Newcastle vs Arsenal: Play Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Walcott from the start

FANS' VIEW: Supporters of the sides involved at St James' Park this weekend offer their thoughts

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The Independent Football

Ahead of the Premier League meeting between Newcastle and Arsenal at St James' Park this weekend, we caught up with a couple of fans for their take on the match...

Newcastle fan Russell Hughes

We welcome Arsenal to St. James’ Park, four games into the 12 that Steve McClaren asked for before Toon fans pass their judgement on his team. 

Both sides have suffered an indifferent start to the season but the fact that Arsenal have failed to score in two of their three games so far, gives me hope that we could get something from the game, especially after last weekend’s defensive performance against Manchester United earned us our first clean of the season.

Our bench is looking the strongest it’s been for a long time and McClaren has plenty of attacking options to choose from – especially with new signing Florian Thauvin looking dangerous and champing at the bit to play.

Arsenal are an excellent side though, and Fabricio Coloccini will have to be at his best to contain Olivier Giroud. Let’s hope that Alexis Sanchez has another off day and that the pace of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott doesn’t cause havoc down the flanks. I’m optimistic but I’m not sure we will have enough on the day and I can see it finishing 2-1 to Arsenal.

Arsenal fan Lewis Potton

After serving up a pretty disjointed performance against Liverpool on Monday night, most Arsenal fans, myself included, will be hoping for a more convincing showing against Newcastle. With Wenger admitting that his side have been “very average” so far this season, the team have noticeably lacked pace going forward. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Walcott could feature if the Frenchman decides to rotate personnel and I would like to see it happen just to freshen things up a bit.

In defence, second string defenders Gabriel and Callum Chambers managed to keep a clean sheet against Liverpool (with a lot of help from the excellent Petr Cech), but let’s hope and pray both Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny recover in time to bring more stability to the back four.

Santi Cazorla was a magician for us last season, but has so far been unable to weave his magic this campaign. His performance on Saturday will be crucial as we look to rediscover the potent passing game that has so far eluded us this season. Newcastle haven’t been impressive in the opening weeks though and Arsenal should win 2-0.

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