A round-up of news and views relating to Newcastle United.
Alan Pardew says Newcastle United are aiming to win the Europa League and that in contrast to the Champions League, an English side has a very good chance of making the final of the tournament. Pardew also said that he has spoken to Brendan Rodgers ahead of tonight’s match with Anzhi, as Liverpool played the Russian side twice in the group stages of the competition.
Newcastle will be without Hatem Ben Arfa for the match, but Pardew has played down concerns that the French player is set for another lengthy spell on the side-lines:
“We can’t take any risks. He had a slight strain and we are just checking it is nothing more than that and I think that will be the diagnosis so the alarm bells are not ringing.”
In addition to Ben Arfa, Tim Krul and Fabriccio Coloccini are out injured for the match, whilst Yoann Gouffran and Mathieu Debuchy are ineligible. Shola Ameobi will undergo a late fitness test on his ankle.
There have been suggestions that Anzhi’s £30million January signing Willian will also miss the match with a hamstring problem picked up during the first leg last week, but Sky Sports have indicated the Brazilian player is available.
Moussa Sissoko has said that Newcastle’s legion of French players is a positive for the club, and that there has been no friction in the squad as a result of the influx of new players in January:
“I know all the lads here are nice guys. We do not have any major issues.
"From a football perspective, all five French signings bring something new to the team. We want people to think Newcastle were right in signing us, and that we were right in coming to Newcastle."
Papiss Cisse has described Newcastle’s fans as the best in the world, and said that they can help the side go all the way in the Europa League. Cisse also said that it was great feeling to grab the late winner against Stoke at the weekend.
On HITC this week Lewis Doe argues than Danny Simpson only has himself to blame after being usurped by Mathieu Debuchy in the first team, and questions Alan Pardew’s claim that Papiss CIsse is a better player this season. We also look at five ways Yohan Cabaye can still improve, and the speculation that Kevin Gameiro could be the next French player to sign for Newcastle.