Mon 2 Oct 2023, 15:38 · NUFCFEED

1998 World Cup winner says PSG could get "smashed" at St. James' Park

1998 World Cup winner says PSG could get "smashed" at St. James' Park
Clive Brunskill/Allsport
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1998 World Cup-winning defender and former Chelsea player Frank Leboeuf has forecast a tumultuous evening for Paris Saint-Germain when they come to St. James’ Park on Wednesday in Group F of the 2023/24 Champions League. (We'd never tire of writing that.)

The big defender never found it easy on Tyneside

Drawing from his experience at the "cathedral on the hill" during his tenure with the Blues, Leboeuf anticipates an electrifying atmosphere on Tyneside for the game, remarking:

"They're going to find a great atmosphere at St. James' Park—I experienced it and it was never easy. There'll be 52,000 in black and white cheering Newcastle on."

While there won't quite be 52,000 in "black and white", we understand what Leboeuf means and expect the 49,000 or so Geordies inside the ground on Wednesday to be at their absolute loudest.

Newcastle have to harness the energy of the crowd

Leboeuf also stressed the importance of the home advantage and Eddie Howe's men energising the Geordie supporters, many of whom will be witnessing Champions League football for the first time in the flesh:

"Newcastle are at their best when they play like the old-fashioned English sides: long-balls, pressing, and fighting spirit. With 52,000 crazy Geordies backing them up, PSG need to stay focused or they'll get smashed.

If Luis Enrique and PSG cope with the first 15 minutes, then they can reverse the momentum, but it's going to be hell for the early stages. If Newcastle start well and score early on, I can see PSG losing it. However, I think that's the only way Newcastle can win."

PSG to welcome a true superstar back into their lineup

Despite the challenging environment predicted by Leboeuf, PSG should find some relief with the return of their star player, and arguably the best player in the men's game today, Kylian Mbappé.

After limping off against Marseille due to an ankle injury, the French forward rejoined the first team, though he failed to turn the tide in PSG's disappointing 0-0 draw with Clermont Foot at the weekend.

It'll be interesting to see if he's able to get any change out of a Newcastle defence that has now kept five consecutive clean sheets.