Arsenal fans have been discussing the Newcastle United match ahead of this afternoon at St James Park.

A bit of a (relative) reality check for Arsenal fans in recent times, a good few years since being genuine title contenders and now a second season without Champions League football.

Sympathy from Newcastle fans in very short supply.

A 2-1 Newcastle win in April helped ensure the Gunners only had four PL away victories (15 wins at home though) last season, the same as Newcastle.

This season they have had a win and a defeat both at home and away, beating West Ham but losing to Man City at The Emirates, losing to Chelsea but beating Cardiff on their travels.

No clean sheets so far and reading these comments below, seemingly no expectation of one today against Newcastle.

In fact, considering the quality of players they do still have, I find it very surprising hardly any of them think they are going to win.

A combination of their own team’s supposed shortcomings, along with Rafa’s expertise and NUFC’s defensive discipline.

I hope the game lives down to their expectations….

Comments from Arsenal fans ahead of Newcastle game via their top Online Arsenal message board:

‘Newcastle are even worse than Cardiff, but we are gonna surely struggle again.’

‘6-0 – Aubameyang double hat-trick.’

‘Tough, tough game.

Benitez and Newcastle very hungry to show what they can do at home.’

‘Can we win?

Yes.

Can we win and keep a clean sheet?’

‘I reckon we will have multiple goalscorers in this one…feel we will have 3 different players scoring and I reckon it will be a high scoring game.

Could see us bagging 4 or more, I just dont know how many we will let in.’

‘Newcastle under Benítez are a good defensive team. No one hammers them tbh.’

‘The toon were unlucky to lose to Chelsea an city should have got points from them games,

Going for a score draw.’

‘We’ve been fortunate to play an absolute garbage West Ham side and a Cardiff team whose finishing leaves a lot to be desired.

We were lucky and there’s only so much luck this team can get. This is where I think it’ll run out.

I don’t see us winning this one. Rafa is a smart cookie, I think we’ll struggle to break them down.’

‘I’m going to say 1-1 in this one

I think Rafa will do a good job at stifling our attacks and you know that we won’t win a game only scoring 1 goal.’

‘Özil to make his first ever appearance at Newcastle away?’

‘I think a 0-0 draw is the most likeliest outcome in this game, because of Benitez are how his teams are set up but I hope we can still make a goal and take three points away from Newcastle.’

‘If we actually beat Newcastle away I might start believing we got a chance for Top 4.’

‘Win would give us 3 in a row and some momentum, doing it different ways with some challenges… and another away victory would be sweet way to get going… feel we will do it, but probably not the easy way again.’

‘We’ve played West Ham and Cardiff in our last two games, and those two clubs have played four games each this season and scored only four goals, yet three of them were against us.

So although I expect us to win, it would be great to see us keep a clean sheet as well.’

‘I predict another end to end goalfest with skill and technique a plenty coupled with fist pumping sqeaky bum a la cirque der shizer we call defending…

We shall beat dem geordie buggers killing them off as in the last two games by death by headless chicken attack football…’

‘Judging by the Cardiff performance we’ll make hard work of this game.

Our defence and defending is rubbis . Any team we play against will have a chance .

A good 2-0 away win.’

‘I love that you said everything that you said and somehow still ended up predicting us to win by two goals and with a clean sheet.’

‘I’m not sure a game with Benitez as one of the managers against a big club will be an end to end goalfest…’

‘Newcastle are sh.. We’ve got this.’

‘Got a chance to go to this one. In 2 minds though. It’s bloody far!’

‘You’d run the risk of bumping into me.

I always go to this fixture. One of my fave away days.’

‘The game does have the feel of a potential banana skin. Newcastle put up a decent battle against Man City recently, so despite their league position, they can’t be taken for granted.

We do have a good record up at the Toon, but this will be a good test for Emery. Would be great to achieve back to back away wins in god knows how long. Though I’m going to side cautiously and go for a draw, 2-2.’

‘Expecting the hardest game of this eight match run. Would be an important three points.’

‘Assuming he doesn’t come down with a sore throat, this will be Özil’s first game up at Newcastle. His record goes: injured, ill, injured, rested.

Getting Geordie Shored is a career milestone that every footballer has to go through eventually.’

‘Hearing what Rafa has said it sounds like they don’t respect us as much as they do Chelsea.

He wants to come at us, which is understandable given our lack of quality in defence, which means they’ll probably score more than one – but at the same time, that will allow us to attack more.

I’m confident we can outscore them should that be the tactic they employ. Goalfest incoming.’