Premier League curtain raiser sees a repeat of one of the most exciting clashes of last season, when the hosts clawed back from four goals down to earn a sensational draw
Simpson, Coloccini, S Taylor, R Taylor
Gutierrez, Barton, Cabaye, Tiote
Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Song, Ramsey, Rosicky
Steve Harper and James Perch are sidelined with injuries, while Danny Guthrie remains a doubt for this game. Hatem Ben Arfa sustained an ankle injury on the same foot he broke last season, and there appears to be doubts concerning his fitness as well. Joey Barton has been training with the reserves after being placed on the transfer list, and all eyes will be on him if he is picked to start by Alan Pardew.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri will not travel with the squad amid reports that they are both primed to leave the club over the course of the weekend. Robin van Persie will undergo a fitness test while Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby are out through injury but Thomas Vermaelen and Theo Walcott are fit to play.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Arsenal has gone without winning any silverware for six consecutive seasons, with the club's last triumph being the FA Cup in 2005.
- The Gunners have beaten these opponents only three times in the last nine Premier League meetings, with the Tyneside outfit winning twice as the other four ending as draws.
- Historically it is the home side that has the upper hand at St James' Park, as it has won 40 of the 77 league games against Arsenal.
- Last season, Newcastle rewrote history books by mounting a mammoth comeback after going four-goals down at halftime, to eventually take a point off its opponent with a late Chiek Tiote (pictured right) strike.
- Robin van Persie scored 18 league goals to put himself as one of the highest goalscorers in the Premier League last season. No other Arsenal player made it into the top 20.
- As for the Toon, Andy Carroll left for Liverpool in the winter while Kevin Nolan's 12 goals put him in the top 20. He was sold to West Ham United during the summer.
Season Kickoff, beginning with Liverpool vs. Sunderland Saturday live at 10 a.m. ET on FOX Soccer! For a complete weekend schedule, click here.