After back-to-back disappointing away draws and a home loss to Manchester United, Arsenal will hope to get back to winning ways on Saturday at the Emirates against a Newcastle United side that has been struggling as of late.

With the league appearing over earlier than ever due to the seemingly unstoppable force of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City - currently on the longest consecutive winning streak in Premier League history with 15 - it is imperative for the teams towards the head of the league to not take the foot off the pedal in disheartenment. This appears to be the case as of-late, with Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, and of course, Arsenal dropping points in recent weeks.

This match-up appears as good of opportunity as any to register 3 points for the first time since the 5-0 victory against Huddersfield, with Newcastle picking up only 1 point in their past 7 matches, with their last win coming on the 21st of October against a Crystal Palace side in disarray.

For Arsenal, the Huddersfield win was the most complete performance of the season and a great platform to build upon, but after being followed up with a disappointing loss against United and two dour draws away from home against Southampton, and most recently, David Moyes' West Ham United.

The West Ham game was difficult to take, as the home side offered little throughout, but in the end, were perhaps the most likely to have earned the 3 points, with Petr Cech and the crossbar combining to save Javier Hernandez near-certain-goal attempt against Arsene Wenger's men late on.

Due to injuries to Shkrodan Mustafi and Aaron Ramsey; and recent results, the manager opted to make some formational changes.

Opting to line out with a back four for the first time since last April - a memorably embarrassingly loss away at Crystal Palace - and it payed dividends in the midfield, with 3 central midfielders dominating the ball and possession. The game also notably featured the first start of Jack Wilshire in Arsenal colours for 577 days, and following a number of cameo substitute appearances, the returning Englishman put in a decent performance and will likely retain his place for the Newcastle game.

For Rafa Benitez Newcastle, things just have not been working out as of-late, and one feels that they would be happy to get through this match with a point, and continue getting points on the board until the January transfer window where changes can be made.

The side got off to a fantastic start in the league, gaining the majority of the 15 points they have now in the opening games of the season. After earning promotion from the Championship last season, the side had a Summer that left supporters and management frustrated, with talk of Benitez departing the club at the time.

He has stayed however, and he, along with the club’s supporters, is no doubt quite happy to hear that Amanda Stavely - a British businesswoman with links to far-eastern investors - is close to securing a £300 Million purchase of the club from current owner Mike Ashley.

With the potential of a new horizon just around the corner, the Geordie's will be looking to cut their losses over the Christmas period and keep themselves as far away from the relegation places as possible - which may be difficult with the resurgence of Palace and West Ham in recent weeks.

The most prominent absence from the Newcastle side will be English midfielder Jonjo Shelvey who received a red card after earning a second yellow very late on in Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to Everton, ruling him out for the match.

In terms of attacking threat, Newcastle's top scorers are Dwight Gayle and Joselu, both on 3 goals; although it is the sides defenders who have been turning up with the goods from the rest of the side, with Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles both finding the net twice already this season making the Geordie's threatening from set-pieces.

For the home side, hopefully there will be goals after only 2 goals in the last 3 league performances. Thankfully, those heading too or intending on watching the game can be hopeful of the net being found, as the Gunners home form has generally been excellent, winning every league game and scoring at least 2 goals, bar the most recent game against Manchester United (which may have been different if not for the incredible performance of their goalkeeper David De Gea).

It is likely Wenger will go with the 4-3-3 formation again, with a defence of goalkeeper Cech; full-backs Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac; Laurent Koscielny and Monreal in the centre (or potentially Mustafi, who may play a part as he is believed to have recovered from his thigh injury.

It is probable that the 3 midfielders will be the aforementioned Wilshire, Mesut Ozil and a choice of either Granit Xhaka – who has not necessarily covered himself in glory with his performances of late – or Mohamed Elneny.

Leading the line, with Theo Walcott doubtful, it is expected to be Alexis Sanchez and Alex Iwobi, with Alexandre Lacazette up-top. There’s also plenty of firepower on the bench if this is in-fact the side Wenger goes begins with, with Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck both fit and likely raring to see some action to improve their chances of World Cup contention.

It is difficult to talk about this match and not recall one of the most memorable games in Premier League history. This is of course the match at St. James’s in the February of 2011, when the Geordies managed to almost miraculously comeback from four goals down to finish the game 4-4.

While the result on the day boggles the mind to believe how it was allowed to happen, hopefully Saturday’s game can emulate it in terms of entertainment value.
Arsenal play Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium with kick-off at 3pm on Saturday the 16th of December.