Four points from the opening three games of the season is not the start anyone expected.
It’s frustrating, as Chelsea have also stuttered and find themselves on the same number of points at his early stage of the season. Arsenal have been let off the hook in one sense, but not taking advantage is a great shame. The same can’t be said of Manchester City; we are already five points behind Manuel Pellegrini’s side, who look very strong indeed.
A win to boost the mood before the international break is exactly what we require.
Despite an inability to score at home, Arsène Wenger is optimistic about the trip to St. James’ Park, with Arsenal looking strong away from home
“Our results away from home, with goalscoring opportunities and our finishing percentage has been higher recently,” said the Arsenal boss, referring to last season as well as the trip to Crystal Palace a fortnight ago.
“Teams come and defend very deep at our home,” he explained.
Up against a Newcastle side more likely to leave spaces playing in front of their own fans, Wenger is hoping Arsenal can take advantage.
Per Mertesacker is almost certainly out with the illness that kept him out of Monday night’s draw with Liverpool. Laurent Koscielny, the German’s usual defensive partner, is also a doubt after a minor back injury. Calum Chambers and Gabriel are expected to deputise once more.
Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky remain sidelined, but there are no other concerns.
Wenger may be tempted to use Mathieu Debuchy in front of his former fans, but with the defence already looking unstable that wouldn’t be the wisest idea.
The midfield will most likely remain unchanged, despite the odd balance formed by fielding Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla. It’s hard to see any of those players left out by the manager, meaning there won’t be a place for either of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Walcott once again.
Olivier Giroud has eight goals in six games against Newcastle United, and must start.
Possible XI: Čech; Bellerín, Chambers, Gabriel, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Özil, Alexis; Giroud.
Arsenal are chasing an impressive fourth consecutive win at St. James’ Park, but that hasn’t left Wenger under any illusions.
“We want to do well at Newcastle but it’s always very, very, very tight and very committed there because the crowd is always behind their team,” the Arsenal manager said to the media on Thursday.
Draws against Southampton and Manchester United leave Newcastle with two fairly impressive points at this early stage of the season, but this really isn’t Steve McClaren’s side just yet and he is still fighting with turning around a team that looked abysmal under John Carver.
New signing Georginio Wijnaldum has impressed and should be joined in the lineup by fellow newcomer Florian Thauvin for the first time. Ayoze Pérez is talented but may not start with Wijnaldum likely to play behind another new signing in Aleksandar Mitrović.
Possible XI: Krul; Janmaat, Coloccini, Mbemba, Haidara; Anita, Colback; Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Thauvin; Mitrović.
After the game at St. James’ Park the transfer window closes and we head into an international break. After a disappointed start to the season, it would be a huge boost to pick up all three points with a good performance.
People will focus on Tuesday’s deadline, focus on potential signings, but right now the focus has to be on Saturday afternoon. Then people can worry about transfers afterwards.
The next few days could be make or break for Arsenal’s season.