Newcastle United head to Bordeaux having already qualified for the knock-out stages of the Europa League, giving Alan Pardew the perfect excuse to leave many of his first-team squad at home, with one eye on next Monday’s Premier League trip to Fulham.
Top scorer Demba Ba has remained on Tyneside, while Davide Santon and Cheick Tiote have also been rested for the game, which sees Newcastle ranked as outsiders with odds of 15/4.
An unfamiliar Toon Army could line up at the Stade Jacques Chaban-Delmas, with Pardew expected to give as many as six academy graduates a run-out in the game, which will determine who finishes top of the group.
The burden could fall on stars such as Sammy Amoebi, who has so far impressed in the group stages of the competition and is available at 11/4 for an any time strike.
“Europe has been enjoyable. It’s not the same as the Premier League but it’s a tough competition and great for experience,” the big front man told the Daily Mail.
“We’ve played against different types of football and that sort of thing just pushes you on.”
Another man looking for goals is Senegalese star Papiss Cisse, who will start on the bench but could be one to back at 15/2 to score the last goal of the game – as he did when these two sides met at St James’ Park.
One other player to watch is Sylvain Marveaux. Blighted by injury for much of his time with the club so far, the midfielder found the net in the club’s last Europa League game against Maritimo and is a 4/1 chance to repeat the trick in France.
While Newcastle are lengthy outsiders for the win – Bordeaux are the strong 7/10 favourites – the draw arguably looks the pick of the 3Way options at 27/10, with the Magpies enduring stalemates in their previous two Europa League group encounters.
Defensively, the Toon Army remain a difficult nut to crack as they have kept clean sheets in four of their last six European encounters and you can get odds of 21/20 on Bordeaux drawing a blank in the first 45 minutes here.
However, Bordeaux head into this game in decent form, having picked up 1-0 victories in three of their last four home matches, with odds of 23/4 available for another single-goal triumph.
Considering these statistics, a low-scoring encounter appears likely and with Bordeaux’s supporting cast arguably looking stronger than Newcastle’s rag-tag bunch of fringe players and academy graduates, backing the French side to win a game of under 3.5 goals at 13/10 is the way to go here.
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