There is no secret behind Newcastle’s Europa League success. The club has stressed defence, and it has paid off. Do not expect anything to change in tonight’s match against Benfica.
The Toon hold a clear advantage in this tie when it comes to defending. In this season’s Europa League, Newcastle have held seven clean sheets compared to Benfica’s two. Also, Newcastle have more than 200 more clearances than Benfica, outdoing the Portuguese club 346 to 122. Finally, Newcastle average 0.5 goals conceded per game to Benfica’s 0.7.
The Magpies will go for a Europa League record fifth consecutive clean sheet tonight at Estadio da Luz.
However, Benfica’s high-powered attack will certainly test Newcastle. The Portuguese Primeira Liga’s top club have already scored 102 goals this season. Also, Benfica have won all four of their knockout round matches.
Europa League play has been a welcome interruption from Newcastle’s woeful Premier League season. The English club is just three points out of the relegation zone, but still believe they can compete with the clear favourites Benfica.
Newcastle Manager Alan Pardew told The Guardian “We can get a good result here. And at St. James’ Park we can beat anybody. It will be difficult but we have no doubt we can beat Benfica at St. James”