On the face of it you would put Arsenal´s trip to face Newcastle United in the early kick-off down as three points in the bank for the Gunners. Not only do we have a fantastic record against the Magpies in recent years, with seven wins and two draws from the last nine meetings, but Newcastle´s record at home in 2015 is pretty shocking as well, with just two wins.
But things might not be quite so cut and dried as all that, even though our away form is much better than our home form. For one thing, Arsenal are struggling to find the fluency and threat that was so evident from us in the second half of last season. That same cut and thrust saw Arsenal win every game in pre-season, including a first ever win for Arsene Wenger over his tormentor-in-chief Jose Mourinho.
But for whatever reason, that form has been elusive and if we do not find it tomorrow, the home side could increase the pain for Arsenal fans. With a new manager in Steve McLaren and coming off the back of a battling performance that earned a draw with Man United at Old Trafford, followed by them putting four past Northampton in the League Cup, Newcastle are already looking a different team.
Add to that the doubts over the fitness of both of our first choice centre backs and all of a sudden this banker win is looking like a potential banana skin for Wenger and his players. I would not expect any more changes to the starting XI, as I think the boss will want his team to gel and sticking with them is the best way for that to happen.
Despite him looking a bit rusty, Giroud will start as his record against Newcastle is better than against any other club. Walcott´s is also good but I see him being saved as a super sub. Ozil, Ramsey and Cazorla are creating chances and Alexis Sanchez is nearing full match sharpness all the time, so we should still feel confident.
Newcastle have just one injury doubt in Sissoko, so I expect roughly the same team that played last weekend, perhaps with their new signing Thauvin coming in after starring in midweek.
I think we will get an open and exciting game and as long as we can find some sharpness in front of goal, I can see Arsenal winning by 3-1.