Club Brugge v Newcastle United – Match Preview
Thursday 8 November 2012 6pm Live On ESPN
A win in Bruges would guarantee qualification to the last 32 knockout stage and depending on the Bordeaux v Maritimo result, could see Newcastle all but confirmed as group winners.
Alan Pardew selected the following squad but has since stated that Yohan Cabaye will not play because of the hamstring strain picked up at Anfield.
Abeid, Amalfitano, Sammy & Shola, Anita, Bigirimana, Cabaye, Cisse, Coloccini, Elliot, Ferguson, Krul, Marveaux, Obertan, Santon, Tavernier, Steven Taylor, Tiote, Williamson, Xisco
Domestic suspensions have ironically helped our Europa League quest as with being unable to play on Sunday against West Ham, is is assumed that Cheick Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini will be certain starters.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar formation to the home match against the Belgian club, with Santon again switching to the right and Ferguson getting another chance after impressing at left-back. WIth Colo a certainty it is then left to a choice of Taylor or Williamson alongside and whether or not the manager protects Krul with Sunday in mind.
Tiote will be expected to take responsibility(!) in the middle of the park with Bigirimana alongside him, though then it gets a bit tricky as with injuries building up it becomes a balance with Sunday in mind. Anita would seem very likely to play on Sunday and with him struggling physically to see out games so far, it must be in the balance as to whether he will be risked. Options include Abeid who has been out in the cold recently, similarly with Marveaux.
You would expect Obertan and Sammy Ameobi to play again, especially seen as Alan Pardew has indicated that both Ameobis will start! With midfield options limited, the manager could decide to go with a 4-4-2 and have Cisse and Shola as a front two as he did in the second half at home to Brugge, with Obertan and Sammy as more orthodox wingers.
Tonight’s match of course has seen a run-up blighted by the fact thousands of Newcastle fans booked travel and accommodation before discovering United had been allocated a ridiculously low ticket allocation of 1,470, though after much pressure there was an extra 900 made available.
While Newcastle have their problems, they are minor compared to our hosts tonight.
Club Brugge are on a five match losing run and have sacked their manager, they also have Blondel suspended and Van Acker is recovering from mumps! To supplement their squad they’ve had to draft a handful of younger players into tonight’s squad.
With Brugge struggling in their domestic league, which isn’t the strongest, even with big names missing I fancy Newcastle to win tonight and send the travelling thousands home happy, whether or not they watched the match in the stadium or the town square!
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