Europa League. Quarterfinals. If you can't get up for that, I don't know what to tell you. Alan Pardew stirred up the Portuguese press when he suggested that Benfica would finish "between 8th and 10th" (so, 9th?) in the Premier League, so there's some bulletin board material to motivate the home side, who haven't lost in league play this year and have scored over 100 goals on the campaign.
Newcastle will welcome Tim Krul back into the fold, and while I was pleased with Rob Elliot's performance, I feel so much more confident with Timmay between the sticks. Meanwhile, the rest of the squad continues to show the effects of injury, as Fabricio Coloccini, Cheik Tiote, and Massadio Haidara have yet to return, to say nothing of long-term injury sufferers Ryan Taylor and Hatem Ben Arfa. It looks like this could be a bloodbath, but we said the same thing headed into the away match with Anzhi Makhachkala.
It's apparently raining very hard in Lisbon today. Can Newcastle hold on for a result that will give them a chance at home next week?
Benfica: Artur | Melgarejo, Garay, Luisão, André Almeida | André Gomes, Matić, Ola John | Gaitán, Cardozo, Rodrigo Moreno
NUFC: Krul | Simpson, Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon | Perch, Cabaye (c) | Marveaux, Sissoko, Jonas | Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Williamson, Gosling, Anita, Obertan, Shola, Campbell