Newcastle’s victory over Fulham at the weekend was a large step towards guaranteed Premier League survival, although many will feel the limitations of their relegation rivals already makes this a formality, so Alan Pardew should be willing to gamble on some of his half-fit squad members for a must-win European tie. Newcastle’s injury list remains extensive, but Cheick Tiote may be risked in midfield alongside Yohan Cabaye and Massadio Haidara should come in at full back. With Yoan Gouffran cup-tied Jonas Gutierrez and Sylvain Marveaux are likely to play out wide.
Jorge Jesus has no such problems, meaning Benfica can name an unchanged side from the first leg, although Lima may push Rodrigo for a place in attack.
In a battle of two fairly traditional 4-4-2 variations the tie is likely to be decided between the lines and by the depth of the respective midfields… (Read more)