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Anzhi Makhachkala 0-0 Newcastle United: Player Ratings

Newcastle became the first team in the Europa League to come out out of Anzhi’s den unscathed. Guus Hiddink’s men came into the game unbeaten in 18 consecutive home games in all competitions, and with a 100% record at home in the competition itself.

A gritty performance from the men in black and white resulted in a game that was not pleasant on the eye as neither team showed much poise or quality to tilt the game on their sides, with neither the pitch nor the bitter cold whether doing any favours.

At the end of it all, Alan Pardew would come out of the happier of the two managers as the tie now hangs in the balance going into their home leg at St. James’ Park. But with no away goals to back them up, the 0-0 scoreline can always comeback to bite Newcastle.

Anzhi Makhachkala

Vladimir Gabulov (GK)- 7/10

Never was called into action on the day except for when Ben Arfa sneaked in behind the defence. It was the best chance of the game but Gabulov was on hand to keep Anzhi from falling behind in tie. The Russina international made himself big and didn’t go to ground and thus helped himself to a comfortable save from the audacious close range dink attempted by the the Frenchman.

Andrey Eshchenko (RB)- 7/10

Did well when you take into fact that he was moved from his more accustomed position of left back to make room for Zhirkov. Was often threatened by the pace of Obertan but used his experience well to keep him under tabs. Never provided much going forward.

João Carlos (CB)- 7/10

Combined with Jucilei well to smother any space for the dangerous Moussa Sissoko to operate into. With Ben Arfa playing alone up front, he wasn’t tested much aerially. Stopped Ameobi in his tracks when he was was played in on the left with a solid tackle.

Ewerton  (CB)- 7/10

Just like his partner at the heart of defence  the Brazilian was rarely tested with Hatem Ben Arfa still looking a long way from his usual sharp self.

Yuri Zhirkov (LB)- 7/10

Was never really tested by Sylvain Marveaux who failed to give the United attack any punch on the the right flank. Put in a couple of crosses in without much end result. The chest down for Eto’o’s low shot in the second was probably his biggest contribution in the match going forward.

Odil Akhmedov (CDM)- 6.5/10

Combined with Diarra to boss around the centre of the park but on the creative front there was nothing much of note from the Uzbek international.

Lassana Diarra (CDM)- 7/10

Though his passing and movement looked likely to threaten Newcastle in the final third, his influence fizzled out as the game wore on. With Willian moving out of the game and Eto’o playing off Traore, Diarra’s connection with the either of the African duo seemed lacking.

Oleg Shatov (LM)- 6/10

Set the cats among the pigeons with his early burst on the left hand side in the first quarter of an hour, but failed to produce any quality when the reached the final third. Nothing much of note for the rest of the game as he failed use his pace to any good effect.

Jucilei (CM) – 7.5/10

Probably Anzhi’s best player on the night, coming out on top most challenges that he went into and playing the ball around at ease. Looks a real prospect at only 24 years of age. Big clubs should keep a keen eye on the Brazilian.

Willian (RM)- 6.5/10

Looked really threatening early on. Played in Shatov early on and then took off on the right trying to beat Yanga-Mbiwa. The Newcastle defender stood strong and his challenge ended the night for the talented Brazilian.

S. Eto’o (FW) -7.5/10

The only real threat that Anzhi possessed in the final third. Fired in two testing shots that forced Elliot into two brilliant saves. Passes to him lacked quality and couldn’t produce much himself except the shots when forced to come deeper with the introduction of Traore.

Subs

Lacina Traore(FW): 6/10

Showed some good touches in and around the box. There were glimpses of his raw pace but struggled like others in the final with nothing much to feed on in terms of service towards him.

Rasim Tagirbekov (RB): NA

Came in late for Eschenko after the veteran looked to have strained a muscle.

Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez(CM): NA

Nothing much to show in the final few minutes as he replaced Shatov.

