Buoyed by Saturday’s 4-1 win over Chelsea, Newcastle United travel to PSG for a night that could decide our Champions League fate – or give us a huge chance of qualifying for the last 16.
Back-to-back defeats to Dortmund have left us with a mountain to climb, but the Group F situation looks like this ahead of Tuesday’s crucial game at the Parc des Princes:
- If we beat PSG (A) and AC Milan (H) we WILL qualify for the knockout stages
- If we beat PSG and draw with Milan (taking us to eight points) we’d need Dortmund to avoid defeat in their remaining two games to qualify.
- If we drew at PSG and beat Milan, the Italians could not finish above us (securing at least Europa League football), but Dortmund would only need a point to finish above Newcastle, while PSG would need to beat Dortmund in their final game to finish above us and qualify.
- If we lose to PSG and Milan beat Dortmund, we are guaranteed to finish bottom and out of Europe altogether.
It’s complicated, but not out of the question that we reach the knockout stages, while a point gives us a very real chance of finishing third and securing a Europa League spot.
Speaking from Paris ahead of the game, Eddie Howe issued this message:
“The mood of the group is very good, especially after the result at the weekend. That was a pivotal moment for us because, again, very easy to feel sorry for yourselves or to focus on the players that aren’t with us. The lads did incredibly well to perform at a high level against a very good Chelsea side.
“We need to play on the edge, that is when we are at our best. They have quality in every position, we will need to be as good as we can be. We will need every ounce of energy to get a result. This is a defining moment in our UEFA Champions League campaign, we are going to give it everything. It is imperative we don’t lose.”
Sean Longstaff (ankle) hasn’t travelled, Joe Willock (Achilles) is set to see a specialist tomorrow and Lewis Hall is back after being ineligible over the weekend, but Sven Botman, Callum Wilson, Elliot Anderson, Harvey Barnes, Jacob Murphy, Dan Burn, Matt Targett and Sandro Tonali remain out, while Matt Ritchie, Emil Krafth, Javier Manquillo and Mark Gillespie aren’t eligible after missing out on our initial Champions League squad.
U21 talents Alex Murphy and Amadou Diallo can’t be registered due to UEFA rules, but Michael Ndiweni, Ben Parkinson and James Huntley will be named in our 18-man squad.
For PSG, centre-back Marquinhos and midfield sensation Warren Zaïre-Emery have both been ruled out, with Nuno Mendes, Presnel Kimpembe and Keylor Navas still sidelined.
Predicted line up
(4-3-3): Pope – Trippier, Lascelles, Schar, Livramento – Miley, Guimaraes, Joelinton – Almiron, Isak, Gordon.
With all of the injured players remaining out and Longstaff stuck back on Tyneside, Howe may be forced to go with the same 11 that beat Chelsea on Saturday.
Hall’s availability means he could come in at left-back, allowing Livramento to play further forward as he did initially at Dortmund, but I personally see him going with the same XI that performed so well over the weekend.
Another huge test awaits for Miley, but he seems to have composure and maturity beyond his years and will be boosted by his superb display against Chelsea, where he got the better of a £107m World Cup winner in Enzo Fernandez.
My head says this may be a challenge too far given the injuries across the squad and my heart has belief we can pull a huge result out of the bag.
PSG will be out for revenge after they were battered 4-1 in the reverse fixture. However, that result should give us real belief heading to Paris.
We’ll have to defend well and have a big job on our hands containing the electric Kylian Mbappe, but this Eddie Howe side has bags of grit, determination and togetherness. Gordon to score again and Newcastle to return with a precious point that keeps us in with a glimmer of hope.
NUFC Blog prediction: PSG 2-2 Newcastle