Europa League – Round of 32
Tonight will see Newcastle United back in European action in the round of 32 against Ukrainian side Metalist Kharkiv. After finishing the group stages in 2nd place behind Bordeaux, Newcastle are looking to assert their dominance at St. James Park tonight. This Valentine’s Europa League clash is set to be a great night of football as Newcastle are not playing this weekend due to their early exits from the FA Cup meaning a near full strength squad should be taking the field. Metalist are currently in the middle of their winter league break and will be sure to play a strong squad although they may not be at full match fitness.
Some big news for Newcastle is that new signing Mapou Yanga-Mbwia will be making his first start for the club. After making some promising cameo appearances against Aston Villa and Chelsea he could well be getting his first start tonight. The promising centre back was a dominant force at Montpellier in the Champions League and Ligue 1 and we can’t wait to see him start in this Europa League competition.
Metalist are somewhat of an unknown quantity. With most football fans having very little knowledge of the Ukrainian leagues bar Shahktar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv who play in the Champions League. Metalist have been playing in the Europa League for some time now and have a team made up of a large number of South American imports. Favouring Brazil and Argentina, players such as Cleiton Xavier and Willian Gomes could cause some issues in tonight’s Europa League clash.
I’m sure we can look forward to a great game tonight with both teams going for the win to help bolster their chances in the upcoming away fixture. With Premier League rivals Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool also in action tonight you can be sure to see a good night of midweek European football.