their last 8 Premier League home games against the Gunners (D4 L4).
Olivier Giroud has scored 8 goals in 6 Premier League appearances against Newcastle; more than against any other team.
Arsenal have scored the joint fewest goals (2) despite having the joint-most shots (40, excluding blocked), meaning that they have a league-low shot conversion rate of 5%.