Newcastle United

Anji Makhachkala v Newcastle United - UEFA Europa League Round Of 16

Rob Elliot (GK): 8/10

Answered the call whenever asked to. Made two brilliant saves from two Samuel Eto’o efforts; palming one over the crossbar in the first half and then parrying it round the corner in the second when the ball looked destined for the right bottom corner.

Danny Simpson (RB): 7/10

He might not be the most skilled player around the park but he can do a job at the right back spot. His industrious nature was there to be seen in the game as he took care of all things coming his way and nothing much getting past the lad.

James Perch (CB/CDM) – 8/10

One of the best players on the pitch as he snuffed out any threatening situation and did what was expected of him. Solid in defence and then looked composed and strong on the ball as well as in challenges when asked to played in the defensive midfield role upon Steven Taylor’s introduction.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (CB) - 8.5/10

With Coloccini’s departure imminent, Newcastle may have found his replacement. Showed his class in the game with great hustle and positional sense. Cleared the danger when ball was played into the box as was evident from his timely arrival to clear Shatov’s early cross on 14 minutes. Showed his pace as well when called upon to track Willian on the right. A man of the match performance.

Massadio Haidara (LB)- 7/10

Looks like another coup for the Magpies and another pat on the back for their head scout Graham Carr. Except for the tug on Akhmedov which earned him a yellow card, the young Frenchman looked composed and at ease on the left. Wasn’t quite able to produce going forward but his future looks bright.

Vurnon Anita (CDM) – 6.5/10

Anita has been asked to play in a variety of roles this season or Newcastle without really cementing his place in the side. On this night, he was asked to provide a defensive screen in front of the back four and he did his job with due diligence. The real disappointment was the fact he could never really muster something for his side when on the ball. Indecisive in his passing and some sloppy touches resulted in a number of turnovers.

Yohan Cabaye (CM)- 7/10

The captain on the night was asked to play a more defensive role and came out of the game with his head held high as he broke up play and read the game beautifully to be on the spot, taking pre-emptive action before anything serious could build up for the home side. He wasn’t his usual self when it came to going forward but there was nothing much on in front of him to exploit.

Sylvain Marveaux (RM)- 5.5/10

Really disappointing game on the part of the Frenchman. It may have been the pitch or the Tundra-esque conditions but he never really got going. Failed to provide the Newcastle offence any width on the night and his assured touches seemed to elude him on the day.

Gabriel Obertan (LM)- 6/10

Looked time and again to break out on the left and get the better of Eshchenko but never got the final product as it happens with him on most occasions.  Poor first touches and not much energy in his movements. Looked to liven up once Ameobi came came on but his cute touches most of the time became too clever for himself as well as catching his team-mates off guard.

Moussa Sissoko (CAM)- 6.5/10

Didn’t get much space to operate in and Ben Arfa’s ineffectiveness didn’t help him out either. A subdued performance from the Frenchman when you take his recent exploits in the black  and white of Newcastle into account.

Hatem Ben Arfa (FW)- 5.5/10

Nothing much to celebrate on his 26th birthday. Was played in what seemed to reminiscent of the “False 9″ but never looked comfortable in the role  and had to come deeper and deeper to influence the game. Had a golden opportunity when played through on goal but tried to be too cute for his own good. Lacked match fitness.

Subs:

Shola Ameobi (FW)- 6.5/10

Was forced out of the line-up because of his knee problems that led to him being advised against playing on the artificial turf. Gave Newcastle a presence up front and a focal point of attack. Should have done better when played in late in the game on the left.

Steven Taylor (CB)- 6.5/10

Came in for Anita to bolster the backline. Showed his presence in the air and forced Eto’o wide when there seemed to be a break on, resulting in a weak attempt on goal by the Cameroon international.

Cheikh Tiote (CDM)- NA

Came in late to replace Yohan Cabaye. Looked useful on the ball as Newcastle dominated possession in the late goings.

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