After a slow start to the season for the Gunners, could an upset be on the cards for Steve McClaren's men?
Newcastle United go into Saturday’s visit of Arsenal in high spirits on the back of a successful seven days, thanks to a well-earned 0-0 draw at Manchester United last weekend and a 4-1 Capital One Cup win over Northampton on Tuesday.
The Magpies now have enough depth to cover most positions thanks to a prosperous transfer window that has seen the squad improve immeasurably, while those who were there to witness last year’s escape from relegation are showing marked improvement under new boss Steve McClaren.
Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has described his side's start to the season as 'very average,' as per BBC Sport. The Gunners have won just one of their first three games, including a shocking 2-0 home loss to visitors West Ham United in their opening fixture.
The north London outfit are set to again be without first-choice centre-backs Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker due to injury and illness respectively for the trip to Tyneside, while Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere still remain sidelined.
Only one major signing, goalkeeper Petr Cech, has come through the doors of the Emirates Stadium this summer, leading to renewed calls for Wenger to use the money available in order to compete for the league title; a far cry even from the Magpies' own big spend so far this window.
With the contrasting moods in both camps, then, could there be an upset on the cards?
Newcastle will go into tomorrow’s game with a first-choice XI as well as an ever-improving mentality and game-plan. New signing Florian Thauvin is set to make his first league start after an excellent display midweek which saw him named man of the match.
How well Newcastle deal with the danger of Arsenal's attack will prove key to the result, of course, but there is no doubt that the threat of Thauvin, along with burly striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, playmaker Georginio Wijnaldum and the powerful Moussa Sissoko will trouble Arsenal’s make-shift defence. They could be in for a long afternoon at the other end.
Newcastle won’t get a better opportunity to cause an upset against Wenger’s men.