Metalist Kharkiv: A guide for Alan Pardew (and the rest of us)

Posted on December 21st, 2012 | 33 Comments |

Metalist's Brazilian wing wizard, Taison.
Metalist's Brazilian Benny, Taison.
With the news that Newcastle United will be facing Metalist Kharkiv over two legs in the the next round of our Europa League campaign, I thought it might be a good idea to probe this side from the north east of Ukraine.

Going on what Alan Pardew said when he was interviewed about the draw, he seems to know buggerall about them. When probed on how much he know about Metalist, he replied:

“Not much really”

So, Alan, you may find this helpful!

Currently fourth in the Ukrainian Premier Liga (behind Shakhtar Donetsk, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Dynamo Kyiv), they finished third last season as they have for the last six seasons, always behind the big two Ukrainian giants, Dynamo Kyiv and Shaktar Donetsk.

Roughly, they are strong side who are more or less on the same kind of level as our toughest opponents in the group stage, Girondins de Bordeaux, who we beat 3-0 at home and lost to 2-0 at their place.

Metalist are one of the oldest teams in the Ukraine. Though they were only formed in 1925, that IS old over there. Dynamo Kyiv were only formed in 1927 and Shaktar Donetsk even later in 1936. However, unlike their younger rivals who have both won many, many trophies, they only have one solitary Soviet Cup to show for all their efforts, which was won in 1988. The club has definitely been on the up for them however since they were taken over by the rather sinister looking policeman turned billionaire oligarch, Oleksandr Yaroslavsky, who is one of the richest men in the Ukraine. Hence, the club now in a very good position to upset the traditional duopoly at the top of Ukrainian football.

They are in the last 32 of the Europa League thanks to topping their Group K table with 13 points, the same as second placed side Bayer Leverkusen. Below, you can see how their table ended in the final reckoning, along with our Group D table to refresh your memories.

Group K table.

UEFA Europa League Group K.
Group D table.

UEFA Europa League Group D.
Danger men.

Thanks to Yaroslavsky’s significant investment in the club, they have a strong compliment of South American players from Brazil and Argentina to add to the Ulrainian talent at the club, including one or two fairly experienced Argentianian Internationals such as 27 year old José Sosa (17 full International caps for Argentina) and Juan Manuel Torres (also 27 with 14 full International caps).

Their top goalscorers so far this season are Argentinian striker Jonathan Cristaldo with a total of 12 goals in 24 appearences (including 3 in 8 in the Europa League). Secondly there is dangerous Brazilian attacking midfielder Cleiton Xavier, whao has also scored 12 goals (in 25 appearences) in all competitions. In the Europa League though, he has scored 5 goals in only 7 appearences. He has also provided 5 assists so far for Metalist too, though their leading goalmakers so far are the above mentioned Argentinian winger, José Sosa, and Brazilian winger Marlos, who both have 7 assists.

Perhaps their star player though is another Brazilian, 24 year old left winger, Taison, who Metalist signed for a mighty €16.3 million (about £13.3 million at current exchange rates) in 2010. He was also linked with Chelsea and is their Ben Arfa, ie a winger who can also play as a forward with great control and the ability to dribble for fun whilst both making and scoring goals. Since he was signed from Brazilian side Internacional, he has scored 20 goals in 83 appearences, providing no fewer than 35 assists, which is alot. This season so far, he has scored 4 goals in 20 appearences with 6 assists. At the bottom you can see three videos of the exceptional young Brazilian maestro in action.

Metalist’s Head Coach.

Metalist Kharkiv's Head Coach, Myron Markevych.
Metalist Kharkiv's Head Coach, Myron Markevych.

Last but not least of course there is Metalist’s Head Coach, the highly experienced 61-year-old, Myron Markevych. Markevych has managed a fair few Ukrainian clubs, and one or two Russian ones too. He is also an ex manager of the Ukrainian national side, a position he held between two stints managing Metalist, the second stint being the current one.

Below is what “fourfourtwo” magazine had to say about Markevych in February 2012:

“The other key figure central to Metalist’s success is their manager, Myron Markevych. He has spent time shadowing Fabio Capello, Carlo Ancelotti and Christophe Daum and their expertise has clearly rubbed off on him. An erudite and intelligent man fluent in several languages, Markevych is arguably the best Ukrainian coach around at the moment with over 500 Premier League matches under his belt.

“The 61-year-old has Metalist playing an aesthetically pleasing, fluid style of football with more than a hint of South American flair to it, much like Shakhtar. Five Argentinians started the match in Austria with another on the bench, while Metalist also have a quintet of Brazilians on their books.”


