You’re the boss! How strong do we go against Metalist?

You're the boss!
You’re the boss!
With our Europa League future firmly in the balance due to a combination of poor decision by officials and some wasteful finishing from United, we now know we have to go to Ukraine and secure at least a score draw if we are to progress to the Round of 16.

The problem is, just three days later we face Southampton in a “must win” game at St James’ Park. It’s must win because we still have Premier League safety to consider and a quick look at the table will show you that a win against the Saints will lift us further away from the relegation spaces, and with league games running out that has to be the priority.

So as you can see, it’s a fine balancing act. We named a strong side last Thursday which wasn’t able to break down Metalist Kharkiv, but we only really named a strong side because we didn’t have a league or FA Cup game this weekend in my opinion. Next weekend it’s different, we do have a game, so where is the priority now?

There are, or were, plenty of people calling for a strong side to be named last Thursday. They got their wish but it wasn’t enough to get a result which allowed us to rest some of those players and protect them from making a round trip of over 3,000 miles this Thursday. To go through we’re going to need another strong side, or to name a weakened side with the league game in mind and hope for the best.

For me it should be the second option. Our second string isn’t as weak as it once was thanks to the additions made in January so all is not lost and they can still get a result in Kharkiv. It will be tough, but it was going to be tough anyway. The chance we had to go through was missed last week when we failed to build up a lead to take to Ukraine so for me this competition is done and dusted and if we manage to get through it’s a bonus.



I just can’t put to the back of my mind the importance of the game against Southampton and that is my priority right now. We need to make sure as many of our first-team are fit and raring to go against the Saints as a negative result would be dire for us.

I do understand that this is a chance at trying to win a trophy, but I’ve personally waited 30 years and some of you old buggers have been waiting longer than that. I think I can wait another year before trying for one, but as for relegation I’m not so sure I’d enjoy going through that again.

But, as the title says, you’re the boss so what would you do?

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

224 thoughts on “You’re the boss! How strong do we go against Metalist?

  1. It is the pursuit of money that drives the world on, otherwise we would be still going round on a horse and cart and there would be little to no motivation for anybody to invent or create anything. It is not money that’s the problem, it’s excessive greed and banks/businesses/politicians not being regulated enough or accountable to anybody.

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  2. Big Dave #138

    I don’t know specifically, but managers have access to in depth player performance stats nowadays, so if they say playing games so close together affects their performances, which 90% either have said or implied, then I am inclined to believe them.

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  3. The Kid @ 152

    Whilst I’m sure in some cases it MAY be true that playing matches a few days apart MAY have some effect on performance, maybe you should have something more concrete than your statement @ 152 before you make such sweeping assertions?
    πŸ˜‰

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  4. Kid so it’s the managers etc saying it affects their performance πŸ˜‰ I just thought by your comment ” research has proven it to be detrimental to a player’s performance.” meant that you were stating it as a properly researched fact done by some sporting body or someone official.
    Whilst I would agree that maybe playing 2 or so games a week continuous would start to affect the players, I don’t think that playing 2 games in one week once in a while would affect them that much, lots of other teams do it.

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  5. Managers have access to lots of things and say lots of things.
    It doesn’t mean all of them are good, all of them are knowledgeable or all of them know what they are talking about.

    Big Sam had lots stats at his fingertips by all accounts.
    When he was at the toon he didn’t appear to have a clue.

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  6. which 90% either have said or implied, then I am inclined to believe them.”

    I suspect that’s another dodgy fact.
    In fact I’m 95% certain that 85% of bloggers think that its a dodgy fact!! :mrgreen:

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  7. Pootle & Big Dave – I think I linked what he is talking about @ 149. It didnt take genius googling. Ok it does say that players can take it in their stride over short periods, but I would factor in our notoriously unhealthy injury record and say that for the moment we are in no position to test that part of the theory out with PL Status at stake, and it still is.

