Arsenal host Newcastle United in the early kick off on Saturday. The visitors are the only winless team in the top four divisions in England, which shows their pressing need for three points. For the hosts, there are positive signs under Mikel Arteta. However, they were thrashed by Liverpool last weekend and there is some pressure on them to win this weekend. A lot of the good work done in recent weeks could be undone if they lose at home to the side bottom of the division.
Last weekend, Arsenal had an opportunity to go into the top four. The defeat to Liverpool was a reminder of how far they are behind the best teams in the Premier League. This season, they have been outclassed by Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. Despite their current issues, it is clear that Arteta is making progress at the Emirates Stadium. The recent unbeaten run helped increase the pride within the fan base and there will be hope that the Gunners can finish in the top six.
There is a lot of optimism within the Newcastle United fan base, despite their precarious position at the bottom of the table. If Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce were still in the picture, this would be an easy match for Arsenal. However, following the takeover and the appointment of Eddie Howe, there are reasons to believe that the Magpies can win this weekend. They were unfortunate not to beat Brentford last weekend, after an excellent attacking performance. If they play with a similar approach on Saturday, they will cause problems for Arsenal.
Arsenal have never lost a Premier League match to a team starting the day at the bottom of the table.
Newcastle United have conceded 27 goals in the Premier League this season. This is more than any other team in the league.
It has been a mixed start to the season for Aubameyang, but he is a key player for Mikel Arteta. He usually does well against the bottom half teams and he has done well against Newcastle in the past. The Gabon international has been on the winning side in seven of his eight matches against the Tynesiders. During this run, he has scored six and assisted three. As Newcastle have the worst defence in the league, Aubameyang will be looking to get on the scoresheet again this weekend. This season, he has contributed four goals and one assist. He will want to significantly increase these numbers before the turn of the year, as he will believe he is still one of the best players in the league. This weekend offers a good opportunity to swell his goal return.
It has been a good start to the season for the Frenchman, despite the team’s winless run. Last weekend, he caught the eye during Eddie Howe’s first match in charge. His role changed, as he was played on the left as an inside forward. Saint-Maximin played as part of a front three with Callum Wilson and Joelinton. Newcastle were much more offensive, as shown by their 52% of possession and 23 shots on goal. Both were a season high for the team this season. If they persist with a front foot approach, Saint-Maximin will become a lot more influential. Last week, he got the equaliser in an excellent performance. During the draw to Brentford, he had seven shots, made two key passes and completed five dribbles. He will be the player that can win the game for Newcastle this weekend.
Granit Xhaka is not expected to be back for Arsenal until the new year. Sead Kolasinac remains on the sidelines. Aside from those two, Arteta has a fully fit squad to choose from.
Fabian Schar is a doubt after picking up a hamstring strain during the draw against Brentford. Paul Dummett is closing in on a return, but he won’t be available for the trip to the Emirates Stadium. Joe Willock could start against his former club.
This should be a great match to watch for the neutral, as neither team are convincing at the back. The new approach from Newcastle under Eddie Howe could cause a lot of problems for Arsenal. It will be interesting to see if the new manager makes any adjustments for an away match. There will be goals in this one.
Arsenal 2-2 Newcastle United