The Metalist Oblast Sports Complex, Kharkiv.
The Metalist Oblast Sports Complex, Kharkiv.

Metalist play at the 40,003 capacity “Metalist Oblast Sports Complex,” or to give it it’s more usual name, simply the “Metallist Stadium.” Originally built in 1925-6, it has undergone four large renovations, and is hardly recognizable from the original stadium. The most extensive for probably for the 2012 European Championships, where a whole new stand and roof were constructed. As you can see from the photo above, it seems as if it would be very nice, if it wasn’t one of those awful football stadiums with a running track around the pitch which ruins everything!


Apologies for rounding up this profile on a rather sour note, but racism is one thing which could be a big problem in this game. Ukraine is one of the least civilised countries in Europe in this respect, so don’t be surprised if there are monkey chants and so on whenever player like Ba, Cisse, Tiote or one of the other Africans are on the ball when we play the second leg, as well as missiles and so on. I would also recommend that any Toon fans from ethnic minorities DO NOT travel to this rather primitive and unenlightened part of the world either. In the video of Metalist Kharkiv fans below, you can see why.

Videos of top Metalist signing, Taison.

UEFA video about Taison and Metalist Kharkiv.

Taison Barcellos Freda – The genius from Kharkiv.

Taison vs Van Basten.


NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1091 articles on this blog.

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33 Responses

  1. sirjasontoon says:
    December 21, 2012 at 8:52 am

    “Have a good Xmas Worky…off upto the Toon this Sunday for the Holidays with the family.”

    Cheers SJT, a happy Christmas to you too, and a happy Christmas to Belfast Toon and everyone else too.

    Now for an announcement:

    Something’s come up and I’m going to Hertford to see my friends playing a Christmas gig tomorrow, and I need some time off anyway to sort out Christmas in general. This means there won’t be a match preview for the QPR game, but I will get a match banter thing sorted out for it.

  2. Cheers Worky…this might be Pardew’s last match.
    BIG RON is packing his Sondico satchel as we speak :lol:

  3. Merry Christmas, all!

    That said, I’m having trouble looking ahead to this match, considering it looks like we’re going to let 11 of our 19 league goals walk out the door next month.

  4. Yes, Merry Christmas.

    It will be the battle of the Gobshites. A race to tell us first whose squad is down to the barest bones.

    I see Mr. Motivator is at it again telling Cisse he is out of the team if he doesn’t score soon. Threatening him with replacing him with Shola who can never string more than 2 games together uninjured but has admittedly played a role as an impact sub recently.

    It might be better to give the lad a bit of positive reinforcement since we are very likely to lose Ba soon.

  5. Been reading some of the proposed buys, we are looking at.
    Seems Remy is almost a done deal, but may be hoping for a bid from Spurs.
    Debuchy is another expected, as is Sissoko.
    All good players who would be an asset to any side.
    However only one is a defender.
    Yeah possibly Sissoko could play on the back line, but why another midfielder, it’s a couple of decent CD’s we need.
    I would like to see someone, a young replacemen who can eventually replace Colo, like a Douglas or Alderweireld.
    We can pick up a veteran from somewhere for a season or two, who can fill in at times.
    But our defence is the problem, having to use people like Williamson and Perch in a CD role is just not good enough and buying more midfielders just does’nt make sense.
    Debuchy for Simpson, sounds ok, but could we not have both ?
    Looks like Simpson is going to run out his(lowball)contract.
    Would it not be better to give him a two year contract at what he’s asking, than lose him for nothing, when his transfer worth would more than pay for any increase in wages.
    Has this got to do with Ashleys Salary Cap fixation, the same reason he will lose money on Ba, in what appears to be an equally bad deal.
    A top goalscorer and a good midfielder (never given a chance by Pardew) for a centerforward who spends more time on the bench than in the side.
    Yeah Ba’s gotta a bum knee, we know, but you cant argue with his production.
    Also the fact Cisse is young, fit, and they dont want to admit they made a mistake, so get rid of Ba and everything will be ok, right!
    What about Remy, is he gonna fit into a back to the future 4-4-2 ?
    None of these flair players are happy with route one, plus most of them see NUFC as a shopwindow, where they can go on to bigger and better things.
    And put up with a style of football, that is seldom seen anywhere, apart from BSA’s and Pulis’s teams.
    But at least they are successfull and can vary the way they do it.
    It aint easy being a Newcastle fan!

