Thursday, 21 February 2013

Getting the job done and progressing

In my previous post, I gave my arguments for why Newcastle should have fielded a strong team against Metalist Kharkiv. In the aftermath of the result I believe many more fans are realising why they should have too.

We have something to strive for now. In a year where Bradford have reached the League cup final why shouldn't Newcastle United fans feel optimistic about progressing in the Europa League? After thursday night's performance hopefully we've sent out a message to the other teams left in the competition; we're not going to roll over. We did what we had to - score in the Ukraine. It was left to Shola again who dispatched his 15th European goal from the penalty spot. Remarkable.

Newcastle played well, we kept possession nicely in the first half an hour and contained them manfully. It was evident we didn't want to concede and at the back we looked solid. Up top we didn't look as sharp however we still showed signs that we could hurt them through Sissoko, Cisse and Shola. Thankfully, Papa Gueye decided to hand the tie to us with a comical back pass which left his 'keeper stranded in no mans land .We took advantage and now we're through thanks to some heroics from Tim Krul.

Now we need to push on. A win at Southampton is a must and very much achievable with Mathieu Debuchy and Yoan Gouffran coming back into the side. From there, hopefully we can take advantage of Swansea's jubilation/misery by turning them over on their back yard or by nicking a point. Michael Laudrup has turned them into a decent side - a point is a decent result. Then we face Anzhi in Moscow. They sit 2nd in the Russian league and possess some quality players with the most recognisable being Samuel Etoo. If we can get an away goal and keep the tie low scoring Newcastle have every chance of progressing. By the time the tie comes around we will have players such as Hatem Ben Arfa at our disposal as well as hopefully an in form Papiss Cisse. On home soil with the backing of a bouncing Strawberry Corner who knows what may happen? Pardew's team selection against Kharkiv was a signal of intent - we're going for it. I can't wait and I haven't been as excited in a very long time. Long may it continue!

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