Newcastle United v Arsenal preview: Unai Emery says ‘We need to win’
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Unai Emery’s Arsenal make the long trip north to Newcastle United on Saturday hunting their third Premier League win on the bounce. Read Layth Yousif’s in-depth preview on the match in the North East
They face Rafa Benitez’s Magpies in a rare 3pm Saturday kick-off at what is sure to be a passionate St James’ Park.
United forward Salomon Rondon and defender DeAndre Yedlin could be rested after their late return from international duty.
Midfielders Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey are back in training after respective thigh and knee injuries, and should feature.
Arsenal boss Emery has no new injury worries and could name the same side which beat Cardiff before the international break.
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Alex Iwobi is also in the frame after missing the 3-2 win in South Wales through illness.
Previwing the match Emery said: “We need to win and I think it is very important that in the last match, we won.
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“Our aim away at Newcastle on Saturday now is to keep improving things and continue to create our idea, build up our spirit on the pitch, individually and collectively.
“Saturday is another step, it will be difficult but I want to continue [to show] our personality and impose this on the opposition.”
Emery endured two defeats in two at the start of the campaign last month after champions Manchester City won 2-0 at the Emirates before losing 3-2 to Chelsea in an action-packed London derby at Stamford Bride.
Since then the Gunners notched their first win under the former PSG boss, easing past West Ham 3-1 in North London before the entertaining victory over Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds two weeks ago.
Arsenal sit in ninth place, four points behind Manchester City in fourth place as they prepare to face Benitez’s Geordies, who occupy 18th spot after a poor start following three defeats in four matches this term.
The Toon have yet to win a league game this season, even if they were hailed for their performance during their 2-1 loss Pep Guardiola’s City.
Winless Newcastle will be aiming to kick-start their campaign, but Emery has other ideas - with statistics on the Gunners side.
In the head-to-head Arsenal have beaten Newcastle 75 times, compared to 67 wins for the North East side with 38 draws stretching back to the opening match of the series in early September 1893 - a 2-2 at the Manor Ground in Plumstead, the year the club changed their name from Royal Arsenal to Woolwich Arsenal.
The last time the two sides met was in April, with Newcastle sealing a 2-1 home win a week before it was announced Arsene Wenger was to depart at the end of the 2017-18 season.
Lee Probert will officiate proceedings, assisted by Simon Beck and Adrian Holmes with David Coote named as the fourth official.
Probert is something of a good luck charm as he was in charge when Arsenal ended their eight year trophy drought at the 2014 FA Cup Final after the dramatic 3-2 victory over Hull City in extra time on a memorable day at Wembley.
Follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29 from St James’ Park on Saturday