A difficult start to the season sees Newcastle currently occupying a space in the relegation zone, as the Magpies have only picked up one point so far this campaign. The international break was welcomed by Newcastle fans and players as they look to pick up their form and continue to fight for their first win of the season.
In their most recent game, Newcastle lost 2-1 to the champions, Manchester City. The Magpies travelled to the Etihad Stadium in search of their first win. Riyad Mahrez missed a good opportunity in the fourth minute as he cut inside on his stronger left foot. However, it didn’t take long for City to open the scoring as Raheem Sterling put the home side ahead in the eighth minute as he cut in from the left. City controlled much of the opening half hour, but in the 30th minute of the game Newcastle equalised very much against the run of play. Salomon Rondon crossed the ball along the ground of the City penalty box and his ball was met by full back DeAndre Yedlin whose run seemed to go largely untracked at the back post.
In the second half it was the turn of Manchester City’s right back to come up with a goal. Kyle Walker was played the ball in what didn’t seem to be a dangerous area of the pitch, until he drilled a powerful strike across the goal which found the bottom right corner of Martin Dubravka’s net. City had the better chances of the second half and might have had a third if David Silva had converted his diving header in the 67th minute. Dubravka couldn’t clear Mahrez’s cross which provided David Silva with an open net, but the Spaniard couldn’t connect correctly with his header and missed the target from a few yards out. A third 2-1 loss for Newcastle in just four games sees them struggling near the foot of the table.
Arsenal, meanwhile, secured a 3-2 win away at Cardiff City in their most recent fixture, a great result after losing their lead twice in the game. Harry Arter had a great chance for the hosts early on as Petr Cech gifted him the ball from a poor clearance. His side was quickly made to pay for this missed opportunity as Shkodran Mustafi gave Arsenal the lead from a Granit Xhaka corner.
Victor Camarasa levelled the game before the half came to a close as he fired home after the ball dropped to him inside the Arsenal box for the Bluebirds’ first goal of the league season. However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the Gunners the lead again with a sweet finish from outside the box, but he resilient Cardiff came from behind yet again in the 70th minute when Danny Ward’s header found the bottom corner.
Arsenal would eventually leave Wales with all 3 points after Alexandre Lacazette turned in the Cardiff box and powered the ball towards the near post. The result meant Arsenal picked up their first away win under Unai Emery.
Arsenal, like Newcastle, have lost fixtures to both Chelsea and Manchester City so far this season and are currently 9th in the table after picking up two wins from four games. Rafa Benitez will be hoping that the international break will have been a useful training period for his side as they attempt to improve their recent form. The game will take place on Saturday 15th September at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle predicted line-up: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Fernandez, Dummett; Perez, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy; Rondon
Arsenal predicted line-up: Cech; Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal; Torreira, Guendouzi; Mkhitaryan, Ozil; Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Predicted final score: Newcastle 2-2 Arsenal