Newcastle United are set to face their toughest pre-season opponents yet when they take on Benfica.
Eddie Howe’s side are in Portugal for the Magpies’ second trip of the summer, having kicked off with a camp in Austria.
The squad travelled to Portugal late last week before winning two behind closed doors training games against Burnley.
Tuesday night is the real test, as Howe’s boys face a Champions League side in Benfica. It will be an incredibly tough game, but who will start for Newcastle?
Dubravka accompanied by the strongest defence vs Benfica
Martin Dubravka didn’t feature in either game against Burnley at the weekend, suggesting he will start against Benfica.
Howe isn’t giving much away on who will be his number one goalkeeper, which is why a start for the Slovakian feels likely.
As previously stated, this is our toughest pre-season game so far, so expect to see a strong lineup. With that in mind, we are tipping Howe to go with his best possible back four. Kieran Trippier starts and captains the side, while Matt Targett is on the opposite flank.
In the middle we have gone with Sven Botman and Fabian Schar. The £35million signing hasn’t really been tested since arriving, so his performance against Benfica will be interesting to watch.
Elliot Anderson predicted to face his toughest test yet
While we expect to see a strong side against Benfica, there is also a chance that Howe takes a chance in midfield. Elliot Anderson is the talk of the Toon this pre-season, and supporters are keen to see him feature in the Premier League.
So how will he cope against elite opposition? There’s only one way to find out.
He starts in midfield alongside Jonjo Shelvey and Bruno Guimaraes, with the latter set to be pivotal against the Portuguese side.
More needed from Chris Wood as he’s named in the starting lineup
Chris Wood didn’t play in either game against Burnley, so should feature heavily versus Benfica – unless he has an injury problem.
We need to see more from the 30-year-old. He struggled on his last appearance against Mainz, further highlighting the need to sign a striker. That need will only intensify further if Wood falters again. Time for the £25million man to step up.
Predicted XI to face Benfica: Dubravka; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Targett; Almiron, Bruno, Shelvey, Anderson, Fraser, Wood.