Newcastle Could Even Do Well In Europe This Season

Before our two wins at Aston Villa and at home to Chelsea on Saturday – we didn’t really give a hoot about the Europa League, when we’ll be playing Metalist Kharkiv of the Ukraine at home a week on Thursday, and then a week later we’ll play them in the second leg at at their place

Massadio Haïdara.

Massadio Haidara – could make his debut in Europa League

There is no intervening game on the Saturday between the two Europa League games – and then we play Southampton at home  the following Sunday – which is a must win game, but since we are away the previous Thursday –  we’ll have traveled before the game against the Saints – that’s not good – and we most definitely will have to play a reserves side in that second game.

But the fixture list is looking a lot easier now we are out of the FA Cup, and our next game is another tough one against 4th placed Tottenham in the early game at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon.

And with our acquisition of five good French players last month, our bench is starting to look very strong and of course Cheick Tiote is now on his way back from South Africa and the African Cup of Nations after the Ivory Coast were beaten 2-1 by Nigeria yesterday, with Cheick getting the goal for the Ivory Coast.

We have players like Steve Harper, Rob Elliot, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Cheick Tiote, Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux, Dan Gosling, Gabby Obertan and Shola Ameobi who could all be playing in the Europa League.

If we don’t include any of the players who started against Chelsea on Saturday, this is a team we could field against Metalist Kharkiv a week on Thursday at home:

Harper or Elliot
Simpson Williamson Yanga-Mbiwa Haidara
Obertan Tiote Anita Gosling
Ameobi (Sh) Marveaux

Since we only have three recognized strikers – the second striker position is a question mark – and remember that Yoan Gouffran is not available because he has already played in the Europa League for Bordeaux this season.

And here’s a thought – since we have no game on the following Saturday in the home tie against Metalist Kharkiv  – we could even field our first team in that game – and then have the above team in the away tie in the Ukraine the following Thursday,  and then play our first team against Southampton three days later.

Our position in the Premier League is the most important – that almost goes without saying – and we need to keep winning – but if we can pick up 3 points at White Hart Lane on Saturday, don’t be surprised if Newcastle give the Europa League a good go before the end of the season.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Note – I initially had the home and away ties with Metalist Kharkiv   the wrong way round – I corrected that.

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27 comments so far

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #1

    My son who was 16 was asked for photographic ID on Saturday – Did anyone else have this problem

  • rainrix

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #2

    Lets see how the spurs match goes. If we could pick up a win there or even a draw then go for it i say, 12/10 points to safety with 12 games left is throughly doable. Tbh i don’t think we’d have a chance in hell of beating karkiv with eds team. You’d need to supplement it with some of our 1st team


    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #3

    Is Gosling back fit?

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #4

    Rain rix,
    We have five days rest until the Mentalist game and then a further week offbefore the second leg, I can’t see any reason why a full strength team can’t be fielded and should STaylor get injured then we have a very adequate replacement to step in, and how is Cisse any more likely tobe injured in Russia than say, White Heart Lane.

  • saxonfenken

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #5

    Again your words are coming true, What you said about Goufrann being a great signing, I thought he was superb.
    As for Sissoko, I must admit tears of joy were running down my face when we signed him

    I would like to see us go for it, now that Tiote and HBA is due back, we finally have the squad to have a big say

  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #6


    Spurs have shown to do europa and the league well you need to only make 2/3 changes, anymore can disrupt your rhythm which is important when playing games close together so preparation time is cut.

  • TorqToon

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #7

    Assam – when you look at it, Tiote will come back from ACON and struggle to get his place back.

    Perch has done nothing that would merit him being dropped – whereas Tiote can be a liability. How many free kicks has he given away and we’ve conceeded??! We’ve definitely not missed that! It’s nice to know that if he plays – and is poor – we can take him off.

    You can’t change the

    Gouffran – Sissoko – Guti/Marv

    line up – nor can you drop cabs…so it’s perch, Anita and Tiote competing for one spot, with HBA still to come back in.

    Seems we are FINALLY putting a ‘squad’ together!

  • TorqToon

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #8

    Saxon – Morning my friend.

    I KNOW I bleeted on and on and ON about how excited I was by the signature of Gouffran, I’m glad he is showing everybody ALREADY how good he is!! And bear in mind – he hasn’t scored for us yet – so people are seeing the bigger picture.

    Sissoko was always going to happen…going back to the groundwork we put in during the summer, same for Yanga-Mbiwa.

  • Assam Toon

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #9

    I fail to understand the half hearted approach of teams towards europa. I think once we avoid the relegation fears, we should go full throttle for the cup.
    Go for it against the spurs and play the best formation in the first leg. Than god willing, we will be able to rest them for the second leg (with a 3-0 advantage :-))…and then slaughter the saints in the weekend. So am I asking for too much if we take europa by the scruff of neck with metalist itself?

  • Markaccus

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #10

    Will debuchey be happy being left out of the Euro squad? Tough one, that. This would be my Euro team in the second leg:

    Every one of those players could be changed for the southampton game (if hba is fit)

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #11

    Thats almost a reserve team in the old term of the word, read my other post.


    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #12

    Tiote will come to training look around see his competition and up his game no end imo

    Cabs back with him and either Sissoko or Anita he will shine again he might even start passing forward

  • Walesy87

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #13

    We play home first then away not the other way round Ed. Very Imformative……

  • rainrix

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #14

    jail… For the 1st round no doubt we should easily field our strongest side, hopefully we could knock in a bunch then play a lesser side in the away leg with strength on the bench. Injuries don’t worry me particularly or as much as others on here, now we have at least 2 players of adequate quality in each position. I’d just feel better going into these matches if we didn’t have as much riding on the southampton game 🙂

    Sage… Yup 2/3 changes would work for us best i think, plus considering we have a lot of players back now. anita marv and tiote could easily replace our more tired players, plus theres hiadara and mbiwa who have hardly played as well ready.

