Newcastle United’s European Gamble
Though it was only a friendly in the Algarve, Newcastle looked more than a match for Olympiakos who are Greek champions and they finished 23 points ahead of fourth placed Atromitos FC.
It is unlikely though to be the kind of pushover United experienced in the early stages of the Intertoto back in the day.
Alan Pardew stated some time ago that the Premier League would take automatic priority and even if Newcastle are successful in having the first leg match pulled back to the Wednesday (22nd August), or even the Tuesday (21st), I can’t see the manager putting out anything but a skeleton first team padded out with squad players, in advance of what could already prove to be a crucial early match at Stamford Bridge with Newcastle looking to build momentum early doors.
The squad players have looked as reliable in the pre-season as they did last season and should help Newcastle come away with at least a draw in the first leg and finish the job off at St.James’ Park a week later.
My guesstimate would be that a handful of key first team players such as Krul, Coloccini and Tiote would start in a line-up along these lines;
Krul, Perch, Williamson, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Obertan, Tiote, Abeid, Marveaux, Vuckic and Shola
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