  6. chuck says:
    December 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    “Been reading some of the proposed buys, we are looking at.
    Seems Remy is almost a done deal, but may be hoping for a bid from Spurs.”

    Chuck, Marseille president, Vincent Labrune says:

    “I’m not looking for a way out for Loic. I like him, and I know his potential. Our finances are healthy.

    “I don’t have to sell this winter, we’re in a position to buy one or two players to help continue the best start to a season the club has made in nearly 20 years.”

  7. There is no chance Debuchy is coming. I don’t believe it for a second. Maybe there’s something to Sissoko. Is he available at a knock-down price? Maybe he’s injured? Out of form? Has an expiring contract? Or a release clause?

    Loic Remy, who frankly has never blown me away, has one goal to his name this season…

    …rumor has it we’re set to pay more for him than we did for Cisse…

    …and expect him to replace the second-leading goalscorer in the league…

    …who looks likely to go to a club in fourth place whose supporters aggressively accuse of having no ambition.

  8. chuck-thing is, BSA and Pulis are actually good at it. They do it ugly, but their sides consistently punch above their weight. They’re willing to demand their front offices get players suited to that system. AP’s tactics have reduced our squad to less than the sum of its parts: mainly fancy-passing continentals supplied by a front office who I’m sure have no idea what tactics AP plays.

  9. To expand on that last one: I’m a bit perplexed about Carr’s role these days.

    Does he not realize that the players he’s identified do not at all fit with the tactics preferred by the manager? I’m not calling him out, I’d like to hear how he’d respond to such a question.

  10. If we don’t win our next game, get beaten by Man U and Arsenal, slide into the relegation zone as the man who has scored 11 of our 19 Premiership goals leaves, which ambitious young players are going to want to drop everything and come and join Newcastle United in it’s death spiral? Which forward is going to want to step into Ba’s shoes, and all the rest when it might take a bit of time for them to settle in?

  11. tunyc says:
    December 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    “chuck-thing is, BSA and Pulis are actually good at it. They do it ugly, but their sides consistently punch above their weight. They’re willing to demand their front offices get players suited to that system.”

    tunyc, Chuck, I’ve noticed that Pulis and Fat Sam have actually been toning down the long balls a bit this season. As Pardew’s long balls have been going up, Pulis’s and Fat Sam’s have been coming down. I’m not saying that they’re Arsene Wenger yet (the manager with the shortest balls of all) but the change is there and measureable nonetheless.

    If Pardew continues with his long balls, he may find that he’s the only left.

  12. tunyc
    Yes of course that was my point, both Sam and Pulis do what they do well, but then, i dont see any HBA’s in either’s lineups.

    Though i have to admit Big Sam has played some interesting games, as Workey mentioned, playing at times a short passing game.

    Perhaps something the Hammers fans demand, as it’s my opinion W/Ham have for the most part played an attractive style of football, in the past.

    But like yourselves, i’m puzzled by a route one manager buying players with both technique and flair, then using them to play a direct style.

    Which raises the question, who choses the players who come in, Pardew ? or Carr ?, though i’m sure the final word is Ashleys.
    Hopefully Llambias is out of the decision making, but still it’s obvious all three can’t be on the same page.

    Have i been reading the wrong football news, because every one and his brother appear convinced Ba. is off and Remy is as good as signed as his replacement.

    The only argument in favor of this deal is Remy does’nt dissapear each or every two years to play in the African championships plus he’s a proven goalscorer, without a bum knee, though it’s said he has a dodgy heart.
    Ah well cant have it all.

    Whether he and Cisse can play together remains to be seen,
    Then again, why all the fuss about a center forward, what we need desperately are defenders ffs.

    Alderweireld or Douglas please and of course Debuchy.

  13. tunyc says:
    December 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    “To expand on that last one: I’m a bit perplexed about Carr’s role these days.

    Does he not realize that the players he’s identified do not at all fit with the tactics preferred by the manager?”

    tunyc, just to run it by you again ;-), his job is to find cheaper, younger players with potential who will hopefully increase in value greatly when they are shown off in the Premiership. I would imagine that Ashley and Llambias would expect Pardew to fit in with that, rather than Carr fitting in with Pardew. You can tell by the roll call of Ashley’s previous managers (and how they’ve been treated) how much importance has been attached to that role in the grand scheme of things.

  14. You don’t see any HBAs because Big Sam has the stones to tell his front office money spent on such a player would be wasted.

    I doubt AP says much more to Dekka & Big Mike other than “Sir, yes sir!”