    You do appear to be quick to jump on a statement before doing your own research to disprove first though 😳

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  8. Tsunki I jump in before doing my own research ? what are you on about I asked The Kid a question and presumed he would tell me what research was done ? how is that jumping in ❓
    As for your research that backs it up ” Ok it does say that players can take it in their stride over short periods,”

    that seems to back up what I said @ 160 > ” Whilst I would agree that maybe playing 2 or so games a week continuous would start to affect the players, I don’t think that playing 2 games in one week once in a while would affect them that much, lots of other teams do it.”

    So maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to jump in before making sure what your saying is right 😳

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  9. Anita, Marv, Mbiwa and Haidara should definitely play imo. Probably play Tiote as well to find form, with Cisse given a half of football to find a goal. As for the rest i’m not too fussed, I don’t want Benny put anywhere near the side πŸ˜†

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  10. Sorry big Dave just answering your point ” I just thought by your comment ” research has proven it to be detrimental to a player’s performance.” meant that you were stating it as a properly researched fact done by some sporting body or someone official.” – so I did a quick google and found out that it was. πŸ™„

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  11. I would start of full strength team (maybe rest Saylor, Santon and Cabaye) for Mbiwa, Haidara and Anita) and take off other key players later in the game.

    Cisse, Tiote. Cabaye, Sissoko and Saylor can be on the bench if need be.

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  12. Andy ,I would think tuesday as they will want to get training in on wednesday ,then again it’s only a 5 hour flight so maybe Wednesday πŸ˜•

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  13. Tsunki as I said I would agree if they were continually playing twice a week but as you said yourself players take it in their stride short term. Which is what I said. By the way when I checked your link it was in german, so could you tell me which official assosiation done or endorse the research

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  14. Quite honestly I don’t get all this “can’t play two games in three days” bullshit.

    These guys are professional athletes. You don’t see Messi or Ronaldo or Rooney resting or playing poorly because they played three days before.

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  15. i wonder what all the – boring little fuckers – would do if they didn’t have the internet to make them look like smart arses.

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  16. JJ
    Excuses shouldn’t be made for tiredness but to say that a player who played one game in a week is going to have the same fitness level as someone who played twice in a week is ridiculous. These players are running five miles over ninety minutes, fine for an athlete to do but rest and recuperation is then required for the next game.

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  17. Andymag,
    Its not like we are playing them twice a week, every week.

    The top sides have to play twice a week nearly every week of the season. They may rest two or three players, but some on here are saying we should change the entire line-up. It simply doesn’t work like that if you want you team to excell in all competitions. If you want them to ride high on confidence. You have to play your best possible line up.

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  18. If they don’t get tired maybe we can play a season in two or three months instead and get it all over with πŸ˜€

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  19. Agree with Dave/Pootle etc, think we should go for it on Thursday and send a strong team out. The players fought hard to get us into Europe last year, would be a bit of a kick in the gonads if we let them down now by fielding a weak team despite the pressure of the Southampton game. I really don’t see the point of getting into Europe and then not being bothered if we get kicked out.so we can focus on the league.
    They’re only flying to the Ukraine (under 3 hours I believe) not Australia, so they can park their bum in their nice non Easy jet seat and stretch out, before they know it they will be there and back with a few days rest before the Soton match.

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  20. I think you need to overlook the whole context of a player playing twice in 3 days. Yes these lads are professional athletes however I think the trip to Ukraine is a 3000 km round trip ( might be even miles cant remember which I read ) and that will effect a person. Also depends on how much they played recently, too much or too little and it will have an effect on them. Thats why we need to have a big squad. I do think we have a 5-6 players who could play thurs and Sun but we need to manage the squad correctly this week. Its a big week for us

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  21. Deb-It’s not about not being bothered, it’s just priorities. We’re not safe, mathematically still, far from him, form wise we’ve started to pick up but lose against the Saints and the wheels are off again. We must win that game and I don’t want pards or the players having any excuses…

    Going out of the cup is a bit of a let down, but the players have let us down all of this season so perhaps they’re reaping their own rewards. Going out of the prem would be huge and no doubt most of these players who “earned” europe would jump ship as soon as they could.

