Newcastle vs. Metalist Kharkiv, 2013 UEFA Europa League draw: Oh, poor Magpies

Stu Forster

Too bad FIFA outlawed snoods. Newcastle could use them when they travel to Ukraine in February.

Congratulations, Newcastle. You managed to pick up one of the crappiest draws possible in Europa League. Metalist Kharkiv's South American stars are starting to gel after a couple of years together, and it's a bit chilly in Kharkiv in February. Newcastle will have to travel over 2,500 kilometers to play in bone-chilling weather. Have fun with that, dudes!

Player to watch

Cleiton Xavier - Out of Metalist's huge contingent of South American attacking talent, Cleiton Xavier is probably the most impactful. The 29-year-old veteran has overshadowed Jose Sosa and Taison this season with seven goals domestically and five goals in the Europa League. He'll be tough for the Newcastle midfield to keep a handle on.

Key matchup

Newcastle's strikers vs. Metalist's defense - While Metalist has a lot of talent in attack and midfield, their defense is a bit lackluster. That's not to say that it's poor, but it's certainly susceptible to getting run over by guys with the talent of Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba. Assuming that Alan Pardew plays his best strikers and doesn't sell Ba in January, the Magpies should be able to score.

Prediction

Penalties - Predicting that a team will win on penalties is silly, so this isn't a cop-out. There isn't much separating these two teams, and they very well could be even after 210 minutes of football.

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