Newcastle are 6 points above the drop zone in the Premier League, but are still in the Europa League last 16, and we take on Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow tomorrow night, even though Makhachkala is 1115 miles way.
Alan Pardew – in the Ukraine two weeks ago
UEFA have determined that Anzhi must play all their European games in Moscow and not at their 15,200-seat Dynamo Stadium in Makhachkala, and it’s because of security concerns of playing at the club’s Dagestan home, and the club also trains in Moscow.
It’s an artificial surface at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, and that in itself will be a test of Newcastle’s players.
Alan Pardew does not underestimate the opposition tomorrow:
“It would be massive if we could beat this team because they are a really strong side. It’s really now down to where every team left in that Europa League now is focusing on it probably as their primary objective.”
“I can’t think of too many clubs in it for whom it’s not at the top of their agenda, so there’s now a real focus on that competition.”
Since the five new Frenchmen arrived in Newcastle have played 7 games in total, and have four wins and only two defeats – including the unlucky 1-0 defeat at Swansea last Saturday, but this is one of the new team’s biggest tests.
And Alan Pardew is not worrying too much about relegation, although we are not out of the woods yet, but the Newcastle manager has a chance to go up against one of the best managers of recent decades in Guus Hiddink, who briefly managed Chelsea and was the recent manager of the Russian National side.
Former Barcelona star Samuel Eto’o is their captain and top scorer and former Chelsea, Arsenal, Portsmouth and Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra is at the Russian club.
It’s a tough test for Newcastle, but if we can play somewhere near our best, we could surprise a lot of people in Moscow tomorrow night.
What do you think?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org