Anzhi v Newcastle: Ben Arfa Starts
Written by Newcastle Utd
Newcastle United FC
Hatem Ben Arfa makes his first United appearance in 12 weeks as the Magpies take on Anzhi Makhachkala
By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Hatem Ben Arfa makes his first Newcastle United appearance since early December as the Magpies travel to Anzhi Makhachkala in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie on Thursday (5pm kick-off GMT).
The French international forward has been sidelined for the past 12 weeks with a hamstring complaint, but starts at the Luzhniki Stadium, in Moscow, in a strong United line-up.
Ben Arfa's inclusion is one of seven changes from Saturday's Premier League defeat at Swansea City, with the only survivors from that match in South Wales being goalkeeper Rob Elliot, centre-back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, and midfielders Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko.
On the substitutes' bench there is a place for 18-year-old striker Adam Campbell, who became the Magpies' youngest European debutant when he featured against Atromitos in the qualifying round in July.
Anzhi name former Portsmouth, Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Lassana Diarra and ex-Chelsea wide man Yuri Zhirkov in their starting line-up. They are also captained by former Barcelona and Inter Milan front man Samuel Eto'o.
Anzhi Makhachkala (4-2-3-1): Vladimir Gabulov; Andrey Eschenko, Joao Carlos, Ewerton, Yuri Zhirkov; Jucilei da Silva, Lassana Diarra; Odil Ahmedov, Willian, Oleg Shatov; Samuel Eto'o (c)
Substitutes: Evgeniy Pomazan, Rasim Tagirbekov, Arseny Logashov, Ali Gadzhibekov, Carcela-Gonzalez, Fedor Smolov, Lacina Traore
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Rob Elliot; Danny Simpson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, James Perch, Massadio Haidara; Yohan Cabaye (c), Vurnon Anita; Sylvain Marveaux, Moussa Sissoko, Gabriel Obertan; Hatem Ben Arfa
Referee: Istvan Vad (Hungary)