Arsenal has had a poor start to the season considering the optimism generated by their strong pre season. Against Liverpool, the Gunners were denied by some poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping. Doubts may exist about Olivier Giroud’s ability to lead a title charge, but there is no denying the fact that he has a tremendous record against the Magpies. He has scored 8 goals in 6 appearances against the team from Tyneside.
Steve McClaren’s side produced a heroic display against Manchester United and the manager will expect the same level of commitment. Florian Thauvin has a bright start to life in English football. AT Old Trafford, he looked comfortable before putting Northampton to the sword with a hat trick of assist and one in a convincing 4-1 win.
The likes of Thauvin, Mitrovic and Wijnaldum will look to capitalise on any uncertainty in the Arsenal defence where Chambers and Gabriel may continue in the continued absence of Per Mertesacker and if Koscielny fails a late fitness test.
The records do favour Arsenal though who have picked up 7 wins against Newcastle in 9 meetings, with the other two ending in draws. Newcastle’s home ground is not exactly a fortress. The club has only won 2 in 11 games played at ST. James Park. The Gunners have also had a lot of joy on the road where they have picked up 19 points out of the last 21 available.
Sissoko remains a doubt with a groin problem while RIviere and Marveaux are definitely ruled out with knee and groin injuries. Siem De Jong is also available after having a difficult last season which was disrupted by injuries. He completed 90 minutes in midweek in the Carling cup and even scored in a convincing Newcastle win.
Arsenal will definitely be without Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Thomas Rosicky who are all ruled out with injuries. Koscielny may miss out with a back problem while Mertesacker is unexpected to recover from illness in time for the early kick off. Gabriel and Chambers are expected to deputize for the pair.