Archive for tag: Europa League.

S.L. Benfica – A complete guide for Geordies (part two)

April 2nd, 2013 | 45 Comments |

Estadio da Luz (Stadium of Light) - Lisbon.
The real Stadium of Light.
With the Newcastle United being drawn against footballing aristocrats Benfica for their Europa League quarter final on Thursday, here is part two of my guide to Benfica.

In part one, I took a look at some aspects of Benfica’s history, including it’s links to Newcastle United and the North East in general. In this one, I will looking at things like the club’s current form, it’s coach Jorge Jesus, tactics, some of Benfica’s key players and that sort of thing.

Benfica and Newcastle United have never played each other competitively, so we can get that one out of the way pretty sharpish and take a look at their current form.

Current Form.

Benfica’s form in the Portuguese League is pretty predictable. If they’re doing well they’re top of the League, and if they’re doing not so well they are second, usually behind their fierce rivals, FC Porto. Their other great rivals in the Portuguese “Três Grandes” (Big three) are fellow Lisbon side Sporting Clube de Portugal, but they seem to be in a bit of a pickle at the moment, currently languishing in eighth in a sixteen team league. (more…)


S.L. Benfica – A complete guide for Geordies (part one)

March 29th, 2013 | 7 Comments |

Benfica Crest  - Estadio da Luz.
“Out of many, one.”
As Newcastle United’s next Europa League opponents are the Portuguese footballing aristocrats of Benfica, I have been inspired to write a two part guide to the club.

In this first part, I will taking a brief look at the history of the club, as well as taking a look at the links between Benfica, Newcastle United and the North East in general. There aren’t a huge amount and Thursday will be the first time the teams have ever met in a competitive game, but they are quite interesting nonetheless.

History, facts and stats.

The club known as Sport Lisboa e Benfica, or simply “Benfica” was formed by 18 year old footballer Cosme Damião on 28 February 1904. In their 109 year history since then they have become Portugal’s most successful club, with 32 Portuguese League titles, 24 Portuguese Cups plus 3 Campeonato de Portugal titles (the old version of the cup), 4 Portuguese League Cups, 4 Portuguese Super Cups and not least, 2 European Cups won in 1960 and 1961. (more…)


We are the loyalest football supporters? Not in the Europa League apparently

March 6th, 2013 | 15 Comments |

St James' Park empty.
St James’ Park: A Europa League ghost town?
“♫ For we’re the loyalest football supporters, the world has ever had… ♫”

So goes the terrace chant much favoured by we Newcastle United fans. However as you can see below, the attendance figures for this season’s Europa League could be calling that proud boast into question.

As you can see below, Newcastle United’s home attendance figures for Europa League games have hardly been impressive, with an average of only 24,154 Geordies attending St James’ Park for the games. This makes us the least supported of any of the English clubs competing in this years competition, and only the sixth most supported of the teams in the last sixteen.

In the table below I have only included the attendances of the remaining 16 teams, as there would be 80 teams if I’d included all who have competed in the competition! This means that Liverpool aren’t in there as they were knocked out by Zenit St Petersburg in the last round, but they were one of the most well supported teams with an average of 40,929 shifty looking scallies showing up at Anfield for their five games, with the crafty Cockney’s of Chelsea and Tottenham also beating Newcastle in the teraace table with an average of 38,642 and 36,240 respectively. It should be added that Chelsea have only competed in one game in the more recent stages which might affect things somewhat, though this isnt the case with ‘Spurs and Liverpool. (more…)


Who is right on Europe, Pardew or Laudrup?

March 5th, 2013 | 43 Comments |

Michael Laudrup and Alan Pardew.
Who is right?
Speaking in recent interview on Swansea City’s Europa League campaign next season, Chairman Huw Jenkins knocked Europa League knockers such as Alan Pardew, who has frequently used midweek European competition as an excuse for his poor League form this season (amongst other things), with Jenkins dismissing such talk as “rubbish.”

Meanwhile his manager, Michael Laudrup, has also welcomed the extra games next season, seeing no need to significantly increase the numbers of his small squad (around 23 currently) for next season’s European campaign. On this Laudrup commented:

“I know one year that Barcelona played with 19 first-team players, as well as a few younger players, and they played every three days. It is possible.

“I know again the risks if you get an injury. Look at what happened to us when Neil Taylor broke his ankle the day after the transfer window shut. That has special implications, but I don’t believe in having 27 or 28 players (27 was about the size of Newcastle United’s first team squad before the new French player were beought in). You won’t have 27 players who are at the same level, so you will still have five or six who never play. (more…)


Newcastle United vs Metalist Kharkiv match banter!

February 14th, 2013 | 131 Comments |

Newcastle United v Metalist Kharkiv.
“♫ Metal is tough, metal will sheen ♫”
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Date: Thurs 14th February, 2013.
Kick off: 8.05pm.
Referee: Harald Hagen (Norway).
UK TV: ESPN.

Hello, good evening and welcome to our “match banter” feature for this evening’s Europa League game against Ukraine’s Metalist Karkiv.

As you may know already Metalist are a pretty strong team who are genarally regarded as the being the “best of the rest” behind the two Ukrainian giants, Dynamo Kyiv and Shaktar Donetsk. Hence, they won’t be any pushover. One piece of good news for the Toon however is that Metalist have recently sold their own Brazilian Benny, Taison (an excellent driblling winger / forward), to their rivals at Donetsk. Chelsea made a move for him priginally, however the club was then taken over by someone who disliked Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich so much, he preferred to sell him to one of his biggest rivals instead! (more…)


Does Pardew Know What He’s Doing Part II: Playing the Blame Game

January 22nd, 2013 | 71 Comments |

Alan Pardew points the finger.
"It's all your fault!"
It’s time for the long awaited second installment of this series looking at Alan Pardew’s role at the club, and if he know what he’s doing? (Hence the title). Because of recent events, I have decided to do a piece on his tendency to blame all and sundry other than himself for some disappointing performances this season so far.

