Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said Newcastle is ‘one of the toughest places to go’ in the Premier League and has credited Eddie Howe for transforming the Magpies.
Arsenal travel to face Newcastle at St James’ Park this weekend with both teams having made strong starts to the new campaign.
Newcastle secured a top four finish in the Premier League last season to earn Champions League qualification for the first time since 2002/03.
The Magpies have lost just three of their last 23 league games at St James’ Park – one of which came to Arsenal last season – and Arteta believes this weekend’s trip represents one of the hardest challenges in the Premier League.
“It’s one of the toughest places to go and win. We have done that before and it’s nothing new to us,” Arteta said to the media at his pre-match press conference.
On Newcastle’s improvement under Howe, the Spaniard added: “Huge credit to him. He has transformed the club, environment and atmosphere. I give huge compliments to him for the job he has done.
“The way his team plays and the environment he’s created is great. He’s had a lot of support and now they are big contenders.”
Arsenal remain unbeaten in the Premier League this season after ten games and sit second in the table, two points behind leaders Tottenham, ahead of this weekend’s clash. However, the Gunners will be looking to bounce back from a midweek Carabao Cup exit at West Ham.
The north London side have strong recent record against Newcastle however, having won nine of the last 11 meetings with this weekend’s opposition in all competitions. Arsenal won 2-0 at St James’ Park last season, courtesy of goals from Martin Odegaard and a Fabian Schar own goal.