In less than two weeks, after their victory at St James' Park against PSG (4-1), the Magpies will head to Parc des Princes for the fifth Champions League match on November 28. However, the English team isn't reveling in the euphoria of their win against Parisians and currently finds themselves in dire straits. Their recent situation isn't just a consequence of losing their last two European matches against Dortmund but is exacerbated by a spate of injuries.
The Newcastle-Bournemouth fixture, their final game before the international break, encapsulates the challenges currently faced by the Magpies: a 2-0 loss against a team with only six points before facing them, fielding a squad decimated by nine injured players, and their forward Miguel Almiron leaving the field due to injury within the first half-hour.
Of the fourteen players involved in the PSG first-leg encounter (4-1), only... five are currently fit and theoretically available: goalkeeper Nick Pope, right-back Kieran Trippier, center-back Jamaal Lascelles, midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, and winger Anthony Gordon. In essence, the other nine participants are sidelined to varying degrees of injury. Five players are definitively ruled out of the PSG vs. Newcastle return match on November 28, including two starters from the first leg.
Midfielder Sandro Tonali, suspended for ten months until the season's end due to illegal sports betting, won't be present, along with left-back Dan Burn, sidelined with a back injury until 2024. Additionally, two substitutes, left-back Matt Targett (thigh) and winger Jacob Murphy (groin), won't be available. Javier Manquillo, the team's third-choice left-back, is injured and is also excluded from the Champions League squad.
Missing from the first-leg match, winger Harvey Barnes and striker Callum Wilson are unlikely to feature in the return match. Wilson, Isak's substitute, is expected to be sidelined for six weeks, while Barnes won't return for at least a month. Furthermore, center-back Sven Botman, absent since late September due to a knee injury, won't recover in time. Lastly, substitute winger Eliott Anderson is not expected back until December. In total, nine players are already ruled out for the PSG vs. Newcastle clash, primarily affecting defense and attack.
Summary of absentees for PSG vs. Newcastle:
- Dan Burn (left-back), Matt Targett (left-back), Sven Botman (center-back) + Javier Manquillo (right or left-back).
- Sandro Tonali (midfielder).
- Callum Wilson (striker), Jacob Murphy (right winger), Harvey Barnes (left winger), Eliott Anderson (left winger).
Some expected returns, but new doubts arise
And the list of absentees isn't finalized yet. Center-back Fabian Schar, on national team duty with Switzerland, has adductor problems and had to withdraw from the first match after overexertion with Newcastle. NUFC will need to manage the last goal scorer from the first leg. Meanwhile, midfielder Sean Longstaff, the third scorer in that game, has ankle issues and is doubtful for the first match post-break, as reported by the Telegraph.
The only silver lining for the Magpies is that the injuries to Miguel Almiron and Alexander Isak likely won't be long-term. The Paraguayan, dealing with a thigh issue, will only miss his national team's matches during this break, while the Swede, injured in the hip and absent in Newcastle's last five games, is "expected to return after the international break," according to a recent statement by the English medical team. However, he will only have one match, against Chelsea, to regain his rhythm.
Compared to the first leg, Newcastle might have some previously injured players available, including Brazilian international midfielder Joelinton. Therefore, it will be crucial to monitor the players Eddie Howe uses in the clash against Chelsea on November 25, just three days before the showdown at Parc des Princes.
Newcastle's predicted lineup vs. PSG: Pope - Livramento, Lascelles, Schar, Trippier - Longstaff, Guimaraes, Joelinton - Almiron, Isak, Gordon.