Predicted Newcastle United Line-Up To Take On Benfica
While there were encouraging noises from St.James’ Park regarding the strength of the squad that travelled to Lisbon, Alan Pardew is up against it as Newcastle take on a team who are unbeaten in their domestic league.
Newcastle have to make do without Debuchy, Gouffran (both ineligible) plus the injured Haidara, Coloccini, Ben Arfa and Cheick Tiote.
Shola, Anita, Bigirimana, Campbell, Cabaye, Cisse, Elliot, Gosling, Jonas, Krul, Marveaux, Obertan, Perch, Santon, Simpson, Sissoko, Taylor, Williamson, Mapou
With options limited I believe that the manager will be heavily reliant on a defence that has done so well in Europe, with clean sheets in the last four matches.
While we have had different variations across that defence, I expect Alan Pardew to keep Rob Elliot in goal, Krul possibly returning for Fulham, and have Simpson, Taylor, Mapou and Santon in front of him.
The likes of Perch, Anita and of course Jonas could figure at full-back but I think the manager will be desperate to have the hard working Gutierrez further up the pitch and Simpson has been decent when called upon in Europe.
It looked like Alan Pardew played safe with Marveaux who was carrying a knock at the weekend, so after creating the winner that took us through to the last eight I would think he’s a certainty to start and try and help us retain the ball.
Jonas is a certainty but whether he is played out wide or in the middle remains to be seen, while I think Perch could be drafted in to try and protect the back four in Tiote’s absence.
Yohan Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko and Papiss Cisse must be seen as sure starters if we are to give our best.
Alan Pardew has shown he isn’t afraid to mix and match in Europe so Shola playing wouldn’t be the biggest shock, though of course that would lead to Cisse playing a wide withdrawn role.
Anita is a possibility as well but surely Obertan can’t be selected after yet another abysmal forty five minutes on Saturday.
The Anzhi victory has shown that Newcastle have the backbone for the European challenge and if they can retain the ball well, there is no reason why the team can’t get both a goal and a deserved point.
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