It’s going to be a tough game for Newcastle United against FC Anzhi Makhachkala at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium tonight, in the first leg of the round of the last 16 of the Europa League.
But Anzhi’s manager Guus Hiddink has heaped praise on the new Newcastle side, on the run-up to the game, and he has watched the Magpies a few times in preparation for tonight’s game, and the famous coach has said Newcastle are now a modern side who attack the opposition, and they have some powerful and good players.
Anzhi are owned by Russian Billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, and they have not been shy of paying our big dollars to get good players into the club, and they have some top class players who include their captain Eto’o.
And in January they brought in Brazilian Willian for £19M, which is a million more than Newcastle paid for the five players who came to Newcastle in that same month – Massadio Haidara, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, Mathieu Debuchy and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Newcastle will be without Krul, Coloccini and Cisse for the game tonight, and they are out injured, and also Debuchy and Gouffran are not eligible to play in Europe for Newcastle.
So we think this could be the side that Alan Pardew could start tonight:
Simpson Taylor (S) Yanga-Mbiwa Haidara
Ben Arfa Anita Sissoko Cabaye (c) Marveaux
Subs: Alnwick Santon Perch Gosling Tiote Obertan Campbell
With Cisse being sick and Alan Pardew reticent to play Shola Ameobi on a plastic artificial surface, we’ve put 18 year striker Adam Campbell on the bench, and he could even get a run-out in this game.
Anzhi are going to come at Newcastle at the start of this game with everything they have to try to get a goal, so how we fare tonight will have a lot to do with how the back five perform, but this is almost the same team that had the great 1-0 victory at Metalist Kharkiv, so if we can play as well as that – we’ll have a chance.
And with these European ties, it’s important to try to get an away goal, as that is the first decider if the scores are level after the two legs.
In our poll on how Newcastle will fare tonight, 46% think the game will end in a draw (that includes me so it probably will never happen), and the rest are split between winning and losing the game – at 27% each.
Newcastle’s objective will be to stay in the tie tonight, so that it’s possible next Thursday night to put in a performance to do what’s necessary to win the tie at St. James’ Park and go though to the quarter finals of the competition.
But what’s necessary will be completely dependent on how our lads perform tonight in Moscow tonight.
Here’s a chance to vote on the result if you haven’t already done so.
We can shock a lot of people tonight.
Howay The Lads!!
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org