The international break is upon us for this weekend, but Newcastle’s next Premier League match is against Arsenal on September 15.
The Magpies are still winless this season and are languishing at the wrong end of the table.
It’s been a tough start results-wise, and things might have looked a little differently had some decisions gone the correct way.
It is what is it is though, and Rafael Benitez’s side could really do with three points to kick-start our season.
A top six opponent may be coming to town but fortunately it’s Arsenal, who represent the weakest of that group of sides.
Arsenal’s defensive frailties
The Gunners are undergoing a big transition period at the moment under new boss Unai Emery.
They’ve done ok with the tough set of fixtures they were dealt.
The north London giants sit on six points from their opening four games.
But one thing that’s been very noticeable about Arsenal so far are their continued woes in defence.
Petr Cech is a shadow of his former self, and Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis, and Nacho Monreal is not exactly a back four that churns out clean sheets week after week.
Put simply, it’s a frail back five that could well be there for the taking.
Rondon and Ritchie’s time to shine?
Newcastle have a potentially match-winning combination on their hands in Salomon Rondon and Matt Ritchie.
The Gunners defence is particularly poor in the air, and Rafa Benitez should instruct winger Ritchie to look for Rondon as often as possible, with driven crosses into the box.
The former West Brom striker is a menace and could find real joy against the two centre-halves.
It’s time for the Venezuelan to properly announce his arrival at St. James’ Park, after a fairly low key loan move from the Hawthorns.