Arsene Wenger believes Newcastle should keep faith in manager Steve McClaren.
The former England boss has struggled to achieve consistency since being appointed at St James’s Park in the summer and takes his side to the Emirates Stadium still stuck in the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.
The 54-year-old McClaren has already come under pressure from some quarters despite recent wins over Liverpool and Tottenham.
But Wenger, whose side will be looking to maintain top spot with a win over the Magpies, feels his counterpart deserves more time.
“He has only just joined the club,” Wenger replied when asked about speculation over McClaren’s future.
“Newcastle is a very exciting project because it’s a very big club and it’s a fantastic and exciting job for a manager like Steve McClaren, but it is a long-term job.
“(Newcastle) has a huge potential and in six months it’s impossible to transform a club of that stature into a club competing for the Premier League. Give him time.
“I know that patience is not the first quality in our society but, unfortunately to be successful, you need it.”
A Fabricio Coloccini own goal was all that separated the sides when they met in the north-east back in August.
Newcastle had to wait until October for their first league win but Wenger reckons McClaren’s squad possesses the quality to cause problems to his side.
“They had a difficult start and they lacked a little bit of confidence,” he said.
“That always shows at home more than away from home. Away from home they have had quite good results and performances.
“If you look at their squad, they have good players in all areas. Up front they have Papiss Cisse, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ayoze Perez.
“In the middle of the park they have players like Moussa Sissoko and Georginio Wijnaldum who can make a difference as well, so they are a dangerous team to play.”
For the Gunners, Mathieu Flamini is likely to return in midfield after an ankle issue kept him out of Monday’s win over Bournemouth.
Alexis Sanchez is still missing and Wenger has said he will rotate his side due to the fixture congestion over the festive period.