We put our 10-game unbeaten run at the start of the season on the line when we head to Tyneside to take on a Newcastle United side buoyed after winning 3-0 at Manchester United on Wednesday.
Traditionally, trips to St James’ Park have been incredibly fruitful as we have won on eight of our last 10 visits, and only the Red Devils have won more Premier League away games against Newcastle than our 13.
The last of our successes came back in April, but that is just one of three occasions that Eddie Howe’s team have tasted defeat on home soil in the league since the start of last season. After a tough start, the Magpies have found their groove again, and have won each of their last three on their own patch without conceding.
Geordies enjoying goals galore
After an incredible campaign saw them finish fourth last term, the Magpies have created more memories already this season. They dumped both Manchester sides out of the Carabao Cup, hammered Sheffield United and Aston Villa 8-0 and 5-1 respectively and thrashed Paris St Germain 4-1 on a historic evening in the Champions League.
That all came after a poor start that saw them lose three of their opening four games, but domestically they have since remained undefeated in their next eight. They’ve already bagged 26 Premier League goals in 10 games, and boast the best shot conversion rate (18.6 per cent) and the second-highest expected goals total (22.1).
Having been drawn in a group of death in Europe, they have put up a great fight having drawn with AC Milan in the San Siro and stunned PSG, but a 1-0 home defeat to Borussia Dortmund has put extra emphasis on Tuesday's return game in Germany.
What the managers say
Howe: "[Arsenal] recruited really well in the summer. I think they have moved on from last year, mentally moved on and stepped it up. They are unbeaten, and it is a really big test of our credentials.
"We've been dealt some really difficult blows. It's not been plain sailing for us, we have had to be resilient and robust and deal with some challenges. I have to compliment the players on how they have been, the challenge never gets easier."
Arteta: “It’s one of the toughest places to go and win. We've done it and there is nothing new to it, we know what we’re expecting. It is very clear what they do, what their strengths are, and where the opportunities are for us. We will try to take the game where we want.
“When you play football, you want to play in those atmospheres. Like going to Seville, you know what you are going to get. It’s an incredible privilege to play at those grounds. You have to embrace the moment, enjoy it and go for it because it’s worth it. These are the arenas you want to be tested in.” - read every word from Mikel’s pre-match press conference
Arteta will once again be unable to select Gabriel Jesus, Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey, with Emile Smith Rowe set to also miss a few weeks with a knee issue that kept him out in midweek.
Martin Odegaard is expected to be fine to return to the team after Arteta admitted he was managing his minutes due to our skipper dealing with a hip problem.
Newcastle have been struggling with injuries of late, with Matt Targett damaging a hamstring in the opening 90 seconds on Wednesday to add to Howe’s headaches. Sven Botman (knee) and Alexander Isak (groin) are being monitored, and Fabian Schar has been dealing with illness this week.
Sandro Tonali is banned for the rest of the season, while fellow summer recruit Harvey Barnes (toe) as well as Elliott Anderson (back) are out until the festive fixtures, while Jacob Murphy is sidelined with a dislocated shoulder.
Adrian Clarke: Eddie Howe is still deploying a 4-3-3 each week, but Newcastle’s attack has gone to the next level this season. Blessed with incredible pace, movement, and directness up top, a super-confident Magpies side has scored 26 goals in 10 matches, with Callum Wilson netting at a rate of one every 60 minutes.
How we cope with Newcastle’s fast start will play a huge part in the outcome. The Magpies’ aggressive brand of football has seen them score seven times in the opening half-hour of games, with Aston Villa the only team to have netted more in that period. We must weather that storm.
Left winger Anthony Gordon has been clocked as one of the fastest players in the division, and his ball-carrying threat will certainly be a test for Ben White’s defensive skillset. Gordon has made 12 chances from ball carries, scoring twice from those runs, so that is a duel to look out for.
Another will be between Gabriel Martinelli and Kieran Trippier. The Toon skipper’s pinpoint deliveries have created 31 chances (including six assists) this season, putting him joint-top of the rankings alongside James Maddison. Martinelli will have to track Trippier’s forward runs, but if he offers a threat with his sprints going the other way, it should force his marker to retreat.
Facts and stats
Newcastle have won just one of their last 10 league games against us, failing to score on eight occasions in that run.
We have kept 30 Premier League clean sheets against the Magpies, the most one side has kept against another in the competition's history.
Newcastle are unbeaten in their last six league games (W4 D2), scoring at least twice in each of the last five. They last scored 2+ goals in six consecutive Premier League games between August and October 2004.
We have scored more goals from corners (5) and from set pieces overall (6, excluding penalties) than any other Premier League side this season. We have also conceded just once from set pieces (excluding pens), with no side shipping fewer.
Wilson is averaging a goal once every 60 minutes in the Premier League this season (7 goals in 420 minutes), the best rate of any player to have played at least 90 minutes this term. However, having scored in each of his first three league games against us, the Newcastle striker has failed to score in his last nine.
The last time we enjoyed a longer unbeaten start on the road in the top-flight was in 2016/17, avoiding defeat in each of our first seven away games (W5 D2).
We have won 13 Premier League games at St James’ Park, the only away ground they have more wins at in the competition against an opponent is Villa Park (14).
Arteta has only overseen more wins against Leeds (7) in all competitions than he has against Newcastle (P8 W6 D1 L1).
Leandro Trossard has been involved in seven goals in his last nine away Premier League appearances (2 goals, 5 assists), scoring in each of his two this season as a substitute (vs Everton and Chelsea).
Stuart Attwell is handed his first Gunners game since our Community Shield victory back in August. We have won four of the last five encounters he has officiated, stretching back to November 2021’s win over the Magpies at Emirates Stadium.
He has been the whistler for two of their games this term - a 2-1 loss at Brighton in August followed by the 8-0 smashing of Sheffield United, while his last appearance at St James’ Park brought a 2-0 victory over Manchester United in April. His 5.5 yellow cards per game is one of the highest rates in the division so far this term.
- Referee: Stuart Attwell
- Assistants: Richard West, James Mainwaring
- Fourth official: Graham Scott
- VAR: Andy Madley
- Assistant VAR: Stuart Burt
Recent trips to Tyneside
Last season saw us claim an impressive victory that kept us in the title race, with a fine Odegaard effort and a Schar own goal seeing us return south with all three points.
That was a far cry from 12 months earlier when the hosts triumphed by the same scoreline to see our hopes of finishing in the top four slip away, but those strikes are the only goals the Magpies have scored against us in the last nine meetings home and away.
The season before saw Mohamed Elneny score his first Premier League goal during a 2-0 success for us, while the season before kicked off with an opening day win thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagging the only goal of the contest.
Watch some of our classic wins at St James’ - including Bergkamp’s best goal and a Champions League clincher.
Tune into Breakdown Live on Arsenal.com and the official app an hour before kick-off on Saturday as Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke offer the best build-up for any Gooner!
They will be assessing our opponents’ recent form and unpicking last season’s encounter to find clues as to where we could try and replicate that result, as well as dissecting last weekend’s emphatic win against Sheffield United.
Frimmy will host a quiz between our Baltimore and Singapore supporters clubs, while there will be a preview of Arsenal Women’s big game against Manchester City on Sunday.
Then at 4.30pm UK time, Dan Roebuck and Jonathon Rogers will be at St James’ Park to provide live commentary of the game as we lock horns with the Magpies.
You can also find out which broadcasters are showing the action live whenever you are in the world