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  22. Dave – the link is for a pdf with an English coutersection and it was commissioned by EUFA. As you say, players should be able to play condensed games in short term, but it does say even this can be responsible for later injury. My slant is that we have. A poor injury record as it is so couple that with the clubs emphasis on PL and I bet the southampton game is priority.

    Serves me right for wading in ;5

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  23. Newkie I agree premiership survival is key and we don’t want anyone to have excuses for god forbid a poor performance versus Soton, but I’m still in favour for fielding as strong a side as we can within reason in the Ukraine. We ahve some depth to the squad now and virtually everyone fit so it shouldn’t be beyond the wit of man to put out a decent side. My worry is Pardew will revert to form and bottle it and we just limp out the competition with a whimper

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  24. There’s been a lot of teams lately in our position, 2 games in three days. I haven’t noticed any of them making wholesale changes. Swansea did for some reason and they don’t have a game for a week. 0-5.
    Interesting that Pardew’s only saying that Hatem has a slight chance for Sat. Don’t get it. He’s been out for months now.

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  25. Benny’s injury is lasting forever it would seem. Saying he’s a doubt for Saints game is strange as he’s either fit or he ain’t πŸ˜• Could be Pards playing games I suppose πŸ™„

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  26. Kim
    Wasn’t he off because he had a virus? πŸ˜•
    JJ
    That’s not the point, is a player going to be as fit after playing two games a week as a player who only played one? A team full of players who hadn’t played midweek will always be more spritely.

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  27. Kim
    Sammy tweeted that he’s back so I reckon if Pards says he’s not ready for Soton then he’s having us on so the other team don’t prepare for him. Though I don’t know how they would prepare anyway 😎 .

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  28. It’s embarrassing that this club has won nowt for over 40 years. 😳 We will never win anything for another 40 years with a play it safe attitude. πŸ˜₯

    I’ve never managed to get on here since the Metallist game. What was Pards thinking about playing Obertan, who was typically Obertan. Hopeless. Will her never see it? When Marv came on, things picked up markedly even though we went to the ridiculous plan B – Shola. πŸ™„

    Typical Shola – hopeless. I’ve just been laughing at Moreno’s support for him on the other thread. πŸ˜†

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  29. Geordie Deb @ 188 – I agree, but I think it will be beyond the wit of Pards to put out a winning team even if he wanted to. πŸ™„

    I heard Harps on Radio Newcastle before the last game saying that Pards goes to town on researching the opposition so that the players have 10 page dossiers on each opposition player so that they know what to expect. They have to take the dossiers home and swat up. πŸ™„ I wouldn’t be surprised if they were frightened to death. 😯 I prefer Keegan’s approach. Why worry about the opposition? Let them worry about you.

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  30. with it being the birthday of the great bobby robson today,when we in the CL we played 54 games and not one player saying they were tired,strange that πŸ™„

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  31. Ice if they’re tired they arn’t fit enough simple πŸ˜‰ good love the well paid pampered players it’s just aswell they don’t have to do a proper job

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  32. DAVE joking aside most of the players look donald ducked after 50min in most games this season,so it could be down to fitness mate,down to pre-season not right maybe?

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  33. “but I would factor in our notoriously unhealthy injury record and say that for the moment we are in no position to test that part of the theory out with PL Status at stake, ”

    Yes, very good. But that’s your opinion and not a fact and therefore doesn’t disprove what Dave said.

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  34. Also Tsunki, your link didn’t actually directly link to the think you want us to read. I can’t be arsed to trawl through a German university website and I seriously doubt anybody else could for what amounts to a pub argument.

    Incidentally, doing a ‘quick Google search’ doesn’t amount to finding concrete evidence or proof of anything.

