Preview: Newcastle v Arsenal

Newcastle’s tough start to the new Premier League season continues when Arsenal make the long journey north on Saturday.

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Premier League
15 September 2018
Gameweek 5
Kick-off: 16:00 (GMT+2)
Venue: St James’ Park

Referee: L. Probert
Assistants: S. Beck, A. Holmes
Fourth official: D. Coote

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Newcastle 113 67 38 75
Arsenal 113 75 38 67

Previous encounter:

Newcastle 2-1 Arsenal (Premier League) 15/04/2018

Newcastle goalscorers: A. Perez (29′), M. Ritchie (68′)

Arsenal goalscorers: A. Lacazette (14′)

Players to watch:

With Salomon Rondon not expected to feature for the Toon, the goalscoring burden will likely fall to Joselu, who netted in the defeats to Tottenham and Chelsea. The Spaniard struggled for goals last season, bagging just four in 30 league appearances.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette combined to good effect against Cardiff last time out, with both strikers getting on the scoresheet to open their respective accounts for the campaign. The home defence will have to be on their toes to keep the duo quiet this weekend.

Team form and manager quotes:

The Magpies have already faced Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City in the opening month of the league campaign, with the Gunners set to provide another stern test.

Rafael Benitez’s side lost all three of those games by a 2-1 margin and picked up their solitary point in a goalless draw with newly-promoted Cardiff.

Benitez will look to mastermind another victory over the north Londoners, who lost on their previous visit to St James’ Park back in April.

“Every game is different. We will try to set up a team that can win, with the tactics and everything we can do,” the Spaniard said in his pre-match press conference.

“We will decide before the game – we have been talking, we have been working on that, but we will try to do something that will be enough to win the game.

“It has been quite difficult, but now we will play against another top side with a new manager and players with a lot of quality – it’s a challenge for us.

“We have to approach the game thinking that we can win, and I’m sure that we will try to do it.”

The capital club got off to a shaky start after going down 2-0 to City and 3-2 the Blues, but they bounced back with successive wins over West Ham (3-1) and the Bluebirds (3-2).

New head coach Unai Emery will be concerned that his team have failed to keep a clean sheet in their opening four matches, with Petr Cech, in particular, looking out of sorts.

But Emery is hoping to see further progress being made on the pitch as the players continue to adapt to his methods.

“In the process, and firstly we need to win and I think it is very important that in the last match we won,” the Spaniard said.

“Our aim away at Newcastle on Saturday is to keep improving things and continue to create our idea, build up our spirit on the pitch, individually and collectively, and it is clear this process is one process.

“Saturday is another step we can do, it will be difficult but I want to continue [to show] our personality on the pitch and impose this personality on the opposition and to find the win.”

Team news:

The hosts welcome back Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie, who benefitted from the two-week international break to recover from thigh and knee injuries respectively.

However, Salomon Rondon and DeAndre Yedlin are doubtful after returning to Tyneside late from international duty.

Alex Iwobi comes back into contention for the visitors, having missed the clash at Cardiff through illness.

But Laurent Koscielny (Achilles), Sead Kolasinac (knee), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (leg) and Carl Jenkinson (ankle) remain on the sidelines.

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