  15. I hear you worky, but wouldn’t it actually work better to look for up-and-coming target men and sideline-hugging, cross-producing wide midfielders? Yet we miss out on Assaidi for 3M? Said it before: HBA goes to an Arsenal-type set up and you’ll see how good he ACTUALLY is, and will become a 20M-rated player.

    chuck-as for the Ba v Remy thing, for a club in a relegation fight like us, only one stat is relevant: Ba has 11 goals THIS SEASON, Remy has 1 and spends most of his time on the bench. If that’s the swap we’re going for, our defense better get a whoooooole lot better.

  16. Workey
    Just caought your last piece.
    I take it that Ashley looks at NUFC, pretty much the same as Sports Direct, just another money maker.
    And that he thinks he has discovered the ideal way to operate a football club.
    We are all aware, about buying young players identified as future stars, cheaply, signing them to long term contracts and if an attractive offer comes in for them, grab it and repeat the process.
    Also by keeping expensis at a low a level as possible,
    (watch your ass tea lady) by use of a salary cap.
    Possibly why two good players are on their way, Ba and Simpson.
    Sounds like a likely plan, but things are not that simple, one has to survive in the PL in order to reap the revenues generated by Tv.
    And in order to survive you have to have a top level of football savvy people, a GM and a Manager, who understand whats required.
    A chief scout who susses out the best young talent, who then sign to play under a clueless tactician, who does’nt know how to utilise their talents.
    So whats the answer here, as i stated, nothing wrong with the plan, it’s making it work that counts.
    Which means if we intend to keep Pardew for the next eight years, then we should sell most of the team and bring in a bunch of six foot plus guys, who can wellie it up into the box and hack the opposition down.
    Because if you are waiting to see Pardew play a pleasing style of passing football, it will take more time than he’s got on this contract.

  17. But tunyc, aren’t you looking at it the wrong way ’round? The problem isn’t that Carr is getting the wrong players for Pardew, but that Llambias, who knows less than nothing about football according to Keegan and everyone else, has made another awful decision in bringing Pardew in.

    Forget about this fifth business and the manager of the year awards. Managers such as Frank Clark, Peter Reid, Danny Wilson, Dave Jones, George Burley and Steve Coppell have all done exactly the same thing before crashing and burning. Add Alan Pardew to that list and if you were in Ashley and Llambias’ position, are there any of thise managers who you would bring in today?

  18. chuck says:
    December 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    “So whats the answer here, as i stated, nothing wrong with the plan, it’s making it work that counts.
    Which means if we intend to keep Pardew for the next eight years, then we should sell most of the team and bring in a bunch of six foot plus guys, who can wellie it up into the box and hack the opposition down.”

    But then that wouldn’t be the plan surely Chuck? Don’t they want to sell on highly accomplished technical players for tens of millions to the likes of Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real, Milan, PSG etc rather than big lumps to teams like Stoke?

    Or are you just trying to be ironic? ;-)

  19. i dont think mike ashley wants what we would call a manager, in the classic sense, of the word.
    a manager thinks for himself, picks his own players, he wants to recruit, and more or less runs it, in his own way.

    i think it has been evident from day one, that ashley doesn’t want someone knocking on his door, asking for money for players.
    regardless of what the “silver supremo” says, about doing that very thing.

    he wants to control the whole situation regarding recruitment, day to day running of the team.
    imo there is no real plan behind it, like some of the more gullible fans, are continually told.
    the whole so called continental system, he has in place, is only there to suit him, and create a buffer, between him and the rest of the staff.
    it’s kind of like russian dolls, where one is inside of the other, or like a pyramid system, with ashley at the top, and the further down you go, the less each person, knows what’s happening.
    like many have mentioned before, ashley’s primary concern is to use the football club, as a vehicle to promote sports direct, using st james’ park, as a giant billboard.
    any interest he has in this football club, is casual at best, and as pardew has stated, on more than one occassion, “you have to keep mike motivated”, hardly the actions of a bloke with a vision, is it.

    mike ashley is only ever interested in the club, when it isn’t costing him anything, and we are winning a few games, then you get the puffed out chests, and empty rhetoric.
    this place was only ever meant to be an oasis of calm, at the weekends, which is a world away from the cut throat world of retail.
    a place where he could act the big man, and entertain his sychophants, and buy a few drinks for the local yokels, who after all, should be eternally grateful to him, for saving their club.
    he thought he could get away with anything, after that.
    infact i dont think he was intending to keep the club for long,as there were stories doing the rounds, about him trying to punt the club on to an american firm or consortium, for over 400 million.