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  35. “Yes these lads are professional athletes however I think the trip to Ukraine is a 3000 km round trip ( might be even miles cant remember which I read ) and that will effect a person”

    Wow more opinion masquerading as fact.

    I’ve flown to Florida and back a few times. Not once did I suffer jetlag in any appreciable form and that’s a 9hr + flight.

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  36. Geordie Deb you’re clearly a person of great wisdom!

    I’m sure even Pardew can see the sense in trying to give our players the maximum chance to gel and provide confidence boosting opportunities as well as giving us a real chance to at least have a go at winning something.

    I’m sure he won’t give in like all the unambitious, weak capitulation monkeys appear to want. :mrgreen:

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  37. Ice I have said all season that the players don’t look fully fit.

    Pootle when someone gives there opinion thats fine, but when they do it and state it as a fact it pisses me right of I can’t stand arrogant know it alls πŸ‘Ώ

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  38. Lol. I know Dave.

    Just wait until I get started on their ‘strawman arguments’ and ‘appeals to authority’. πŸ‘Ώ

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  39. Oh and on the flight I thought it was only 2+1/2 – 3 hr flight big fuking deal. My bro tabbed for 3 days carrying 100lbs across the falklands just to fight a war 😯

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  40. I honestly think outside of another decent striker/winger and a decent CB (to replace Colo when he leaves) the main thing this club needs now is an overhaul of the coaching staff.

    Our fitness has not looked great and we need someone to help Pardew with getting the best out of the players

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  41. Dave, I’m happy to hold my hands up and admit I’m wrong if someone produces a fact.
    When that fact turns out to be a strongly held, but completely unsubstantiated, opinion it does kind of boil my piss. :mrgreen:

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  42. ICE@191 ,Sorry mate been away seeing to Lewis. He’s improving thanks ,his nose has stopped seeping bloody ooze now but looks like he may have a little cold now πŸ™„ . That figures as I think I got one about me so I may be to blame . The steroids they put him on makes him prone to infection for next few weeks as does the operation itself apparently πŸ™ .He was so happy to finally take a bath ,strip washes are crap πŸ˜†

    Anyone know if thursdays game is on TV ❓

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  43. Pootle thats another thing I have said we don’t have many coach’s etc for a club our size.

    Kim Lewis isn’t getting the easiest of times is he πŸ˜₯ as for the game I think it’s on espn

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  44. Dave @209 . I know mate it’s mental at the moment for him ,hopefully he’ll be feeling the benefit of his op come april /may ,it takes a long time to have a positive effect .
    I’ll be alright if it’s on espn then 😎 Looking forward to it ,hate us not having a game on a weekend .

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  45. Kim aye I hate the w/end with no footie, as for the game I am looking forward to it, providing we have a strong squad with at least 8-9 1st teamers capable of winning πŸ˜€

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  46. Dave ,it’s hard to know which way Pards will go teamwise. Depends how confident he is on us surviving in the PL I reckon.

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  47. Pootle @ 199 – it was my opinion, I never said anything about fact. And my opinion only stretches into guessing how Pardew will treat the away tie with Metalist, which is on-topic. And which bit about poor injury record is not correct? Also @200 sorry yes the link is useless – but if you can be bothered, paste “playing too many matches is Negative for both performance and player Availability” into google and the first result is a link to the English full text of the UEFA ongoing research into Injury and fitness. My point is, that is all I had to do to find recognised research, and it was a lot easier than typing down a paragraph of rebuttal and calling someone’s bluff.

    And by accepted standards, I would say a UEFA-commissioned study is as near to fact as we are going to get right now. Sorry about the urine-boiling thing but there it is. πŸ˜†

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  48. Having ranted all that, on a rethink I guess Pardew cant really field his strongest team because a few of his first choices are injured or cup-tied anyway, so he will probably field the ‘strongest’ he has, and if all goes well sub his Southampton key starters mid way through 2nd half.

