In to the group stages!

Haris fires us through

Newcastle United sealed their passage into the Europa League group stage with a 1-0 victory over Greek side Atromitos giving them a 2-1 victory over the two legs.

A strike from substitute Haris Vuckic was all the team needed to ensure they were in the draw which took place yesterday amidst the madness that it transfer window deadline day.

Now we know who we will be facing if we are to progress in the competition. We’ll be facing trips to France, Belgium and Portugal to take on Bordeaux, Club Brugge and Maritimo respectively which, when you look at the distances involved, isn’t as bad as it could have been and all of them are pretty easy to reach.

The side had many changes from the first leg tie, notably Tim Krul found himself back involved in between the sticks. It was a blend of experience, fringe players and youth.

Newcastle started brightly, Sylvain Marveaux proving a dangerous outlet for the Magpies and drew a save from Itandje when drifting in from the left flank before striking a fierce shot that had to be saved by the Greek side’s goalkeeper.

Demba Ba looked at the top of his game, challenging for the ball and drawing free kicks from the defenders. It seems as if the Senegal international has decided to up his game after fading into obscurity when Papiss Cisse joined during the transfer window.

The first half should have seen Newcastle double their lead and ensure the tie was over but that was not the case. Resolute defending from Atromitos saw Haris Vuckic have a shot blocked and other opportunities the home side had were wasted.

Gabriel Obertan returned to the side and seemed to be up for the challenge after having a torrid time since joining last summer. He used his pace to his advantage and sent in many crosses for Newcastle to attack. He even had an opportunity to score in the second half, one he took perhaps too long to decide what to do with it and the other had to be pushed away by Itjande.

The team survived a scare in the first half when Chumbinho was adjudged to have dived in the penalty box. Television replays suggested otherwise and Tim Krul found himself to be a very lucky man to still be on the pitch.

If the first half was anything to go by, then you expected the second half to build on that excitement. That was not the case, Newcastle seemed to lack the energy that they had shown, allowing Atromitos to find themselves a foothold in the game.

There were more chances for Newcastle to further their advantage but again opportunities were wasted.

But one goal was enough to see the Magpies through into the group stages of the Europa League.

With good performances from fringe players such as Marveaux and Obertan, Pardew will be pleased with the way that his side dispatched with the Greek side.

The only worry is the injuries to Ryan Taylor and James Perch. Perch’s injury seems less serious but Pardew was deeply concerned with the injury to Ryan Taylor.

All in all it was a fantastic night for all those involved with the club and it ensures that European football will stay at St James’ Park for a little while longer.

About Zoë Vicarage

A lifelong Newcastle fan. Currently exiled in Sunderland studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland Follow me on Twitter: @ZoeVicarage

101 thoughts on “In to the group stages!

  1. Troy, you’ve jousted them all into a corner and they’re afraid to come out now…. 😆 😉

    Does it irritate you having to check the blog every 4 minutes to see if anyone has bitten when you could be doing something useful in the garden ? 😆 😆 😆


  2. Troy – it was Vukic I was coming back to and that was to say that I hope they develop him in the CF position rather than playing him ACM as I think he should be on the end of chances not trying to create them. Work on his finishing and I think he’ll be a competent forward.
    I agree that Bigi looked abit rusty but certainly didn’t look out of his depth and I think he could be a real quality player in time, and will certainly benefit playing and training with Cabaye and Tiote.
    I have nothing further to say about Gosling. He has never really impressed me from what I’ve seen of him and just seems to make up the numbers. Not good enough for me and I’d hope that Amalfitano gets his chance ahead of Gosling now to show what he’s got.


    September 1, 2012 at 14:16
    Luke Edwards ‏@LukeEdwardsTele
    #nufc turned down two approaches for Yohan Cabaye during the final weeks of the transfer window. One was from #Arsenal

    >Obviously Pardew was referring to Cabaye this morning in the Journal


  4. Agreed premandup.

    We are a sell in order to buy club for the most part. The Carroll sale remade the club for the most part and it will take another big sale to add the type of players people seem to want. Nothing wrong with that as it has worked well for spurs. Without major sales you will see windows like this one: adding a few youngsters with promise while losing a few fringe players


  5. Troy, I agree wholeheartedly regarding Gosling. Sorry but the lad doesn’t do enough for me. At the moment he looks like a player we nicked for free and took a gamble on. From what I’ve seen so far this gamble has backfired on us imo.

