Obviously we see the London Olympics kick-off tonight, and what better way to celebrate than by playing a team from the country that gave us the Olympics? Even better is the fact that their name is based around the Olympics. Anyone else starting to feel that it was a set up?
Anyway enough Olympic malarkey. I’m pretty much not interested in it although, unlike some, I don’t especially want it to fail as it will reflect on all Brits whether we like it or not. What I am interested in is the game this evening which will see us go toe-to-toe with a team that has already qualified for the Champions League this season.
The game will kick-off at 8:45pm (there is no time difference between the UK and Portugal) and will be shown live on ESPN. Essentially it is a three team mini-tournament between ourselves, Olympiakos and SC Braga although I don’t know how you can win a tournament when the rules say that even a penalty shootout can end in a draw!
For reference it is called the “XII Trofeo Guadiana” which actually got underway last night as Olympiakos and Braga managed to draw 1-1 over the course of 90 minutes and then drew 4-4 on penalties. Seemingly there is no provision to have more than five penalties…
The game this evening will be Olympiakos’ last of the tournament after two games in two days for the Greeks, which Newcastle will also have to endure as they play SC Braga in 24 hours time. With that in mind I think it’s safe to assume that we’ll be seeing a lot of team rotation over these next two games.
Tim Krul is likely to make his first appearance of pre-season and will share goalkeeping duties with Steve Harper after Rob Elliot picked up a minor injury presumably straining to reach a bit of discarded kebab he found under his bed. Shane Ferguson is also absent while Romain Amalfitano – who missed the last friendly with a groin injury – may be spared as a precaution even though he joined in training yesterday.
Another player set for a first appearance is Yohan Cabaye who is now back from an extended break after his participation at Euro 2012. His compatriot Hatem Ben Arfa won’t feature though as he has been attending a disciplinary hearing to discuss his fall out with Laurent Blanc over the summer. Nothing has come of it but the missed training will likely have an impact in his role these next two games and we may have to wait until August 4th (my birthday, hint hint) to see Benny back in action. Steven Taylor may play a part as he continues to recover from the most serious injury of his career to date.
Anyway I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Once the team news appears I’ll add it in below and we can see where we go from there. Also if you happen to know of any decent links for the match then please feel free to share them as not everyone has ESPN.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul, James Perch, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor, Davide Santon, Gabriel Obertan, Gael Bigirimana, Romain Amalfitano, Dan Gosling, Haris Vuckic, Shola Ameobi.
Subs: Steve Harper, Fabricio Coloccini, Danny Simpson, James Tavernier, Ryan Taylor, Mehdi Abeid, Sylvain Marveaux, Cheik Tiote, Sammy Ameobi, Jonas Gutierrez, Papiss Cisse.
Olympiakos: Roy Carroll, Anastasios Papazoglou, Ljubomir Fejsa, Rafik Djebbour, Ionnis Fetfatzdis, Dimitris Siovas, Claude Dielna, Panagiotis Vlachodimos, Chumbinho, Luis Santo, Vasileios« Why don’t people care about the Europa League? | Faro farce! Newcastle 1-1 Olympiakos – Match report and highlights »