Venue: Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv.
Date: Thurs 21st February, 2013.
Kick off: 6.00pm UK time (8pm local time)
Referee: Serge Gumienny (Belgium).
UK TV: ESPN.
Hello, good evening and welcome to our latest “match banter” feature for this evening’s Europa League game against Metalist Kharkiv.
With the first leg at St James’ Park ending in a 0-0 draw, this means that a score draw or better would take the Magpies through. If they can manage this, a last sixteen clash against either German Bundesliga side Hannover 96 or Guus Hiddink’s Russian side, Anzhi Makhachkala. So far it’s looking like it’s more likely to be the latter, as they currently leading the Germans 3-1 after their first leg in Russia and they are certainly not to be sniffed at with Hiddink at the helm, not to mention superstars old (Samuel Eto’o) and new (the Brazilian wide man, Willian). Still, we have to get through this one first, and as they showed in the first leg of the tie, they will be no pushovers, especially on their own (probably frozen) Ukrainian turf.
Hopefully, the officials for this game will be of a better standard than they were for the last game, especially the linesmen, one of whom denied Papiss Cisse a perfectly good goal in the last game, along with another which could have been described as “debatable.” As you can see above, this evening’s little Hitler will be a Belgian called Serge Gumienny.
One piece of team news is that our most utilised player of the season, Davide Santon with 31 appearences in all competitions so far, will be rested this evening, so we might well see a debut start for new boy, Massadio Haïdara. Another is that Hatem Ben Arfa has been in training, but he won’t be thrown into the fray quite yet. As usual, I will be posting the teamsheets for the game when they become available.
Speaking in the run up to the game, Alan Pardew, after remarking that he’d be happy with that abovementioned score draw said:
“I feel the game is very important for us, for the players, for the team and for the fans, so we are all focused on the game. We all want to go through and play at the next stage because the Europa League, for me, is a big competition. We can play against good teams and get some more experience for the future to take into the Premier League.”
Meanwhile his opposite number from Metalist, Myron Markevich, warned that Newcastle shouldn’t be underestimeated because of their current poor league position. On this he remarked:
“Newcastle are a very good team and they shouldn’t be in the position they are in. They should be in the top 10, minimum.”
So on that, it only leaves it for me to issue my usual reminders you that although the game will be broadcast in the UK on ESPN, I will also be posting some links where you can watch the game online, as well as posting highlights, post match interviews and a video of the whole match in the fullness of time so stay tuned!
Howay the Lads!
Metalist Kharkiv (4-2-3-1): Olexandr Goryainov (G), Cristian Villagra, Papa Gueye, Marco Torsiglieri, Fininho; Juan Manuel Torres, Edmar; Marlos, Cleiton Xavier, Jose Emesto Sosa (C), Jonathan Cristaldo
Subs: Vladimir Disljenkovic (G), Oleg Shelayev, Andriy Berezovchuk, Oleg Krasnopyorov, Sebastian Blanco, Willian, Jaja.
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul (G), Danny Simpson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini (C), Massadio Haïdara, Vurnon Anita, Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse, Moussa Sissoko, Sylvain Marveaux, Shola Ameobi.
Subs: Rob Elliot (G), James Perch, Steven Taylor, Dan Gosling, Gael Bigirimana, Jonas Gutierrez, Gabriel Obertan.