After failing to find the net in two of their opening three Barclays Premier League matches, Arsenal visit Tyneside to face a Newcastle United side showing signs of improvement under new coach Steve McClaren.
MAGPIES FLY OUT OF OLD TRAFFORD WITH A HARD FOUGHT POINT
After 15 minutes of the match last weekend at Old Trafford, Steve McClaren left his elevated view in the South Stand to head straight back to the dugout as his Newcastle team looked like they were about to be on the end of a mauling by the home side. A few choice words to some of his players and a little re-organisation of his formation did the trick and 75 minutes later, his team were getting ready to head back to the North East with a precious point after holding the Red Devils to a 0-0 draw. Their second-half performance in particular, showed that the team are making steady progress under the stewardship of the former England head coach and they will be quietly confident they can spring a surprise against their visitors from North London on Saturday lunchtime, despite a poor recent record against the Gunners at St James’ Park. Our football betting experts predict more gloom for the Magpies on Saturday.
NO HOME COMFORTS FOR ARSENAL
Monday evening’s disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Liverpool means that Arsène Wenger’s side are still waiting for their first goal in front of their home supporters this season. Having lost their first-choice central defensive partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny prior to kick-off didn’t help matters and Wenger was indebted to his new goalkeeper Petr Čech for keeping the scores level. Now it’s a trip outside of the capital for the first time this season to a ground where their recent record is very good.
Newcastle United – After a confidence boosting win in the League Cup against lowly Northampton Town earlier this week, all the talk on Tyneside is of new French striker Florian Thauvin who scored one and had a hand in the other three of his side’s goals. The 22-year-old replaced the largely ineffective Gabriel Obertan for the final 15 minutes in Manchester last weekend and he could well get a starting berth on Saturday. Argentinian defender FabricioColoccini gave a captains performance at Old Trafford last time out and McClaren will hope he can do a repeat performance against Arsenal.
Arsenal – The Gunners should welcome back big German central defender Per Mertesacker for the trip to the North East but Laurent Koscielny’s back problem looks set to keep him side-lined for another week. England international Theo Walcott will be desperate to play ahead of the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers but French striker Olivier Giroud has a fantastic scoring record against Saturday’s opponents which may sway Wenger’s decision to keep him as the lone striker.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’s
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Krul; Mbemba, Taylor, Coloccini, Haidara; Anita, Colback; Perez, Wijnaldum, Thauvin; Mitrović
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Čech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Ozil, Sánchez; Giroud
Arsenal won’t mind the long journey north this weekend as St James’ Park has been a happy hunting ground in recent years. Wenger’s side hasn’t lost a league fixture on Tyneside since December 2005 and have won three of the last five meetings there. There have been two drawn games in this time, the most memorable being the epic 4-4 encounter that took place in February 2011 as The Gunners threw away a 4-0 half-time advantage. Olivier Giroud can boast an impressive record too – his eight goals against the Magpies are the most scored by any Arsenal player in the Premier League era and he has scored his clubs last three goals at St James’ Park. Do our football tipsters think he’ll be on target again?
Newcastle United 5.50 Draw 4.00 Arsenal 1.57
*Courtesy of Bet365
By Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)