Newcastle United Predicted Line-Up v Benfica
Picking the bones out of Alan Pardew’s pre-match briefings, the manager has choices to make for tonight’s match but I don’t think he’ll have to spend too long thinking about them.
The missing list would appear to be Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Haris Vuckic, Cheick Tiote, Davide Santon and the ineligible Debuchy and Gouffran.
So Alan Pardew would appear to have the choice of Krul, Elliot, Simpson, Perch, Williamson, Mapou, Haidara, Anita, Obertan, Gosling, Jonas, Bigirimana, Marveaux, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Sissoko, Shola, Cisse, Campbell.
There have also been worrying, but unconfirmed, rumours that Yohan Cabaye could be struggling to make tonight. Fingers crossed that it proves incorrect because looking at those available, Cabaye missing would leave a massive hole in our chances.
The defence will take on another new look as Haidara is expected to fill in for Santon and Perch favourite ahead of Williamson to stand in for Steven Taylor.
Assuming Cabaye makes it then I can see him having a deeper role to pull the strings with Anita and the ever versatile Jonas helping him in the engine room. That leaves Marveaux and Sissoko as the most forward to support Papiss Cisse.
There is of course always the chance Shola could make a start and Ben Arfa is the manager’s wild card tonight, though surely only as an impact sub you’d imagine.
The first leg taught us a few things, inlcuding the fact that Benfica are clearly a talented team but also that Newcastle can get at them which was prove din the opening twenty five minutes and odd spells after that.
Can this group of players overturn the two goal deficit?
I think the answer is a guarded yes, if Newcastle don’t concede in the first half then we’ll be bang still in the tie, a goal to the good by then and the place will be rocking.
Bring it on!
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