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  49. Oh and just to finish, I would just like to add that all things being equal, if someone said ‘Β£60k/week but you must play football 5 days a week’……..

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  50. We should find out how strong a team Pards wants to play tomorrow(possibly Wednesday) when they’ll board the plane to Ukriane.

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  51. Ohh Toonsy, this “cup is done and dusted”!! I thought more of you. We’ve got to go out there with a strong team and get through so we have a chance of winning the thing. Then we come back and play another game against Southampton and get a result there. These are proffessional athletes, we are not playing ever 3-4 days like we did in the Championship, and we are not playing Tottenham at the weekend. Southampton are doing well at the minute but we could afford a couple of changes against them rather than against Metallist.

    I cannot understand giving up on any chance to win a cup, I don’t know what has happened to modern football clubs. They have watched Man. U competing on all fronts and think when they have games close together they have to rest players. When I played as a lad for Montagu we had 3 games in one day in a tournament in Scotland, admittedly the 3rd was a step too far. These are professional sport’s people, earn you bloody money and run to the death in both!!!!

    Win both, or draw one and win the other but absolutely don’t give up on winning a cup, we’ve got a squad good enough to finish mid-table and with a bit of luck win the Europa, how would that be? Bloody amazing!! So, I can’t believe people already trying to right off even a chance of that, that is what this whole bloody football thing is all about!!! πŸ’‘

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  52. It’s not unknown for teams that have had a 2 week rest i.e. Southampton, to be lethargic and slow out of the blocks. It’s happened to us in the past. I’m all in favour of playing our strongest team in both games. It might be good on Sunday to have had a hot game on Thurs. Maybe introduce Benny as a sub in Kharkiv and start on Sunday.

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  53. Deb-I still want a pretty strong side out there, one that should be good enough to get us a goal-and one goal should win it for us. Krul should also play..for for me cabs, benny and tayls shouldn’t be risked.

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  54. Lionel Speed said:

    “Ohh Toonsy, this β€œcup is done and dusted”!! I thought more of you. We’ve got to go out there with a strong team and get through so we have a chance of winning the thing.”

    A chance of winning the thing? Really? πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    Look, I have no issues with us trying to win things and if we go through then fair enough. But winning a trophy would mean jack shit when trying to get to Millwall next season or when you have to stand ankle deep in piss at Peterborough. Again. Priorities.

    Football is about winning, but it’s also about competing against the best. Can that be done in the Championship? Does anyone think we’ll retain a lot of players this time around if we do go down? I don’t. We have international players with international careers who will want to keep that going so they’ll be off. Add in the increase in TV money that we’ll miss out on making the gap between PL and Championship bigger and harder to bridge. All of that is why I’m not fussed about the Europa League. If relegation wasn’t an issue I’d be all for it, but the fact is that relegation is still an issue currently…

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  55. Hey Toonsy,

    I hope you didn’t think I was giving you too much grief. What I meant was keep the faith. We’ve got a good enough squad to stay up no problem, even with the Europa league we should be good enough to go up against the other teams around us down there.

    Thus, we should go for it in the Cup and then give Southampton a good match at the weekend.

    Long and short of it is I don’t think we’ll go down, in fact I think we’ll be at worst solid mid-table, and I do think with a bit of luck we could get to the quarters/ semis of the Europa then anything is possible.

    Get a strong team to have a go at Metallist and then get the same players with a couple of changes, at St. James’, to give Southampton a good beating.

    Done and dusted, not by a long way. But, of course, I understand where you are coming from… 3 seasons ago was not so long ago. πŸ˜•

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  56. ps. Long-term Newcastle fan gotta have a dream or three to keep us going – and mine is 8th in the League and winning the Europa League

    + Pardew pipping Fergie (and Mancini!!) to Manager of the Year again!!!

    Alright, I’ll take 2 of the 3. πŸ˜†

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