Newcastle United have landed in Moscow ahead of their Europa League clash with Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday, and they have brought 19 players with them. Once again, Alan Pardew has not shied away from naming several first teamers, even with a league match looming on the weekend. Based on his comments in Ukraine, we can expect that he'll not be pulling any punches for as long as Newcastle remain active in this tournament. Let's take a look at possible lineups.
Rob Elliot, Jak Alnwick
The same configuration as the last two Premier League games: Elliot backed up by Alnwick with Steve Harper nowhere in sight.
As expected, Fabricio Coloccini and his injured back have been left behind. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa played for the captain at Swansea, and despite a few shaky moments he was mostly solid. I'd expect him to play alongside Saylor once again. European play means a chance to give Simpson some minutes, so the only choice left to make is on the left side. Jonas Gutierrez is missing from the squad (see below), so perhaps his partner in crime Santon will take a rest as well.
The shape of the formation is an interesting choice. Pardew played two strikers against Metalist Kharkiv as he pursued an early away goal, and the inclusion of 18 year-old Adam Campbell might mean he wants to pursue the same strategy while keeping a fresh striker on the bench. Then again, if Ben Arfa is slated to start, the favored 4-2-3-1 might be give him a bit more room to roam around. I seriously doubt he would be in Moscow if the plan did not call for him to play or even to play a minor role. The unavailability of Yoan Gouffran and the absence of Jonas gives The Silver Fox the chance to experiment with HBA's role in the new formation without bruising any egos.
EDIT: Cisse did not make the trip after all. So it's probably a 4-2-3-1, unless Pards wants to roll without a striker on the bench again.
I've put together
a couple of one possible formation s. What do you think?
Simpson --- STaylor --- MY-M --- Santon
Tiote --- Cabaye
Ben Arfa --- Sissoko --- Marveaux
Bench: Alnwick, Perch, Haidara, Anita, Obertan, Bigirimana, Campbell