Part II: Playing the Blame Game 

Because of all the success we had last season, anything that went slightly awry, (and there were many of them, but that’s for another day/blog) became difficult to criticise. Fans seemed to soften their opinions towards the fat man and Casino Derek (or at least turn them down to avoid derision from more optimistic supporters), and why wouldn’t they? The team was doing well and we looked like we had found stability and a vision for going forward into the future. This season however has been a different story.

The optimism gained from 11/12 was slowly eroded away, even the most committed Pardew apologists have doubts in their minds and most people now feel that he has overstayed his welcome. This deterioration in confidence doesn’t only effect the fans but also the players, the owners, but most importantly the manager. In an effort to avoid coming to terms with the reasons why his Newcastle career has gone so far downhill, Pardew now almost routinely blames different elements of the organisation (or at least ones that don’t have the platform to fight back) game to game. (more…)


Does Pardew Know What He’s Doing? Part 1: Transfers

January 6th, 2013 | 110 Comments |

Alan Pardew.
Its no longer a party with Pardew...
Alright, I’m “FarmerG” and this is my NUFCBlog debut post.

I’m going to start with a biggy; so big in fact that I’m going to split it up into bite size chunks for your digestion. Basically, this series of blogs will investigate NUFC head honcho Alan Scott Pardew’s role at the club, delving deep into the important issues surrounding the clubs fortunes since he took charge and pinpointing the deficiencies that have lead us to having not the best of seasons so far. This will be an attempt to put across my opinion that wor Alan doesn’t know the difference between what he does right and what he does wrong.

PART I: Transfers

Let me take you back to the end of May 2012, we’d finished 5th in the Premiership, our highest finish for 8 seasons, qualified for the Europa League, narrowly missing out on the Champions League, and our great leader had won both the Premier League “Manager of the Season” and LMA “Manager of the Year” awards. For a Newcastle United supporter their was nothing but optimism for the next campaign as we eagerly awaited the summer recruitment drive. And then the wheels began to fall off the bandwagon. (more…)


Metalist Kharkiv: A guide for Alan Pardew (and the rest of us)

December 21st, 2012 | 33 Comments |

Metalist's Brazilian wing wizard, Taison.
Metalist's Brazilian Benny, Taison.
With the news that Newcastle United will be facing Metalist Kharkiv over two legs in the the next round of our Europa League campaign, I thought it might be a good idea to probe this side from the north east of Ukraine.

Going on what Alan Pardew said when he was interviewed about the draw, he seems to know buggerall about them. When probed on how much he know about Metalist, he replied:

“Not much really”

So, Alan, you may find this helpful!

Currently fourth in the Ukrainian Premier Liga (behind Shakhtar Donetsk, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Dynamo Kyiv), they finished third last season as they have for the last six seasons, always behind the big two Ukrainian giants, Dynamo Kyiv and Shaktar Donetsk.

Roughly, they are strong side who are more or less on the same kind of level as our toughest opponents in the group stage, Girondins de Bordeaux, who we beat 3-0 at home and lost to 2-0 at their place. (more…)


Pardew blames disappointing youngsters, pitch and qualification for Bordeaux bombshell

December 7th, 2012 | 83 Comments |

Alan Pardew points the finger.
Silver Supremo scolds Bordeaux bairns.
Speaking after Newcastle United’s 2-0 capitulation to Bordeaux in their last Europa League Group D game, Alan Pardew blamed the fact that the side had already qualified for the next round, Bordeaux’s pitch and some disappointing performances for the younger players he fielded for the defeat.

Pardew wailed:

“Yeah, I was a bit disappointed really. We both played mixed teams, we both obviously qualified which made it psychologically a difficult game I think. The pitch was difficult, it was heavy. They play Rugby on that pitch and it was heavy on the legs. I thought they coped better with the pitch and they were the better side. They deserved to win.”

He then moved on, pouring scorn on the young players who he felt didn’t take their chance to impress him. He also suggested that they may have blown their only chance to put themselves in his thoughts for future games this season as more “Purple” first team regulars return, continuing: (more…)


And here come the Belgians! Newcastle United v Club Brugge match preview

October 25th, 2012 | 11 Comments |

Newcastle United v Club Brugge match preview.
The Belgians are coming!
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Date: Thursday, 25th Oct.
Kick off: 8:05pm
Referee: Martin Hansson.
UK TV: ESPN.

Brugge come to St James’ Park this evening as leaders of the Belgian Pro League, though on the back of a fairly heavy 4-1 defeat against Oud-Heverlee Leuven (the home of “Stella Artois” beer).

However, this was their first league defeat of the season, with their record before that being D,D,W,D,W,W,W,D,W,W. Their only other defeat this season was their 4-0 Europa League hammering by Bordeaux. Of course, we beat Bordeaux convincingly in our last Europa game, 3-0 at our place, though if you think that makes the Belgians a pushover it’s not as simple as that. Brugge went on to do better than us in their next Europa League game, a 2-0 defeat of Maritimo where we could only manage a 0-0 draw.

This will be our first game against Brugge in European competition. Their last matches against English opposition in this competition were two legs at the same group stage last season against Chris Hughton’s Birmingham City. In those games they were beaten 1-2 at home by Birmingham, drawing 2-2 in their away leg at St Andrew’s.

Brugge’s Manager. (more…)