Newcastle v Benfica – Europa League match preview

United v Benfica

United v Benfica
United v Benfica
Newcastle attempt to overcome a 3-1 defecit tomorrow night when Benfica visit St James’ Park.

Defeat in the first leg means that progression to the Semi-Final will be a tough ask, but by the same token it’s not out of the question thanks to Papiss Cisse’s away goal in Lisbon last week.

In fact I witnessed enough last week to know that we’ll create chances against the Portuguese league leaders, although I also witnessed the fact that they look good in attack and are likely to create chances of their own. It’s sounds simple, but all we need to do is take our chances whilst preventing them from taking the ones they create. See, it’s dead easy when you think about it!


As we’ve now become accustomed to, Yoan Gouffran and Mathieu Debuchy will be sitting this one out due to being ineligible to play for us in this competition. Fabricio Coloccini is close to a return and although unlikely to be risked in this game couls be available for the trip to West Brom in ten days time.

Massadio Haidara’s return to fitness is a timely boost now it looks like we’ll be missing Davide Santon for the remainder of the season. Santon will join Haris Vuckic and Ryan Taylor on the treatment table although the latter is closing in on a return and could feature before the end of the season.

Cheik Tiote could return after a muscle injury whilst Hatem Ben Arfa is also in contention to make an appearance after a surprise return to fitness although I get the distinct impression that it will only be a matter of time before he breaks down again. Steven Taylor is doubtful after picking up a knock in training.


Obviously we lost the first leg 3-1 last week in what was out first competitive fixture against Benfica. However we’ve never lost against Portuguese opposition on home soil which covers six visits of Portuguese sides to St James’ Park.

1968/69 – Sporting Lisbon – W 1-0
1968/69 – Vitoria Setubal – W 5-1
1969/70 – Porto – W 1-0
2004/05 – Sporting Lisbon – D 1-1
2004/05 – Sporting Lisbon – W 1-0
2012/13 – Maritimo – D 1-1

Stats and facts:

Mike Williamson could make his 100th appearance for United.

United are unbeaten in the last 13 home European fixtures. If you discount the Intertoto Cup that run extends to 24 matches.

A fifth home win on the bounce will be the first time we’ve managed that since the days of Sir Bobby Robson.

Final thought…

It’s officially a a sell out and our backs are against the wall so expect the fans to act like the 12th man from the off and get right behind the team as they look to overturn that first leg deficit.

However it won’t be easy. Benfica are now unbeaten in 30 games in a run which stretches back to the tail end of last season. They’ve also scored well over 100 goals already this term and keeping them from adding to their already impressive goals tally will be key if we are to progress to the Semi-Final.

But at the other end we need to be smart. We created decent chance at Estadio da Luz last week but wasted them through a combination of poor finishing and poor luck. We can’t afford to be so wasteful this time around as, even though the Benfica defence looked ropey, they can now afford to sit back and concentrate a bit more on the defensive side of things.

It’s intriguing. I know we can do it, no matter how against the odds it may be, and if we do it surely has to go down as one of our best results in recent times?

Howay the lads!

Date: Thursday, 11th April, 2013

Time: 8:05pm – Live on ITV4

Venue: St James’ Park

108 thoughts on “Newcastle v Benfica – Europa League match preview

  1. Kev .I would like to see Campbell start ,think the stats show every time he’s come on as a sub we have scored.:)


  2. to be honest I would consider this formation when everyone is back anyway.

    ………………………………… Krul…………………………….


  3. ok, so theres 12 there, sorry…getting carried away, too many good players… frop Marveaux from that with just benny and cabaye supporting cisse…

    or with that defence and midfield dont worry about Krul playing


  4. Think Pards will play it safe. Not saying if that’s the right thing to do or not, but I reckon a tried and tested formation.

    Simpson, Perch, M’Biwa, Haidara
    Cabaye, Anita
    Marveaux, Sissoko, Jonas


  5. Kev, problem is Colo is most likely gone in the summer , I would like to see him replaced plus another top CB as sadly it’s become apparent Saylor just can’t seem to stay injury free for a full season.


  6. Strange tweet from Demba Ba:

    Demba Ba ‏@dembabafoot:

    You did it on-purpose, because you afraid of newcastle

    Very odd. Wonder who he is talking about?


  7. @82 here’s yer answer

    Kristan Heneage ‏@KHeneage 37m
    “You did it on-purpose, because you afraid of newcastle,” Demba Ba says in response to Craig Gardner’s claims he dived. #NUFC #SAFC

    Kristan Heneage ‏@KHeneage 33m
    Gardner said Ba dived to get him booked, Ba said you got booked because you’re scared of Newcastle.


  8. Been a long while since I’ve been this excited about a match. Love what they’re doing with the scarves- going to be a cracking atmosphere…



  9. LOL at that Demba Ba tweet 😀

    Seems to be the biggest week of the season and i can’t bloody wait for tonight. Lets hope we can make it one of the biggest in our history.

    Not really sure how Ben Arfa will do as he has been out for the majority of the season. Really don’t think Campbell should start as he has looked totally out of his depth in all his sub appearances so far.


  10. Gardner is such a plank and dirty as hell to boot. He and Bardsley will no doubt be filling in for cattermole as the hatchet men


  11. MDS @ 85, I missed it, what are they doing with the scarves? Also, maybe I mentioned it already, but I followed your lead and signed up for and have been loving that I can watch these games from work…thanks for the suggestion.


  12. Just read the posts, aye that’s what Demba is on about then, saying he got booked so he was suspended as he was scared 😆 😆 😆 Get in Demba!


  13. Benfica’s coach saying it’s mission impossible for Toon .I would love it if we win for all the fans to start humming the theme tune to mission impossible 😉


  14. Norcal. Any time bud. Glad you’ll be watching.

    I saw that they’re encouraging people to bring their scarves to make it like shearer’s testimonial.


  15. I’m excited for tonight but hope Pardew doesn’t get carried away. If its not looking like we will win tonight I hope he has the sense to take off and rest/protect the likes of Cabaye, Sissoko and Cisse for the weekend.
    I’d love to see us progress tonight but not at the expense of 3 points and almost certain PL survival against the scum.


  16. Kim ref Campbell while he hasn’t done much he hasn’t had long enough to really show what he can do, but I never once thought he looked out of his depth and I haven’t heard anyone else say that except the same guy that says Cisse is shit and we should get shot of him 😆


  17. Dave
    Out of his depth may be harsh but Campbell is certainly inexperienced, that was shown in his brief appearance last week were he lingered on the ball with his back to goal meaning he was easily tackled.


  18. @Kim

    Yeah that’s awesome but he was only involved in one of the goals which if i remember correctly he got the pass to Marv who made a nice assist. Apart from that he had no involvement in any of the goals.

    I’m not saying he is shit or anything like that but he just doesn’t look up to speed and starting him in this game would be a bad decision imo.


  19. Is Staylor going to be fit for the makkem game ? I hope so…

    Fingers crossed we don’t get any new injuries tonight… can see HBA getting the last 30 mins depending upon how the game is going.

    Really excited about tonight, leaving the worry beads at home, off doon toon Munich for a couple of Brittany’s 🙂

    TTBAWA !!


  20. I see the neggars and Pardew bashers are out in force on twatter because apparantly Marveaux and Cabaye are subs and Williamsons starting.

    Seems sensible enough to me with both french lads out on their feet on sunday and using our tallest defender to combat Cardozo…


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