Our toughest group opponents come to St James' Park on Thursday evening for Europa League matchday two. Bordeaux thrashed Club Brugge 4-0 in their opener at home as we played out a goalless draw on the island of Madeira vs Maritimo. Whilst we fielded a heavily weakened team in Portugal (seven changes) Bordeaux went with near enough the same side that played the league games around the fixture indicating how seriously they are taking the tournament. In fact most European sides do, it only seems to be us English who play weakened teams whilst focussing on the league in order to try and qualify for Europe again next season!
Bordeaux are unbeaten in 17 games in a run stretching back to April. Their most recent fixture was a very impressive 2-0 win away to Lyon on Sunday night in Ligue 1 - Trémoulinas and Diabaté with the goals. They're in fifth place at the moment.
Bordeaux have lost their last four European games in England. There is a pattern to these results too. They lost 1-0 at Villa in '97, 2-0 at Manchester United in 2000, 3-0 at Liverpool in '06 then 4-0 at Chelsea in '08. Obviously that means we will win 5- 0, right? Unfortunately our record vs Ligue 1 clubs is not so hot. Our overall record is P11 W2 D4 L5 and we haven't won any of our last 3 vs French opposition at home.
So how will we approach the game? It sounds like the players would love to take the competition seriously.
Jonas said: "Europe is very important to us. We worked hard to get there last season and we want to do well. It means extra matches, but whatever game you are playing in the shirt of Newcastle, you want to win. You want to do it right for the club. That is the most important thing - we don't care what team we play against, or what competition we are in, we just want to do things right and win as many games as we can. That's why we are here, to try to win the games."
However, with Manchester United coming to town on Sunday it is unlikely that Pardew will field a particularly strong side no matter what the players and fans might want.
I expect the team to look something like: Elliot, Anita, Tavernier, Williamson, Perch, Bigirimana, Gosling, Marveaux, Obertan, Vuckic, Shola
I'd be surprised if he doesn't rest Santon. It's not the team I would pick, but I'm not a football manager!
This is officially our 100th game in UEFA club competitions. Our record to date stands at P99 W57 D18 L24.
In terms of links between the clubs - Gabriel Obertan began his professional career at Bordeaux and in total made 54 league appearances scoring 17 goals. Ludovica Obraniak has been a team mate of Cisse and Cabaye in the past and Matthieu Chalme also played with wor Yohan at Lille. It's unlikely either Obraniak or Chalme will get the chance to play against their old colleagues this time out. One time mackem David Bellion is also in the Bordeaux ranks.
Let me know your predictions below or on twitter @MarcSDuffy
AssociatedJonas Gutierrez has experienced the atmosphere of a local derby before