The first of this season’s Champions League games takes place at the San Siro with Newcastle back in the competition against Milan after an absence of over two decades.
Eddie Howe’s side are a long way from the finished article at present, but their presence back at the top table of European football shows how far they’ve come in such a short space of time.
It wasn’t so long ago that the club were languishing in 19th place in the Premier League under Steve Bruce, with owner Mike Ashley running the organisation into the ground.
Fortunately, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) picked up the baton, and the Magpies continue to go from strength to strength.
Mags in Milan. ?
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) September 19, 2023
Much will be expected of Sandro Tonali who makes an immediate return to the club who sold him in the summer.
He’ll be joined in midfield by Sean Longstaff – Joelinton is out for a few weeks – and Bruno Guimaraes, whilst up front Howe has pace, power and creativity in Jacob Murphy, Anthony Gordon and Alexander Isak.
At the back Nick Pope starts in goal as usual, and he’ll be marshalling an experienced defence of Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Sven Botman and Dan Burn.
A decent performance at this early stage isn’t necessarily a necessity, but Howe will surely want his team to play in the manner that he knows they’re capable of whilst also bringing the points back to St. James’ Park.