Newcastle will be looking to build on their biggest-ever win in the Champions League by taking on the French champions on their home turf. Here is a preview
Paris Saint-Germain have revenge on their minds when they host Newcastle United at the elegant Parc des Princes on the fifth matchday of the UEFA Champions League group campaign.
The Magpies secured a win for the ages when goals from Miguel Almiron, Dan Burn, Sean Longstaff and Fabian Schar sealed an outstanding 4-1 victory at St. James' Park.
The Parisians struggled to threaten as they were sluggish in the final third despite boss Luis Enrique starting Kylian Mbappe as part of a front-four which included Ousmane Dembele, Randal Kolo Muani and Goncalo Ramos. Yet, Newcastle limited the World Cup winner to only one shot on target in a subdued display for the visitors.
PSG’s 4-2-4 system left them outnumbered in midfield without a link player to the attack, which meant the Englishmen devastatingly overran them.
They will have licked their wounds and learnt their lessons before this game. Perhaps it could even be a decider in this campaign’s Group of Death.
The Luis Enrique tenure started slowly as PSG drew their first two games of the Ligue 1 season against Lorient and Toulouse. A 3-1 defeat of RC Lens proved a sign of things to come as they went on a five-game winning run that included games against Olympique Lyonnais, OGC Nice, Borussia Dortmund and Olympique Marseille.
Although Clermont Foot got a goalless draw before the first leg against Newcastle, PSG bounced back from the disappointment with Vitinha, Achraf Hakimi and Randal Kolo Muani scoring in a 3-1 victory at Rennes.
While they were out of sorts on Tyneside, the French side will be a different proposition going into this game as they will have faced a double-header against AC Milan.
Enrique will likely revert to his usual 4-3-3 system, which could open the game up for the hosts looking to impose their experience in this competition.
This is a low-pressure situation for the Geordies as they take on the Parisians with nothing to lose but everything to gain.
Newcastle have been transformed since being taken over by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, and while they did not choose to spend heavily on flashy superstars like PSG, the win was a quiet dismissal of their project at St. James’ Park.
After achieving a return to the premier competition in European football, Eddie Howe is having to manage lofty expectations this term, which they kicked off with a sensational 5-1 win against Aston Villa.
Successive defeats to Manchester City, Liverpool and Brighton subdued the mood a little bit, but since the September international break, Newcastle kept five consecutive clean sheets, most notably away at AC Milan, in the 8-0 demolition of Sheffield United and against Man City in the Carabao Cup.
That run was topped off in October with the 4-1 victory over PSG as Newcastle went top of Group F with the dominant display in their first Champions League home game in 20 years. It doesn't get better than that, and the two decades since their last appearance in the competition would have been worth the wait.
On an emotionally charged night at St. James’ Park, Newcastle roared into a three-goal lead, with boyhood fans Dan Burn and Sean Longstaff finding the net before PSG pulled one back through Lucas Hernandez. Yet, the hosts sealed a historic win when Fabian Schar fired a cracking effort into the net.
Although the opponents planned to invite Newcastle's press to exploit the space left behind, it backfired spectacularly as the Geordies were first to every ball, roared on by emphatic supporters.
Indeed, the resilience shown by Howe’s men will stand them in good stead as they face further testing matchups like this return leg in Paris. Their ability to survive in games must be the priority.
The encounter at Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park should have prepared them for this acid test in France.
The match will be played on 28 November, with kick-off set for 9 PM UK time. The game can be watched on TV at Canal+, beIN and RMC Sport in France, while TNT Sports will televise it to the UK audience.
Nothing could ever replicate the atmosphere on UCL nights, as it is much better to take in the live action at the stadium. Hence, PSG vs Newcastle tickets have already been made available via each club's website, but Parc des Princes is set to be packed out.
Considering that their team will be playing for pride and potentially a definite qualification spot, the PSG ultras will be putting on their best display as they aim to contribute to the result, much like the Geordies fans did. Spare Newcastle tickets will be challenging to find for away supporters who may be lucky to get one on a ticket resale site.
Sergio Rico, Marco Asensio and Nuno Mendes all missed the trip to Newcastle, with the latter nursing a hamstring injury that will sideline him for several months.
Meanwhile, Hugo Etikite was not named in the Champions League squad for the first half of the season.
Even more impressive about the first-leg result is that Newcastle were without key players like Sven Botman, Callum Wilson and Joelinton through minor injuries.
Emil Krafth will be unavailable because of an ACL injury that sees him omitted from the UCL squad with Joe Willock and Harvey Barnes also out, although Willock may be back fit before they travel to PSG.
Enrique should revert to a midfield trio as he looks to control the game and break down a stubborn visiting defence. This means a return for Portugal international Vitinha in a bid to hold ball possession and combine with their fearsome forward line.
Paris Saint-Germain: Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Skriniar, Hernandez; Ugarte, Zaire-Emery, Vitinha; Dembele, Mbappe, Kolo Muani
The Magpies will field their strongest team, knowing they can match their opponents and get another result against the record French champions. An even deeper bench could be key for Newcastle, who can now call upon Callum Wilson to provide a game-changing moment.
Newcastle: Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Joelinton, Tonali, Guimaraes; Almiron, Gordon, Isak
PSG suffered their heaviest UCL group-stage defeat since a 3-0 loss against Chelsea in 2004, and they will be in no mood for surprises this time.
Nevertheless, Newcastle posed a significant threat, but the sheer quality of the Parisians could outdo them. Expect an eventful encounter.
PSG 3-1 Newcastle