  • yo-yo

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #15


    The last thing we want against Spuds is any free kicks being given away just outside the box so Tiote ought to be kept as sub and Anita or Perch played. I would start Anita in this game

  • saxonfenken

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #16

    Good morning Torq,
    It was more relief that he came now rather than the Summer, We needed a player who could run from midfield, I always thought we were to light in that department. How great it is to see one of ours frighten the daylights out of opposing defenses. What a transformation

  • Markaccus

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #17

    Jail. Yes it is a reserve team. That would be my team for the home leg IF that is what NUFC are planning to do. My preferance would be to have a few first teamers in there for the home leg, and have them on the bench v southampton should we need them. I agree there is no real reason to play a reserve side in europe now, but I was just showing it could be done while still having a reasonably strong team out.

  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #18

    We have a weekend off between europa league games so we should go with a full team for the home tie and see where that leaves us going to the away leg.

    Metalist sold there best player this january too so we have a good chance to get at them.

  • Markaccus

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #19

    Debuchey and staylor in for mbiwa and simmo. Cisse and hba start for shola and obertan. That could mean colo and mbiwa start in CB v southampton, but with simmo at RB. Shameobi may end up starting up front, and hba would be rested for obertan. Would that be enough to beat southampton!

  • magpiebop

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #20

    It’s always great to be right but I’ve called it all correct for a few years on here now my guru instincts are starting to peak.

  • Mund30

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #21

    Whats amazed me the most about the 5 signings this Jan, is the professionalism in them. The things they come out and say when being interviewed is music to my ears, and the fact they are great players aswell brings back the confidence i had in this club after last year and the hope we finally win a trophy and possibly be challenging for bigger and better things in the next couple of seasons who knows!!!

    Goufran was the one of the 5 signings i figured would take a little longer to settle and probs in the future be a squad player kinda like a Best or Lovenkrands. But after watching him on Saturday ive changed my mind, this lad can play thats for sure. He links up well, has the skill and pace to beat people and the best thing i saw about him was his vision and crisp passing under pressure. Look at Obertan and how indecisive he is, by the time he makes his mind up its to late but with Goofy he is so calm and doesnt panic and makes the right choice, im looking forward to seeing more of this lad in the coming weeks and hopefully he gets on the scoresheet sometime soon.

    Also need to add cant believe im seeing haters on Tiote and hearing the words he is overrated, are you mad??? Yes he has had a bad season but is he the only player to have been in bad form??? the answer is NO and the reason for his bad form is simple he has been compensating for other players around him and not concentrating on his own job, plus the fact he has been criticised for his tough tackling and constantly getting booked has made him have a kinda identity crisis and resulted him trying to change his game. This plus the bad form of the team and him doing more than he should has been the reason for his bad form this year. But i tell you now write him off at ure own peril, the new additions and the new look to the team, Tiote can come back and do what he normally does and concentrate on that and build on the great partnership he has with Cabaye. For anyone who says he is overrated go and get ure head checked this guy is world class and i have no doubt he will prove it to all of you haters.


  • AndytheScientist

    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #22

    Playing half arsed teams in europe really annoys me, just like playing them in the other cups.

    In the championship you play wed/sat/wed/sat for pretty much the entire season. I think when we got promoted back we’d played pretty much the same team all season.

    There is no reason at all that the best 11 can’t play on thurs/thurs/sunday and give 100% in the last game against saints on the sunday.

    We’ve lacked confidence and consistency all season, fir that i blame the constant swapping of the team around, if we beat metalist to go through, there could be no better confidence boost before the southamption game. Get knocked out by playing a team of kids and then you start on the back foot.

    Simple answer play the best team you can get a good lead then bring a couple of kids on.

    It’s not like we have any older players anyway, i think on saturday age made a difference as terry, lampard and cole all showing their aged legs at the end.

  • giimps

    Feb 4, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #23

    Mund, I agree with your summary of Tiote, He has had poor/young players around him and has changed the way he plays to try and cover more players.He will be much better with the extra quality in the team as Goofy, Sissoko and Cabaye are virtually always in space and ready to receive the ball.
    If he has more options to pick a pass, he will complete more passes and be less likely to be caught in possession in and around our box. IMHO

  • shear-class

    Feb 4, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #24

    mund30 – Totally agree with your comments especially tiote I think no matter who you are if the players around aren’t up to it then it musnt do your confidence any good , Look no further than Collo’s form playing with Williamson

  • Mund30

    Feb 4, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #25

    @23@24 exactly lads but as you know haters gunna hate as they do. But we know on his day he is one of the best in Europe and for people to say what they say about it just because of the bad form is ridiculous.

  • giimps

    Feb 4, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #26

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion so time will tell, but I am more confident in our team at the back without Simmo and Willo.
    I am more confident in the team going forward with Moussa, Cisse, Benny and goofy with cabaye and tiote creating and destroying.
    It all bodes well, but time will tell and there is a long way to go in the season.

  • toonicle

    Feb 4, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Comment #27

    No reason not to play our first team at the home game against Metalist, get a couple goals at home and we’d have a good cushion when we travel and play a more reserve team at the away game.


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