Welcome to a new feature on Arsenal.com - Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture our MatchDay Show team - and an Arsenal blogger - will have their say on the match.
Arsenal kicked off their Premier League campaign at Newcastle on August 13 and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck, former Gunner Adrian Clarke and Andrew Mangan, the man behind Arseblog.
Read on for their post-match thoughts and recap what they said before the game.
DAN ROEBUCK, COMMENTATOR
Arsenal didn't get the win I expected - although they deserved to - but Arsène Wenger can take plenty of positives from the performance. Gervinho was in the headlines because of his red card but he was Arsenal's biggest threat going forward and just lacked a bit of composure inside the box. The back four was incredibly solid with Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen kicking off what could be a strong partnership. They complement each other well at the back. When you look around the country and see that Liverpool and Chelsea dropped points too, Arsenal can be satisfied with a draw.
Pre-match: Arsenal will kick off the season with a win at St James’ Park, of that I’m certain. Forget last season’s 4-4 draw, the players will have and the team is likely to be nearly 50 per cent different to the one that took to the field in February. Instead focus on what we know. Sure, the defence hasn’t been great in pre-season, but when Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny have played together Arsenal have only conceded once – and that was Carl Jenkinson’s freak own goal versus Cologne. I’ve no concerns at the other end of the pitch, Gervinho looks a stellar signing and Robin van Persie has top scored in the summer matches, picking up where he left off last term, while the midfield pairing of Alex Song and Aaron Ramsey is better than anything Newcastle have got. The full backs pick themselves and I’d play Theo Walcott, if fit, on the right given his record on Tyneside (three goals on his last two visits).
ADRIAN CLARKE, STUDIO GUEST
It was a frustrating start to the season for Arsenal which feels like two points dropped, rather than one gained. The team passed the ball well and dominated against an unambitious Newcastle but the quality of the final ball deep inside the opposition territory was disappointing. Arsenal simply didn’t have enough shots on goal considering they were controlling things. Gervinho can have few complaints at his red card but the situation which caused the melee should never have occurred. Joey Barton was wrong to accuse the Ivorian of diving for a penalty that could easily have been given, he was wrong to grab the Gunners forward by the scruff of his shirt, and he was wrong to fall to the ground so dramatically. It was galling to see Barton escape with just a caution. My man of the match was Laurent Koscielny. He wasn’t called upon too often but when he was, his defending was immaculate.
Pre-match: Arsenal’s preparations for this season's opener have been far from ideal so it’s important that they grab a morale-boosting victory at St. James’ Park, especially ahead of the important matches to come later this month. In an attacking sense I am confident that Arsenal will score goals. Robin van Persie is in fine fettle, brimming with confidence, while Gervinho has also shown glimpses of star quality during pre-season. Chances will come their way against a Newcastle side that has been considerably weakened by the sales of Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan. Defensively I’m a little nervous. The back four hasn’t looked completely solid during the friendlies and they are sure to be tested at times on Saturday evening. Hopefully, the painful memories of their 4-4 draw in this fixture last term will ensure maximum concentration at all times! Player for player this should be a comfortable victory for the Gunners but I have a feeling it may take two or three Arsenal goals to secure all three points.
ANDREW MANGAN, ARSEBLOG
A point away from home isn't a bad result on the face of it but the lack of creativity and chances created in relation to the amount of possession we had was somewhat worrying. The ban for Gervinho is a blow, as is the potential suspension of Alex Song. What I think of Joey Barton is unprintable here so I'll finish on a positive. I was really encouraged by the centre-half partnership, and the way that Wojciech Szczesny dominated his area bodes well for the games to come - especially Udinese where a clean sheet is so important.
Pre-match: I have to admit I'd hoped we'd be in better shape going into this game than we actually are. The preparations seem to have been over-shadowed by the transfer stories regarding Cesc and Nasri. However, while it's easy for fans to be distracted as these protracted sagas play out, I'm sure the manager has the players who will be playing ready and focused on what is a crucial game. We all know what happened there last season and this is a good chance to lay those ghosts to rest nice and early in the season. Even if our defence is not quite where we want it, I think an attacking trio of Gervinho, RVP and Theo Walcott will give us the firepower we need to get the season off to a winning start. Fingers crossed.
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 15 Aug 2011