Newcastle United kick off the Premier League weekend for the second time in a row as they host Arsenal in Saturday’s lunchtime game.
Steve McClaren’s side were impressive after the opening 20 minutes in holding Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at the same time last weekend.
Though they are winless in their opening three matches, fans should not get too despondent of their start giving the tough opening fixtures they’ve had and the foolishness of Daryl Janmaat getting himself sent off in the first half versus Swansea City.
No team has scored fewer goals than Newcastle heading into the weekend though, shut out in their last two matches since starting the season with a 2-2 draw against Southampton.
Arsenal themselves only have four points – surprisingly beaten at home by West Ham in their opening game and held 0-0 at home to Liverpool on Monday night. Arsène Wenger’s side have therefore failed to score in two of their three matches as have as fewer goals as Newcastle themselves (2).
Whilst most fans and pundits will be expecting an away win here the Magpies should not be written off. After a shaky opening 20 minutes versus Manchester United last weekend, in which they were somewhat fortunate to be 0-0, they tightened up at the back and caused the home side one or two threats.
This included a thumping header from Aleksandar Mitrović that came back off the crossbar. If Newcastle are to get three points this weekend the young Serbian is likely to be involved.
Mitrović worked hard up top on his own at Old Trafford and if neither Laurent Koscielny or Per Mertesacker are fit to return he should be a handful for Gabriel Paulista who himself runs a tight rope in terms of conceding penalties based on his shirt tugging on Christian Benteke last time out.
Georginio Wijnaldum looked decent in the number 10 role and could certainly do Arsenal some damage. He showed some nice touches last weekend and looks like being a key player for Newcastle this season.
Will Steve McClaren get his first win for Newcastle? They are 10/1 to beat Arsenal – enhanced odds for new customers only.
The home side could also do with some creativity out wide – Florian Thauvin could make his first start this weekend, but with Moussa Sissoko doubtful over his fitness, pacey Gabriel Obertan could start down the right.
Petr Čech put in a top display versus Liverpool on Monday night but two of the three goals he has conceded to start his Arsenal career have come from outside the penalty area. Newcastle will perhaps fancy their chances from long range in this match.
Cheick Tioté’s only previous Newcastle goal came from well outside the penalty area in that famous 4-4 draw a few seasons ago.
Arsenal are prone to leaving themselves open on the counter attack so it’s worth looking out for Newcastle to try catch them out on the break in this one. They had chances versus Manchester United last weekend but looked poor in good opportunities.
Practice in training this week and we could see something different from them. They have some pace to catch the Gunners out too.
If you don’t see an upset coming on Saturday, Arsenal are 5/1 to beat Newcastle – enhanced odds for new customers only.