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Archive for tag: Europa League.

S.L. Benfica – A complete guide for Geordies (part two)

April 2nd, 2013 | 45 Comments |

Estadio da Luz (Stadium of Light) - Lisbon.
The real Stadium of Light.
With the Newcastle United being drawn against footballing aristocrats Benfica for their Europa League quarter final on Thursday, here is part two of my guide to Benfica.

In part one, I took a look at some aspects of Benfica’s history, including it’s links to Newcastle United and the North East in general. In this one, I will looking at things like the club’s current form, it’s coach Jorge Jesus, tactics, some of Benfica’s key players and that sort of thing.

Benfica and Newcastle United have never played each other competitively, so we can get that one out of the way pretty sharpish and take a look at their current form.

Current Form.

Benfica’s form in the Portuguese League is pretty predictable. If they’re doing well they’re top of the League, and if they’re doing not so well they are second, usually behind their fierce rivals, FC Porto. Their other great rivals in the Portuguese “Três Grandes” (Big three) are fellow Lisbon side Sporting Clube de Portugal, but they seem to be in a bit of a pickle at the moment, currently languishing in eighth in a sixteen team league. (more…)


S.L. Benfica – A complete guide for Geordies (part one)

March 29th, 2013 | 7 Comments |

Benfica Crest  - Estadio da Luz.
“Out of many, one.”
As Newcastle United’s next Europa League opponents are the Portuguese footballing aristocrats of Benfica, I have been inspired to write a two part guide to the club.

In this first part, I will taking a brief look at the history of the club, as well as taking a look at the links between Benfica, Newcastle United and the North East in general. There aren’t a huge amount and Thursday will be the first time the teams have ever met in a competitive game, but they are quite interesting nonetheless.

History, facts and stats.

The club known as Sport Lisboa e Benfica, or simply “Benfica” was formed by 18 year old footballer Cosme Damião on 28 February 1904. In their 109 year history since then they have become Portugal’s most successful club, with 32 Portuguese League titles, 24 Portuguese Cups plus 3 Campeonato de Portugal titles (the old version of the cup), 4 Portuguese League Cups, 4 Portuguese Super Cups and not least, 2 European Cups won in 1960 and 1961. (more…)


We are the loyalest football supporters? Not in the Europa League apparently

March 6th, 2013 | 15 Comments |

St James' Park empty.
St James’ Park: A Europa League ghost town?
“♫ For we’re the loyalest football supporters, the world has ever had… ♫”

So goes the terrace chant much favoured by we Newcastle United fans. However as you can see below, the attendance figures for this season’s Europa League could be calling that proud boast into question.

As you can see below, Newcastle United’s home attendance figures for Europa League games have hardly been impressive, with an average of only 24,154 Geordies attending St James’ Park for the games. This makes us the least supported of any of the English clubs competing in this years competition, and only the sixth most supported of the teams in the last sixteen.

In the table below I have only included the attendances of the remaining 16 teams, as there would be 80 teams if I’d included all who have competed in the competition! This means that Liverpool aren’t in there as they were knocked out by Zenit St Petersburg in the last round, but they were one of the most well supported teams with an average of 40,929 shifty looking scallies showing up at Anfield for their five games, with the crafty Cockney’s of Chelsea and Tottenham also beating Newcastle in the teraace table with an average of 38,642 and 36,240 respectively. It should be added that Chelsea have only competed in one game in the more recent stages which might affect things somewhat, though this isnt the case with ‘Spurs and Liverpool. (more…)


Who is right on Europe, Pardew or Laudrup?

March 5th, 2013 | 43 Comments |

Michael Laudrup and Alan Pardew.
Who is right?
Speaking in recent interview on Swansea City’s Europa League campaign next season, Chairman Huw Jenkins knocked Europa League knockers such as Alan Pardew, who has frequently used midweek European competition as an excuse for his poor League form this season (amongst other things), with Jenkins dismissing such talk as “rubbish.”

Meanwhile his manager, Michael Laudrup, has also welcomed the extra games next season, seeing no need to significantly increase the numbers of his small squad (around 23 currently) for next season’s European campaign. On this Laudrup commented:

“I know one year that Barcelona played with 19 first-team players, as well as a few younger players, and they played every three days. It is possible.

“I know again the risks if you get an injury. Look at what happened to us when Neil Taylor broke his ankle the day after the transfer window shut. That has special implications, but I don’t believe in having 27 or 28 players (27 was about the size of Newcastle United’s first team squad before the new French player were beought in). You won’t have 27 players who are at the same level, so you will still have five or six who never play. (more…)


Newcastle United vs Metalist Kharkiv match banter!

February 14th, 2013 | 131 Comments |

Newcastle United v Metalist Kharkiv.
“♫ Metal is tough, metal will sheen ♫”
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Date: Thurs 14th February, 2013.
Kick off: 8.05pm.
Referee: Harald Hagen (Norway).
UK TV: ESPN.

Hello, good evening and welcome to our “match banter” feature for this evening’s Europa League game against Ukraine’s Metalist Karkiv.

As you may know already Metalist are a pretty strong team who are genarally regarded as the being the “best of the rest” behind the two Ukrainian giants, Dynamo Kyiv and Shaktar Donetsk. Hence, they won’t be any pushover. One piece of good news for the Toon however is that Metalist have recently sold their own Brazilian Benny, Taison (an excellent driblling winger / forward), to their rivals at Donetsk. Chelsea made a move for him priginally, however the club was then taken over by someone who disliked Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich so much, he preferred to sell him to one of his biggest rivals instead! (more…)