Steve McClaren finally has his first victory as Newcastle United head coach, although not in the Barclays Premier League. Irrespective of the fact it was against League Two opposition, the Magpies comfortable 4-1 Capital One Cup Second-Round win over Northampton Town on Tuesday night was extremely significant. Now McClaren is looking for his opening Premier League victory as Toon boss. So far in the league this season, Newcastle have drawn 2-2 at home to Southampton, been soundly beaten 2-0 away at Swansea City, and earned a hard-fought point via a goalless draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United. However, the Magpies face one of their bogey teams next in the league, with Arsenal visiting St James Park on Saturday lunchtime (12.45pm kick-off). The Gunners themselves have had a somewhat disappointing start to the campaign, with Arsene Wengers men claiming just four points from their opening three fixtures despite being touted by many as genuine title contenders this season. A surprising 2-0 home loss to West Ham United in Arsenals opening fixture was followed by a 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, and then Liverpool left The Emirates with a point on Monday night. Can Newcastle earn McClaren a first Premier League victory as Toon boss this weekend? Or will Arsenal get their title challenge back on track? Here, WhatCulture.com/NUFC look at 8 decisions Steve McClaren must make ahead of Newcastle United vs Arsenal at St James' Park.
NUFC editor for WhatCulture.com/NUFC. History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.