Anzhi - Newcastle Preview: Magpies set for tough test against big-spending Russians
Alan Pardew's side will be looking to take a first-leg lead back to St James' Park but will have to work hard against Guus Hiddink's high-flyers
By Nicholas McGee
Anzhi have no new injury worries and go into the game with a full squad of players to choose from, with superstars such as Willian, Samuel Eto'o and Lassana Diarra all set to play from the start.
Newcastle could welcome back Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring), but Fabricio Coloccini (back) has been ruled out by manager Alan Pardew while Papiss Cisse was not part of the 19-man squad.
Ryan Taylor (knee) is close to recovery, however he is unlikely to return to action until the end of the month.
Tim Krul (ankle) remains on the sidelines after picking up an injury in the last round against Metalist Kharkiv and Steve Harper's absence with a knee injury means Rob Elliot will continue in goal.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Newcastle have faced Anzhi star Samuel Eto'o in European competition before, the Cameroonian was part of the Real Mallorca side that suffered a 7-1 aggregate Uefa Cup loss to the Magpies in 2004.
- Shola Ameobi (pictured right) played in the second leg of that tie and will move level with Alan Shearer on 38 European appearances for Newcastle if the plays in both legs of this tie.
- The Magpies have beaten a Guus Hiddink side in the past, as they overcame PSV Eindhoven over two legs in the quarter-finals of the 2003-04 Uefa Cup before losing to Marseille in the next round.
- Anzhi have won all seven of their Europa League home games this season, scoring 12 times and conceding just once.
- Hiddink's side have only lost twice in their domestic league this term, with defeats against Rubin Kazan and CSKA Moscow both coming away from home.
- As a football club, Anzhi are 99 years younger than Newcastle, having only been formed in 1991.
- This tie marks the first time that Newcastle have faced Russian opposition in European competition.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Sign up today with Coral and get a £50 FREE bet - no strings attached!|
|Sign up today with BetVictor and get a £25 FREE BET!|
|Sign up with Betway for a £50 free bet!|
Top 3 Predictions
Anzhi Makhachkala 2-0 Newcastle United
- 18.23 %
Anzhi Makhachkala 2-1 Newcastle United
- 14.71 %
Anzhi Makhachkala 1-2 Newcastle United
- 9.47 %
|Europa League (EL)||14 Mar 2013||Newcastle United 1 - Anzhi Makhachkala 0|
|Europa League (EL)||7 Mar 2013||Anzhi Makhachkala 0 - Newcastle United 0|
|12 Dec 2013||Tottenham 4 - Anzhi Makhachkala 1||EL|
|6 Dec 2013||Anzhi Makhachkala 1 - Kuban 2||RUS1|
|2 Dec 2013||Anzhi Makhachkala 0 - Tom Tomsk 2||RUS1|
|28 Nov 2013||Anzhi Makhachkala 1 - Sheriff 1||EL|
|24 Nov 2013||Anzhi Makhachkala 0 - Volga Nizhny Novgorod 0||RUS1|
|-||Joao Carlos Pinto Chaves||Defender|
|10||Hatem Ben Arfa||Midfielder|
The Russian side have secured a number of big-name signings in recent years, but perhaps their biggest coup has been the signing of Brazilian forward Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk. The winger impressed in the Champions League, scoring four goals and providing three assists, but has yet to find the net for Anzhi in the two games he has played for the club. Still, Newcastle will be aware of the 24-year-old's considerable talent and will have to be on guard defensively if they are to have a chance of winning the tie.
Newcastle's January recruits have received many plaudits for turning their form around, but it is one of Alan Pardew's first signings who has perhaps been their best player this term. Midfielder Yohan Cabaye has missed much of the season through injury, but has displayed excellent form when fit, scoring five goals this term. Three of those goals have come in the Magpies' last six league games, and the former Lille man could be key to their quest to reach the last eight of the Europa League.
Alan Pardew's side battled to hard to book their place in the last 16 with a win over Metalist Kharkiv and will need to show similar spirit to overcome an Anzhi side that will be expected to dominate in Moscow. The Russians may have enough to gain a first-leg advantage, but if Newcastle can grab an away goal then they will have an excellent chance of sealing their progression to the quarter-finals in the return leg at St James' Park.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed