Can Newcastle win the Europa League?
Three games into the group stages of the Europa League and Newcastle are sitting pretty at the top of Group D – begging the question can they win the competition?
Of course, it’s early days for Alan Pardew’s men, but the Magpies are proving difficult to beat and the recent exploits of Fulham, who reached the 2010 final, should serve as inspiration for what is possible in the tournament.
A quick look at the stats makes for interesting reading.
Newcastle, who are 20/1 with Ladbrokes Sport to win Europa League, have yet to concede at home in the competition this season.
Pardew’s side have taken maximum points at St James' Park in the Europa League and are undefeated, while the United boss has also handed some of the club’s youngsters the chance to impress.
For Pardew, the objective is clear.
“We have entered this competition to win it,” he has boldly stated.
Can Newcastle win it then?
While it’s true that the Europa League is very much viewed as the second-tier competition in European football, there are still some pretty big clubs in it this season.
Fenerbahce, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Inter Milan to name just a few. And more will follow after the group stages of the Champions League ends and a couple of high-profile teams drop down into the Europa League.
Newcastle, though, have a decent team and in Demba Ba have a striker with eight goals to his name this season from 12 appearances, even if Pardew has yet to use him in the Europa League.
In truth, Newcastle haven’t needed Ba – yet! That’s likely to change if – as expected – the Magpies progress into the knockout-stages.
Will Pardew be leading Newcastle out in Amsterdam on May 14 in the final?
There’s a long way to go, but football fans have always come to expect the unexpected from the Magpies.
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