    Regarding Bigi, I disagree. I thought he did ok against the Greeks, and in an untried central midfield he looked like the player taking the responsibility, despite his age and the fact that he had an ex England international in Gosling alongside him. I think he will mature into an excellent midfielder for the toon, of the fetcher and carrier variety, mopping up everywhere, always showing for the ball. Time will show if he can develop his distribution and introduce the killer pass, but I reckon with the right coaching, and a bit more meat on his bones, that will come. This is a 500K gamble which most definitely hasn’t backfired on us imo…


  6. Didn’t have time this morning – RE the Journal article this morning, inside which, Pardew does give off the idea some players are unhappy. Cabaye has hardly featured preseason, why? why wasn’t he ready?

    Was it, Debuchy? Transfer Bid? Dispute with board? He certainly has not looked happy….

    Some of Pardews words this morning make me believe there are some underlying issues with some players. Especially Cabaye.


  7. I agreewith those doubting Gosling to me he looks more like a championship standard player and am not expecting much from him .Has their been any news on Perch’s injury that lad took a time to settle into the premiership but seems to get better with every game .He has become a very important player for us and i really hope he is not out for very long .Imo we will miss him more than taylor ,even though i am gutted for ryan the lad is also going to be missed . Its going to be interesting too see how Pardew now sets his teams up too play and if more out of nessesity than willingness if he gives Ranger and Xisco game time in the cups .


  8. Yes Munich. The club was clear that they intend to be self sustaining and that the owner was done pumping money in. “No capital outlay for new players” and “purchases will be funded by player sales” is what they told us 2 years ago. Not sure why people seem to expect that Ashley will change his mind every window and kick in 20m


  9. Troy – I think the squad we have now should be good for 6th at best IMO. I think we are fortunate that other teams haven’t massively strengthened and Lpool are arguably weaker. Spurs I think are stronger but may take time to settle and Everton have started well but any injuries to key players and I think they will also struggle due to real strength in depth.

    Vukic could be the answer to our CF shortage but I still feel we are short a CB and I’d be happier with a naturally left footed full back.

    I would be interested to know what Ashleys plans are for the £45m we got for finishing 5th, and the TV money weve got this year?



    @Munich Mag

    I’m lovin the fact the hissy fitters are staying well clear. It’s amazing how much time I spend trying to stop them nibbling my ankles. 🙂

    The disclaimer is working a treat. If you can’t take the banter don’t give it out.

    I’ve just got bumbling Boris to contend with now but as you say, he’s actually in my garden as a garden gnome. So whichever way I turn he’s there. 🙂

    Poor Bumbling Boris 🙂


  11. Bigpapa, if he was in on it or not no-one knows. However, at the end of the day Pardew has to defend the Ashley no-spend policy, and try to maintain the team spirit which helped us to over-achieve last season.

    That’s why I mentioned a few weeks back that this will be a tough seaon for Pardew, cos the honeymoon is over now I’m afraid.. That doesn’t mean he’ll fail though.


  12. To be fair MDS I think he said it when we were relegated and had more to with keeping us afloat than players coming in, but words are open to interpretation.


  13. Troy…you got BB in the garden ? Cracks me up big man…. 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    Sharpy17, I reckon Ashley has realigned his wallet, being filled with toon wedge, further north of the border. The Geordies are easily led, but not as easy as those Rangers bunch slogging it out in the nether regions of the Irnbru wotzit…

    He’s gonna make LOADS of money on that deal…

    I don’t need to say it of course, but the bloke’s not daft, money makes money as they say…


  14. Ice – fair play to Pardew for being honest and admitting that some of the players have been effected by the window. I was never a fan of the idea of buying Debuchy to keep Cabaye happy. Buy him to improve the team but not to keep another player from wanting to leave.
    I wonder if we will loose our ‘selling club’ tag now we have held on to the likes of Ba, Cabaye and Tiote?. Ironically, the club reportedly in for Cabaye and Tiote – Arsenal, sell all their best players and it is suggested that Cabaye would go there coz we lack ambition?!
    Not sure if I can work that one out myself like.
    We werent far off them last season in the league and loosing RVP and Song replacing them with Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla – are they stronger?. There is also still unrest there with the Walcott situation so I would have to argue whether a player would go there to further their footballing career. They’d probably pay better wages though.


  15. MM – I think it needs answering to be honest. I’m sure of the exact amount but I think it’s around £20-30m they would have got TV money and around £45m for finishing 5th. That’s alot of money to have only spend £3m in this window. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting I expected we would have spent £50m plus in this window – but certainly around £20m for a FB, CB and CF would have been realistic based on the money coming into the club.
    If it has gone to paying off the loan from Ashley, fair enough too. But it’s a lot of money in with very little spent IMO.


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