Giroud looking to continue his scoring exploits against the Toon
Giroud looking to continue his scoring exploits against the Toon

Arsenal go in search of successive away victories in the Premier League when they visit St James’s Park to take on Newcastle United at lunchtime today.

The Gunners have made a stuttering start to the Premier League campaign at home.

Picking up just one point from Monday’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool, after going down 2-0 on the opening day of the season to West Ham.

The only victory of the season so far was a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Arsenal are much more impressive on the road having taken 19 points from the last 21 available in the Premier League.

They also have an impressive record against Newcastle overall and at St James’s Park.

The Gunners are unbeaten in the last nine Premier League games against Newcastle (W7 D2), winning the last seven in a row.

Newcastle have won none of their last eight Premier League home games against the Gunners (D4 L4).

The last home victory for the Geordies was in 2005 with a goal from Nolberto Salano.

Team news

Newcastle

A late decision will be made on the fitness of Moussa Sissoko who has missed the last two games with a groin problem.

Papiss Cisse is also back in contention after missing the 4-1 Capital One Cup victory over Northampton through illness. Daryl Janmaat is available after serving his one-match ban and new signing Florian Thauvin is in the running for a first league start.

Provisional squad: Krul, Darlow, Elliot, Janmaat, Coloccini, Mbemba, Taylor, Dummett, Lascelles, Williamson, Haidara, Tiote, Anita, Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Thauvin, De Jong, Colback, Obertan, Aarons, Gouffran, Cisse, Mitrovic, Perez.

Arsenal

Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny could both be missing for the Gunners.

Mertesacker has a chest infection, and Koscielny a back problem.

Danny Welbeck (knee) and Jack Wilshere (leg) are set to return after the international break. Tomas Rosicky remains a longer-term absentee after knee surgery.

Provisional squad: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Sanchez, Ozil, Ramsey, Giroud, Ospina, Gibbs, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gabriel, Debuchy, Chambers, Walcott.

The Managers

Steve McClaren: “To beat any of the top four teams you need to defend well, be compact and heroic.”

“We need to repeat that and be better on the ball especially at home where we need to keep the ball better than we did last week.

“With a sell-out crowd behind us we can hopefully make it very difficult for Arsenal.”

Arsene Wenger: “Maybe we are not firing on all cylinders at the moment. By definition, finishing is a little bit cyclical and it goes in cycles.

“Teams come and defend very deep at our home… at the moment we want it so much at home that we’re trying to force it a little bit.

“Our results away from home, with goalscoring opportunities and our finishing percentage, has been higher recently.”

Statistics – supplied by Opta

The Magpies have won just two of their 11 Premier League matches at St James Park in 2015 (W2 D4 L5).

Olivier Giroud has scored eight goals in six Premier League apps against Newcastle United; more than versus any other team.

The Frenchman has netted five headed goals against the Magpies from just five headers on target attempted.

The Gunners are unbeaten in the last nine Premier League games against Newcastle (W7 D2), winning the last seven in a row.

Newcastle have won none of their last eight Premier League home games against the Gunners (D4 L4).

Newcastle have won just three of the last 28 Premier League meetings with Arsenal, though the Gunners had a player sent off on each of these three occasions.

Arsenal have taken 19 points from the last 21 available on the road in the Premier League.

Arsene Wenger and Steve McClaren have met 10 times as opposition coaches in the Premier League with the Englishman winning one to the Frenchman’s nine victories.

The Gunners have failed to score in five of their last nine PL games – this after only firing a blank in one of their previous 25 games in the competition.

Arsenal have scored the joint fewest goals (2) despite having the joint most shots (40, excl. blocked), meaning that they have a league-low shot conversion rate of 5%.

Prediction

Another tight match. If Koscielny and Mertesacker are missing once more the Arsenal defence could be vulnerable. The Gunners to win 2-1.