It’s going to be very interesting what side Alan Pardew selects this Thursday night for the first tie against Metalist Kharkiv in the Europa League.
Metalist Kharkiv – Newcastle’s opponents on Valentines Day
The Ukraine team are already in the north east and they had drawn 1-1 at Whitley Bay on Sunday in a warm up game before taking on Newcastle United on Thursday.
It’s clear that the attitudes to the Europa League are different for the two clubs, with Metalist taking the two ties very seriously.
But of course with Newcastle now 5th bottom of the Premier League and still in some danger of being relegated, we don’t expect Alan Pardew to play his best side, and certainly not in the return leg a week come Thursday, just four days before our important league game against Southampton.
Newcastle are four points out of third bottom (really 5 points with goal difference taken into account) and 4 points out of a clear 11th place – so we can move up quickly if we can start stringing those wins together.
Alan Pardew could play a strong side at home this Thursday night, with the next game being in a week’s time – but this would be our best second eleven:
Simpson Williamson Yanga-Mbiwa Haidara
Marveaux Anita Tiote Bigirimana Obertan
Alan Pardew could play a stronger side than the one above for Thursday night, but that team shows just how strong the Newcastle squad is now after bringing in five top players in January.
It would be good to give it a go in the Europa League, but the Premier league comes first, especially when we are still down there near the relegation zone.
What would your side be for Thursday – let us know.
We ran this heart wrenching story yesterday on Eve Miller – please help the 10 year-old if you possibly can – many thanks.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org