Five players Newcastle United should fear in Europa League tie with Benfica

Benfica V Liverpool

Benfica have not lost a single game over 90 minutes since October 2012 ... Newcastle United better bring their A game to prevent these five stars from pulling the strings.

Newcastle face an uphill task against Portuguese outfit Benfica if they are to advance to the semi-finals of the Europa League. The Eagles are my tip to go all the way to Amsterdam and lift the trophy and their current form suggests why. Jorge Jesus has seen his side complete a six game winning streak in which they have scored 20 goals conceding just three and having not suffered defeat over 90 minutes in 33 games; since a 2-1 defeat to Spartak Moscow in October 2012.

So amongst this plethora of talent in the Portuguese league leaders side who are the ones that will truly shine against The Toon Army?

Ezequiel Garay

Finally Manchester United fans may be able to feat their eyes on what is to come if the rumours over an almost signed, sealed and delivered summer transfer are too believed.

The Argentine has been one of the ever-presents in this impressive side and Newcastle must first get past him in order to register any goals in this tie.

Lorenzo Melgarejo

The Paraguayan left wing-back has had his breakthrough season at the Lisbon outfit and will be a constant threat in an attacking capacity down the left-hand side.

Nemanja Matic

The holding midfielder is a former Chelsea player and while he did not make the grade at Stamford Bridge he has become a stalwart in the heart of this team.

His destructive play from deep allows the more creative players in the Benfica pack to flow forward and with devastating effect.

Nicolas Gaitan

This has not been the diminutive Argentine’s best season. Struggling with niggling injuries for much of the campaign he has however played all 360 minutes of Benfica’s Europa League campaign and with the natural talent he possesses will be a constant threat to the Newcastle goal.

Oscar Cardozo

Something of a mercurial talent but if the Paraguayan is in the mood he can unleash the closest to hell a defender can imagine. Strong, fast and deadly from open play or dead-ball situations he carries the bulk of the goal threat and has a good record against English teams.

How do you think Newcastle United will get on?

image: © plassen

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