Preview: Benfica vs. Newcastle United

Preview: Benfica vs. Newcastle United
© PA Photos
Sports Mole looks ahead to Newcastle United's Europa League clash away in Portugal against Benfica.

Newcastle United have struggled to replicate the form that they showed in the Premier League last season this time around.

However, few teams have been more impressive in the Europa League this season than Alan Pardew's side.

They go into Thursday's quarter-final opening leg away in Portugal having not conceded in any of their last four encounters in the competition. If they were to keep a fifth clean sheet at Estadio da Luz, then they will have set a Europa League record for most consecutive shut outs.

The Magpies can also take heart from the fact that Benfica have never defeated an English club in the last eight of a UEFA competition, despite having had five attempts. Newcastle, though, have failed to win on either of their trips to Portugal.

Pardew has tended to rotate his playing squad in Europe this season and he has been tipped to continue that tactic on Thursday. That may mean that the likes of Shola Ameobi, Sylvain Marveaux and James Perch could all be included in the starting lineup.

Meanwhile, Benfica, who warmed up for this encounter with a 6-1 win over Rio Ave on Saturday, are likely to select veteran midfielder Pablo Aimar from the start.

Recent form

Benfica: WWWWLW

Newcastle: LWLWLL

Possible starting lineups

Benfica: Moraes; Luisao, Garay, Pereira, Melgarejo; Perez, Gaitan, Matic, Aimar; Lima, Rodrigo

Newcastle: Elliot; Santon, Yanga-Mbiwa, Taylor, Simpson; Cabaye, Perch, Anita, Obertan; Sissoko; Ameobi

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa
Read Next:
Team News: Yanga-Mbiwa makes full Newcastle debut
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Porto19153146103648
2Sporting Lisbon19145042113147
3Benfica19144146123446
4Braga19131537191840
5Rio AveRio Ave189362417730
6Maritimo198561720-329
7ChavesChaves197572428-426
8BoavistaBoavista187382022-224
9Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes187292433-923
10TondelaTondela196492329-622
11BelenensesBelenenses195591625-920
12Feirense1962111724-720
13PortimonensePortimonense194692431-718
14Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira193791934-1516
15MoreirenseMoreirense1936101530-1515
16Estoril PraiaEstoril1843111535-2015
17Desportivo das AvesAves1936101629-1315
18Vitoria de SetubalSetubal192891935-1614
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in with Facebook to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
LIVE SCORES VIDEPRINTER
expand