Mark Lawrenson predicts Newcastle United v Arsenal, highlights encouraging factor for McClaren

St James Park Two

Mark Lawrenson has predicted a defeat for Newcastle United against Arsenal today.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he believes Newcastle United will lose 2-1 to Arsenal at St. James' Park this afternoon.

The Magpies have yet to win a Premier League game this season, but last weekend's 0-0 draw away at Manchester United was a step in the right direction for new manager Steve McClaren.

This weekend, Newcastle face another tough task against a club striving for the Premier League title in Arsenal, who are also coming off a 0-0 draw having played out a stalemate with Liverpool on Monday.

The same fixture last season resulted in a 2-1 victory for Arsenal, as two goals from Olivier Giroud handed Arsene Wenger the win on Tyneside.

Now, pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he expects the same result again - but added that the battling display against Manchester United last weekend should be a real encouragement for manager McClaren, who inherited a side that struggled last term.

"Newcastle are still waiting for their first league win but they are on a tough run of games - in Southampton, Swansea and Manchester United, they have already played three teams I expect to finish in the top half of the table," said Lawrenson. "I would say the same about Arsenal, obviously, although they have had a mixed start to the season. Some of their fans already seem to be chasing Gunners boss Arsene Wenger again, which is unbelievable."

"The Magpies will be delighted with their performance in their 0-0 draw at Old Trafford last week - they really played for each other which is very encouraging for their manager Steve McClaren. But this week will be different because I think Newcastle will have to come out a little bit more, and I have a feeling that Arsenal will pick them of," he added.

Magpies fans are understandably desperate to see their side pick up their first win of the season, especially having splashed out this summer in order to purchase Chancel Mbemba, Georginio Wijnaldum, Florian Thauvin and Aleksandar Mitrovic.

This afternoon's clash is a tough ask for McClaren, but in front of a packed St. James' Park, this may be the perfect time to spring a surprise and pick up all three points, as they threatened to do against Manchester United last weekend.

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