Thursday night sees Newcastle United head to Ukraine to take on Metalist Kharkiv in the second and decisive leg of their Europa League Round of 32 clash. With the scores level at 0-0 from the first leg – largely down to two dubious offside decisions against the Magpies – it is all to play for in Eastern Europe.

As is normal in European games, the away goal comes into effect, meaning Newcastle have a slight advantage. Kharkiv failed to net at St James’ Park a week ago, so if the Magpies can score away from home, the tie will swing in their favour.

If the game ends goalless for the second time in seven days, extra time and penalties will be played to determine who goes on to play German side Hannover or Russian giants Anzhi Makachkala.

The big decision facing Alan Pardew ahead of this game is choosing the right side to get through, while resting key players for the game against Southampton on Sunday. The initial plan was to send a weakened side to Ukraine but the disappointing result in the first leg has forced the Newcastle boss into a rethink.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is set to start, as he did in the first leg at right-back, while Vurnon Anita could come into the side having watched from the bench in the last three games. Shola Ameobi could be used if Papiss Cisse fails to find the target too, as the Geordies’ attacking options are limited.

Hatem Ben Arfa won’t be involved as he closes in on his return from injury, with the weekend game against Southampton being a more realistic target for the French winger. The crunch clash against the improving Saints is also a target for Yoan Gouffran, as the former Bordeaux winger recovers from a shin injury. Had he been fit, Gouffran is cup-tied for the Europa League having played for Bordeaux against Newcastle in the group stages.

Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic and Dan Gosling are all injured, while Sammy Ameobi’s fitness is unconfirmed.
With Anzhi leading Hannover 3-1 from their first leg, the Russian side are likely to be waiting for the winner of Thursday’s game in the Round of 16, which concludes at St James’ Park (hopefully) on March 14.

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  1. matty

    dont know why santons not going 2 play against metalist, out of all the senior players hes the most capable of playing 2 games in a short space of time hes in good form aswell, and the only toon player not 2 miss a prem game this season, think we will miss his energy tbh, but will equally back the team pards puts out ! HWTL !

  2. Mack

    Simpson Mbiwa Tayls Haidara
    Obertan Anita Tiote Marveaux Jonas

    I'm hoping for a 1-0 (Cisse)


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