Benfica vs Newcastle – Match Preview


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We would have been a lot more confident about tonight’s game against Benfica in Lisbon if Newcastle had played half-decent in our last game at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday – but we weren’t half-decent and in the first half we played just about as badly as we’ve played all season.

So the good thing is Newcastle have a lot to prove tonight, and we hope they will not start this game giving the Portuguese League leaders too much respect, as we did in that last game in Manchester.

Newcastle know all about Benfica who have a fantastic record this season – they are top of the Portuguese League with 64 points from 24 games, and remain unbeaten in the league, and they have won 10 games on the trot and their last defeat was back on Valentines Day.

Newcastle winger Yoan Gouffran had a mission to spy on Benfica when they played his former club Bordeaux, and this si what the Frenchman had to say about Benfica:

“I watched their last game in Bordeaux when they lost 3-2 in the second leg.” “Benfica are a quality team with very good players, for example Oscar Cardozo.”

“He has scored a lot of goals and is a danger – he scored twice against my old club in the second leg.” “We have to be very strong in Portugal to stop him.” “We must try not to concede. If we can get through that without conceding we can make up the difference here in Newcastle.”

“I have a lot of confidence in my team-mates. We are in with a chance. Everybody in the quarter-finals is. So we must keep going.”

But it’s a mistake to think that the Newcastle team will play like we did in that first half on Saturday, and we expect a much improved performance tonight, when we’ll have both Davide Santon and Tim Krul back in the side. But Masssadio Haidara and Cheick Tiote did not make the trip – but we hope they will be available for the important Fulham game at home in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

This is the 19 man squad Alan Pardew took to Lisbon on Tuesday afternoon – in alphabetical order:

Shola Ameobi, Vurnon Anita, Gael Bigirimana, Yohan Cabaye, Adam Campbell, Papiss Cisse, Rob Elliot, Dan Gosling, Jonas Gutierrez, Tim Krul, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, James Perch, Davide Santon, Danny Simpson, Moussa Sissoko, Steven Taylor, Mike Williamson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

Alan could have a few surprises for us in store tonight – but this could be the side that Alan Pardew starts tonight:

Krul
Simpson Taylor (S) Yanga-Mbiwa Santon
Marveuax Cabaye (c) Anita Gutierrez
Sissoko
Cisse
Subs: Elliot Bigirimana Williamson Gosling Perch Obertan Ameobi (Sh)

That’s a decent side wand we expect Danny Simpson at right back to put in a much improved performance than he gave in Manchester and also Anita puts in a tidy display in defensive midfield in place of the injured Cheick Tiote.

The Newcastle fans don’t think we’ll do too well tonight.

How Will Newcastle Fare At Benfica?

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Newcastle’s defense needs to put in a top performance tonight if we are going to get a dent result – and it would be great to score an away goal to set up for a fantastic night next Thursday night in the return at St. James’ Park, which will be a full house if the lads can get anything near a decent result tonight.

We could shock people tonight – we hope we will shock people tonight – stranger things have happened.

Howay The Lads!!

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189 comments so far

  • daztoon

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #1

    We need an away goal

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  • martoon

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Comment #2

    AndyNUFC – from last blog – There has been research linking injuries such as muscle strains to alcohol and I think this is Carroll’s problem.
    Beattie – long time no debate 🙂

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  • barkel

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #3

    If i was to pick a team for tonight I’d go with 4-2-3-1, try to keep it quite narrow because nothing really comes from the wings anyway

    Krul
    Simpson Saylor Yanga Santon
    Anita Perch
    Sissoko Marv Cabs
    Cisse
    Subs: Elliot Bigi Willo Gosling Guti Obertan Shola

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  • Transfer Sage

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #4

    daz

    agree 100%…they will score in both legs i think so its crucial we get 1 or 2 away goals.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #5

    barkel

    exactly the team i want to see tonight

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  • barkel

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #6

    Sage

    We can live in hope! I think Shola & Jonas will probably start though going by past selections

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  • Transfer Sage

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #7

    i’d also accept shola in for perch/anita/marv

    cisse and shola up top with a narrow midfield of cabaye, sissoko, marv/anita/perch

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  • Guj NUFC

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #8

    I’d deploy Moussa a little bit deeper tonight. I doubt he will get any space at all in the game.

    Krul
    Simpson Taylor Mbiwa Santon
    Cabaye Perch
    Anita Sissoko Marveaux
    Cisse

    Anita protecting Simpson. Will do 1 million times better job than Obertan did defensively and offensively. I’ve stuck with him since he’s joined but there comes a time you have to say a player just doesn’t perform as you want.