    it was when he realised the state of the finances, that his plan cheapo, came into effect, and he has made more cuts, than the tories.
    all he’s bothered about is using the pitch of st james’, as a kind of shop window, so rival clubs, can see the wares on display.
    we’ve all heard his so called mantra, about signing younger players, with a sell on value.
    he tries to tell everyone, it’s for the good of the club, yeah right, the bloke only ever does what’s good for him.

    i’m sick of hearing from your average “ashley apologist”, how well he’s running the club etc.
    this so called five year plan of his, is utter cobblers.
    this football club under mike ashley’s stewardship, is now embarking upon it’s third relegation battle, since he’s been at the helm.

    if ashley was ever serious about running a successful football club, then why didn’t he employ the people with the skills to do it?
    instead of employing his mates, and any other hangers on.

    if ashley wants graeme carr to unearth gems of the future, albeit, “cheap as chips”, and they are all kids who can play football.
    then why would you hire a bloke who most people in football know, is a kick and rush, come long ball merchant?
    if it was the bingo caller llambias’s idea, then he shouldn’t be in his post for a start.

    the whole thing stinks to high heaven, and i cannot see the situation improving, with these clowns, at the tiller.

  20. Irony moi?
    Hmm ! are we all on the same page in relation to Pardew ?
    Certainly seems that way.
    My question is, why would Ashley hire a manager with a questionable history, someone who has been fired from most jobs he’s had.
    Someone who has had little or no success as a manager.
    To implement his plan of buying young prospects, with the expectations of becoming stars.
    Then flogging them on for a big profit.
    Basic retail business, not unlike Sports Direct.

    In the early stages, we bought very young players, you know them all, few of who are still on the clubs payroll.
    Then there was a change of plan, lets buy those proven young players, Albeid, Amalfitano,etc.

    We are now at the stage where we are in the market for established players.
    But they must be of a certain age and price.

    The emphasis is obviously on, what can we get for this guy down the road.

    Hey players and their agents are not dumb, even Loic Remy who has yet to be signed, appears to be looking at Newcastle united as a Shop window where he spends one or two seasons and move up the food chain.

    Meanwhile we stay (hopefully in the PL) picking up the rewards of membership, but not really achieving anything

    I’m guessing thats the plan.
    However it takes a decent manager to mould these players into a coherent group, certainly not a loser like Pardew.
    If this is not apparent at this time to Ashley, then what can i say ?

  21. Chuck:

    The best case scenario is that we do not implode. It is not impossible for us to get points from Man U, Arsenal and Everton.

    Then, hopefully we get an injection of new blood in January along with the return of Ben Arfa and Cabaye and possibly Taylor.

    Pardew must then switch his long ball tactics to 1. win us a few games, and 2. be more entertaining.

    I am still not as doom and gloom as some on Pardew but I really don’t like his smarmy blather and for that reason alone wouldn’t mind if he goes.

    What should happen though is that a similar standard is applied as was to Hughton, so if we finish lower mid-table then we will have underachieved and he should be sacked (Hughton was sacked because he wouldn’t be able to take us to the next level so he was deemed to have underachieved without being given the chance :) ) The other precedent for this is Dalglish at Liverpool.

    Still, we have a good chance to get a win against QPR to at least ease some of the pressure and give us a good start to the daunting Christmas fixtures.

  22. GS says:
    December 22, 2012 at 9:20 am

    “What should happen though is that a similar standard is applied as was to Hughton, so if we finish lower mid-table then we will have underachieved and he should be sacked (Hughton was sacked because he wouldn’t be able to take us to the next level so he was deemed to have underachieved without being given the chance :) ) The other precedent for this is Dalglish at Liverpool.”

    It’s not quite that simple GS as the squad keeps changing. When Hughton was sacked we were something like 11th. We should have finished that season about 11th or 12th and we did. The season after that we should have been about 7th or 8th and we were 5th (well done). I’m not saying that is precise either but there have been definite improvements in the squad. There’a also injuries too but then again, some managers seem to manage injuries better than others. Pardew seems to get alot of groin strains but I’m not sure.

    At the moment, Hughton’s side should be in the relegation zone but they should have been under Lambert too. Compared with Newcastle their budget is very small.

  23. Worky as they love to say in economics ceteris paribus, but we all know the world doesn’t work like that.

    Keeping my fingers crossed today as we need a few results to go our way. Arsenal just got a dodgy penalty.

  24. GS says:
    December 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    “Worky as they love to say in economics ceteris paribus.”

    You could have translated it for those who didn’t do Latin at school. Isn’t it “All things being equal?”