Newcastle, backed by Saudi Arabia, is up against it in the Champions League
Newcastle must overcome PSG’s power and a growing injury list if the Magpies’ first journey into the Champions League in 20 years is not to end prematurely on Tuesday.
Eddie Howe’s team are bottom of a challenging Group F, which also includes last season’s semi-finalists AC Milan, after suffering devastating back-to-back defeats to Borussia Dortmund.
Newcastle must avoid defeat in Paris if they are to advance to the last 16.
When Howe’s team defeated PSG 4-1 on Tyneside in October, qualification appeared to be within reach.
However, despite being funded by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, Newcastle has since struggled as an injury issue has taken its toll.
By the standards of top Premier League clubs, Newcastle did not spend their newfound cash extravagantly in the summer window.
Sandro Tonali, the club’s only headline summer addition, has been banned for ten months for violating betting rules while at Milan.
Harvey Barnes has been out injured for the majority of the season since joining from Leicester, while youthful full-backs Lewis Hall and Tino Livramento have just recently been called into action due to injuries to others.
Even though Newcastle thrashed Chelsea 4-1 on Saturday despite missing 13 first-team players, the decision to be more prudent in the summer market is clearly paying off.
Other crucial players who are set to miss out at the Parc des Princes are Sven Botman, Dan Burn, Callum Wilson, Joe Willock, and Sean Longstaff.
“You look at the players who were missing, and that was a giant performance from the players we have fit,” Howe remarked after Chelsea were thrashed at St. James’ Park.
However, Howe fears that his reduced squad has already depleted the tank ahead of facing a PSG side captained by Kylian Mbappe that is out for revenge and a place in the last 16.
To complete his bench at the weekend, Howe had to name three goalkeepers and a lot of adolescents.
The thrashing of the French champions in their first home Champions League encounter in two decades appeared to be a declaration of purpose from a rising European football force.
Newcastle hope to emulate Manchester City as a state-backed project capable of dominating English football and conquering Europe.
However, Howe is not yet working with a team full of superstars capable of competing with the Champions League’s best.
When Howe came over two years ago, players like captain Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar, Longstaff, Joelinton, and Miguel Almiron were fighting relegation.
City had to go through a lot of growing pains on the Champions League stage before finally capturing the Cup in June for the 12th consecutive season.
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