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  • daztoon

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #9

    @Transfer
    1 for sure 2 would be brilliant.Don`t mind a loss so long as we give it our best

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  • Transfer Sage

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #10

    i want cabaye as the furthest forward midfielder though…he is better than sissoko behind the forward….just sissoko is bigger/quicker which plays into pardews hand the way he has us lined up to win the longer balls/hold it up til the players catch up with us sitting deep

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  • Guj NUFC

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Comment #11

    Actually I would mind Jonas starting in midfield 3 with Cabaye and Perch, Sissoko RW Marveaux LW. Just don’t play Jonas at left back again. And I’d play Anita RB over Simpson.

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  • Guj NUFC

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #12

    Wouldn’t* mind

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  • Tsunki

    Apr 4, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #13

    Just wondering if the young Noah Ameobi’s middle name is ‘Nuther’? 😉

    Shut up shop, bus parked etc etc. I think we will lose but IF we can get an away goal I could take a 1-2 or even 1-3 loss. If we could score at theirs, we could score 2 at home I think. Optimism is the key.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #14

    tsunki

    a classic joke…can’t beat it the silly ones.

    and yeh it would be good if we got an away goal even in a 2-1 defeat

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  • Alan Pas-de-clue

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #15

    optimism epitomized ‘i would take a 1-3 loss’

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  • OhSholaAmeobi

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #16

    If simpson plays we’ll lose.

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  • Tsunki

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #17

    Alan Pas – 🙂

    GFNFrance ?@GFN_France 6h
    Mapou Yanga MBiwa: ‘I have always dreamt of playing for Manchester United, you know that. #NUFC

    Don’t you just love it when our new signings wax lyrical about being somewhere better for a change? 😐

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  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #18

    I want us to play a 4-3-3 with two deeplying CM and no ACM.

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  • martoon

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #19

    I hate slagging off our players or manager but it has to be said if Obertan starts tonight then Pardew has lost the plot!
    I’d go with barkel’s team possibly with Jonas starting instead of Marveaux and then use as sub later in the match.

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  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #20

    Tsunki…it seems they all want to play for SAF these days 🙂

    …we just need Pardew to praise them as well lol

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  • Transfer Sage

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #21

    jesper

    without a CAM we would only have cisse as a goal threat which might not be enough.

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  • toonarmydownsouth

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #22

    Jeeeeeesus there’s some chirpy people on here today!!
    2-2 tonight I reckon then we’ll finish them off at SJP!

    On the previous thread
    Ed no offence intended but why continue to run the Carroll story?
    He won’t be sold for £10 mil we won’t pay £17 mil, west ham have first dibs on him and allardyce has been spouting off lately that he wants him permantley
    Seriously forget andy Carroll ffs move on with your lives! He’s gone, he ain’t coming back!
    Oh and rotonda pardew is going nowhere, so I don’t understand the need to discuss alternative managers or his short comings all day everyday, you don’t like him fine we get that but c’mon on, every page all page every day! It’s not healthy mate

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  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Comment #23

    TS…I want the widemen deployed as inside forwards and the fullbacks as wings when we go forward; hence the two deeplying CM’s 🙂

    …Sissoko would be better as a box to box CM anyway I think?

    It is just an idea:-)

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  • Transfer Sage

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Comment #24

    tads

    a team that haven’t been beaten at home except by barcelona….we will struggle. I’d love 22 but could see us getting beat.

    as long as we score, losing by 1 isn’t too bad when we have the home leg to contend with.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Comment #25

    jesper
    i think sissoko would be better box to box…agree there.

    I think our wide men, whether used wide or more inside don’t offer a goal threat at all….so i’d like to see cabaye behind him to be another body to contend with, as well as being somebody who can finish.

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  • ichrisho

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Comment #26

    Live on Freeview on ITV4…. Nice 🙂

    We should go all out attack tonight for what have we to lose… lets just go for it like the boys in ’69…

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  • AndyNUFC

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Comment #27

    Martoon I can see that in a way. If he came back, on huge wages, nights out in Newcastle – even a knockdown fee would turn out to be a disaster.

    Anyway on tonight – they’ve got a prolific striker, but we’ve got classy CBs in Taylor and M’biwa – my biggest fear is their wingers, Salvio, Gaitan, Ola John – quick, skillful players, let’s see how Simpson copes…

    … Please god let Haidara start…

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  • ichrisho

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Comment #28

    @Martoon – … if Obertan starts tonight.. I shall eat the underpants I am wearing today as I give up!!!! He clearly doesnt wish to play so why is he even in the squad…. head-down all the time and contibutes absolutely nothing….

