HomePSG v Newcastle United: Can Magpies revive Champions League hopes? Preview, expected...

PSG v Newcastle United: Can Magpies revive Champions League hopes? Preview, expected line-ups and prediction

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The State of Play

It all looked to be going so well for Newcastle United on their return to the big time when they crushed Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 at a raucous St James’ Park in early October, posting the biggest win in their UEFA Champions League history to take charge of Group F.

Eight weeks, however, is a very long time in football. With an injury crisis continuing to bite at Eddie Howe’s thin squad, Newcastle approach Tuesday’s return fixture in France knowing a defeat will spell the end of their hopes of reaching the last 16.

Back-to-back defeats to Borussia Dortmund, who looked relatively comfortable as they swept Newcastle aside with a 2-0 win in Germany earlier this month, have put Howe’s men bottom of the group with four points.

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Newcastle should travel to Paris in high spirits following Saturday’s 4-1 Premier League rout of Chelsea, but they have found the going difficult in Europe this term, failing to score in three of their four games in Group F.

If they are to have any form of European football to look forward to after Christmas, they will have to earn at least one big result across the final two matchdays.

PSG would love nothing more than to be responsible for Newcastle’s exit, given the humiliation the Magpies inflicted upon them on Tyneside earlier in the season, and that is to say nothing of the geopolitical rivalry between PSG’s owners, Qatar Sports Investments, and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which calls the shots at St James’.

Luis Enrique’s men also need points to ensure their own survival in Europe’s premier club competition, however. Having thrown away an early lead in a 2-1 defeat at Milan on matchday four, they still sit in a perilous position in this fiercely competitive group, with six points from four games.

With just three points separating all four teams in the standings, Tuesday’s set of fixtures will go a long way to deciding who survives the group of death.

Team News

It might be easier to list Newcastle’s available players, rather than those who have been struck down by injury!

Howe could be without as many as 11 first-teamers for the trip to France, with Jacob Murphy, Dan Burn, Callum Wilson, Elliot Anderson, Sven Botman, Harvey Barnes, Joe Willock and Matt Targett among those crowding the Magpies’ treatment room. Sean Longstaff is also doubtful, but Alexander Isak scored on his return to action after a month out on Saturday, in a major boost for Howe.

PSG are certainly closer to a clean bill of health than their visitors, but they will be without Warren Zaire-Emery, Nuno Mendes, Presnel Kimpembe and Keylor Navas. Captain Marquinhos is also a major doubt with a hamstring injury.

Expected Line-ups

PSG: Donnarumma; Hakimi, Skriniar, Hernandez, Mukiele; Fabian, Ugarte, Vitinha; Dembele, Kolo Muani, Mbappe.

Newcastle United: Pope; Trippier, Lascelles, Schar, Livramento; Miley, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Isak, Gordon.

What they Said

Alexander Isak on his return and Newcastle’s injury crisis:

“I am delighted to be back, delighted with the performance [against Chelsea] and delighted with the goal, it’s all good again. It was a good moment for the team more than anything.

“We have a great squad here. We just focus on the ones we have fit and they are doing great. So we must just keep doing what we are doing.”

PSG boss Luis Enrique: 

“There are few matches left in a very complicated group with a very tight ranking. The match could be decisive tomorrow. I am convinced that my team is ready to play tomorrow and be competitive.

“At this level, home matches are especially key. The fans can be a particular asset for us, especially tomorrow. We need an even more powerful version of this, especially in delicate moments at the Parc des Princes.”

When and how to watch

The game kicks off at 20:00 UK time on Tuesday night, with Milan hosting Dortmund in the group’s other fixture at the same time. Both matches will be available to watch live across TNT Sport’s platforms in the UK.

Prediction

While Newcastle should be expected to give it a go, they look to be in for a difficult outing at the Parc des Princes, where PSG have already swept aside Dortmund and Milan in this group.

A depleted Magpies side may struggle to contain PSG’s pacey frontline, particularly in the latter stages with Howe’s hands tied by their huge selection issues. Expect PSG to end the visitors’ Champions League dreams with a 2-0 win, with the ever-reliable Mbappe on target.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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