Europa League: Newcastle United v Metalist Kharkiv match preview
A look ahead to tonight’s Europa League fixture at St James’ Park
Thursday 14 February 2013
Alan Pardew will be without the services of new signings Yoan Gouffran and Mathieu Debuchy for the visit of Metalist Kharkiv in the Europa League last 32. The two are cup-tied, though Gouffran suffered a leg injury in last weekend’s defeat to Tottenham. He joins Hatem Ben Arfa and Sammy Ameobi on the injury list, with neither set to feature in tonight’s clash.
Group D runners-up Newcastle currently sit 16th in the Premier League, though Pardew feels they are finally close to full-strength following recent returns of Yohan Cabaye and Steven Taylor, as well as the acquisitions of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko and others. The two sides have never met in European competition before, though Metalist did meet English club Everton in the 2007 UEFA Cup, gaining a creditable draw at Goodison Park.
The Ukrainian side won four out of their six group games - losing just once to Rapid Vienna – which saw them top Group K ahead of Bayer Leverkusen. The winner of the tie will face either oil-rich Anzhi Makhachkala or Budesliga side Hannover, with Metalist hoping to improve their record of making the last 16 twice in their short European history.
Newcastle are unbeaten in 11 European home games (W8 D3) since a 2-1 loss to Deportivo La Coruna in the 2005 Intertoto Cup semi-finals.
Metalist's only previous encounters with an English club came in the first round of the 2007/08 UEFA Cup when Myron Markevich's side drew 1-1 at Everton before losing a dramatic return leg 3-2.
New signing Moussa Sissoko has two goals in three games for the Magpies, with both coming in the 3-2 win over Chelsea.
Before their last game – the defeat to Rapid Vienna – Metalist were on a six-game winning streak.
They have a samba influence flowing through their team, with five Brazilians currently at the club – Fininho Campos, Jakson Jaja Coelho, Cleiton Xavier, Marlos and Willian.
Newcastle to win: 2.26
Metalist Kharkiv to win: 3.65
TV: Live on ESPN at 8.05pm.
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