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  • toonarmydownsouth

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Comment #29

    Sage
    Don’t mind if we get beat, but Christ man you got to admit its depressing on here, more banter reading the obituaries!
    Over and over “thanks to pardew we’ll get smashed tonight” “why’s he saying this whys he saying that” “he’ll set up to lose before we kick a ball”
    People accuse pardew of being negative! Do they have no faith in our players to go out and put a performance in? Do they think our lads have no drive? No determination? That the players won’t be desperately looking forward to a European away night?
    It’s unbelievable reading the same amount of boring negative repetitive sh1te spouted on here
    By all means hammer the lads or pardew or the kit lady after the game if we’re shocking but ffs don’t people look forward to games on here?

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  • ajcrawfs

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Comment #30

    @AndyNUFC

    Haidara didn’t travel i am afraid

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  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #31

    TS…I just think we are no threat with an ACM and I actually think Cabs is a deeplying playmaker and he would fit nicely next to Anita in my two man deeplying midfield with Sissoko in front of the them 🙂

    The two inside forwards should give us at least two in the box at all time and sometimes three without sacrifacing our defense and midfield!

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  • Transfer Sage

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Comment #32

    tads

    Yeh I know. I criticise him like but when it comes to games i tend to stay away from this…much rather enjoy the match, win or lose just watch the match and enjoy it as best you can.

    We may be defensive but watching us cling onto a 1-0 lead might not be entertaining but its tense and exciting.

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  • LeToonARMY

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #33

    krul
    Perch Taylor Yanga Santon
    Marveux Cabaye Gutirrez
    Sissoko
    Shola Cisse

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  • bollance

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Comment #34

    I don’t think Pardews position is safe yet. He basically needs a strong finish to the season which will boost revenue via prize money in Prem and Europa plus TV cash from Europa.

    If we crash out this round plus finish bottom half I think we will see the back of Pards. Then the club will sell the crown jewels and afterwards appoint a new manager with the lure of a large transfer kitty.

    The new manager will be high profile because that will attract the right type of player to the club so we dont have to sell out big wages.

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  • Ibizatoon - Back By Popular Demand

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Comment #35

    Pretty busy again, but thought I’d drop in….not sure whether to go optimistic or doom and gloom…

    We’ll win!

    We’ve already lost.

    There…job done!

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  • northernirishtoon

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Comment #36

    Would love to see

    Krul
    Simpson. Saylor. Mbiwa. Santon
    ——–cabaye. Sissoko——-
    —Anita——marv——-jonas
    —————-cisse————-

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  • slbfan

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Comment #37

    Hi guys
    My english is very poor but i hope you all understand me.
    I wish a nice trip to portugal to all NC fans and all the luck in the world for the rest of the season in PL.
    Just let me say that i think NC manager is a fool,not good enought for a club with the reputation of NC. Why the hell he told benfica would be a 8º/10º in PL? To motivate benfica players? Because benfica have been playing in EL with the second team and a lot os fans like me were justing hoping we get out of this competition to focus on our battle vs porto, but then, when someone shows so much arrogance we are demanding our coach to play with the first team and shut up NC coach. I realy dont get that silly mind games…
    As far as people say we were own by celtic in CL, that its not true. We won in heads up with celtic and spartak, the problem was that barça lost 4 points vs celtic… In our first game in celtic´s stadium we had to play with our second team cause we had luisão out, cardozo out, aimar out, gaitan out and the previous week we sold javi garcia to city and witsel to zenit so we played with a complete diferent midfield. Celtic made 3 shots in both games…
    In theory we are favorits but NC its a very strong side despite his poor manager.

    Cheers and sorry for my english 🙂

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  • Transfer Sage

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #38

    jesper

    I think cabaye’s best games have been behind the striker for us…he is a goal threat and can play the intricate passes to the front 3. I think he can be a deeper player, like pirlo, just not as good at it as he is forward in my view.

    I think the 2 inside forwards could work with gouff and ben arfa….but with the players we have tonight…marv/obertan/jonas i’d rather not use that tactic.

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  • nufc 11

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Comment #39

    God that bench is frightening, if ever a team look like it was going for a 0-0 its that one, Simpson looked very frale sat, Id like to see Santon in more advanced role on the RM think he could influence the game play Perch LB and Jonas covering him or play Anita LB and Perch in CM cant see AP doing that tho park the bus and pray wait and see…

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  • martoon

    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #40

    I don’t get this ‘Pardew’s not safe’. Mike Ashley is a lot of things but he is no fool and must know there will be ups and downs in football especially with Newcastle. So why would he give Pardew an 8 year contract to then dismiss him in the first ‘down’ period?

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