FC Metalist Kharkiv v Newcastle United – Match Preview
FC Metalist Kharkiv v Newcastle United
Thursday 21 February 2013 6pm (live on ESPN)
Newcastle take on FC Metalist in the Ukraine tonight, knowing a scoring draw or better will take them into the last 16, odds of 17/5 on an NUFC win look very generous with the anticipated team Newcastle are expected to play.
A goalless but entertaining match last Thursday has set up the second leg nicely, with Alan Pardew talking up the prospects of goals this time.
All the indications are that the manager and everybody else at Newcastle are going for it, with the following 19 man squad travelling;
Shola, Anita, Bigirimana, Cabaye, Cisse, Coloccini, Elliot, Gosling, Jonas, Haidara, Krul, Marveaux, Obertan, Perch, Simpson, Sissoko, (S) Taylor, Tiote, Mapou
Again the talk in recent days by the manager has been of putting a strong team out and he’s already indicated that players such as Cabaye and Mapou will be playing. Alan Pardew remarking on how Cabaye’s international experience could be vital in front of the sell-out crowd tonight, odds of 13/2 on Cabaye scoring any time in the match look great value.
Jonas had one of his best matches of the season last week and while he could play at left-back instead of Davide Santon who has a knock, I think Pardew will see Gutierrez’ workrate as essential in what is sure to be a very competitive midfield battle.
If that’s the case then we should get our first glimpse of new signing Massadio Haidara, with surely the manager preferring to give him his first chance rather than playing SImpson or perch out of position there, or putting Vurnon Anita in there.
While Papiss Cisse was ruing bad decisions by officials as well as a few wasted chances in the first leg, he is surely essential tonight if United are to have a chance of making it through.
I can see Cisse taking advantage this time and if Metalist tire once again in the closing stages then that would be an added bonus and I fancy a 2-1 win for United at 16/1 which would see us sail through to the next round.
The first twenty minutes could be crucial as we saw how good Metalist’s South American contingent were on the ball at St.James’ Park and you can imagine them coming out with all guns blazing.
If Newcastle get through that opening period undamaged then we should have the players on the pitch who can score the necessary goals. It could be some game.
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