Champions League football returns to St James Park on Wednesday evening, when they welcome the French champions, PSG. The city of Newcastle will be buzzing ahead of the fixture and we should witness a high octane affair from the first whistle.
Three wins in the space of a week has given Newcastle a huge confidence boost ahead of this week’s game. Howe’s team destroyed Sheffield United 8-0, knocked Manchester City out of the EFL Cup with a 1-0 win and confidently breezed past Burnley with a 2-0 victory. Those results now make it five clean sheets in a row for the Magpies and they will look to frustrate the PSG superstars.
The Magpies started their UCL campaign in Italy, where they held Milan to a respectable 0-0 draw. It is fair to say that Newcastle rode their luck throughout most of the game, with the hosts racking up 25 shots and an XG of 1.99. Nick Pope kept his side in the game with an impressive eight saves, and the backline chipped in by putting their body on the line, multiple times. Howe’s side struggled to create in attack and given how the game went, they should be thrilled with a point.
PSG have struggled to adapt to Luis Enrique’s demands and philosophy so far this season and at times, attacking sequences haven’t clicked. The common theme thus far is that PSG struggle against clubs that are happy to endure long spells without the ball, sit in a low block and counter attack. The 0-0 draw versus Lorient, 1-1 draw against Toulouse and last weekend’s 0-0 draw away to Clermont serve as evidence. However, when they face sides that leave spaces, they tend to exploit them with pace and flair. This season is a transition period for the French club.
In their UCL opener, Enrique’s men won 2-0 at home versus Borussia Dortmund. It was a rather controlled, convincing victory but it did take a 49th minute Kylian Mbappe penalty to break the deadlock. Achraf Hakimi doubled their lead around ten minutes later and despite the German clubs pressure, Gianluigi Donnarumma ended the game with a clean sheet.
As mentioned, Newcastle will attempt to disrupt the technical players of PSG in any way possible which could lead to a feisty tie. If the hosts are to get anything out of the game, they may need to adopt a more conservative approach, but that doesn’t match the Newcastle way of playing. We should see goals in this game.
The final prediction is Newcastle 1-2 PSG, with a result for the Parisians priced at 13/8.