Friday, February 21, 2020

Benfica need to get back to the basics

Benfica Blog
Benfica are now winless in their last four games across all competitions for the first time in the Bruno Lage era and will need to get out of Week 22 with victory to maintain their league lead and to rebuild their confidence heading into the second leg of Europa League action. Benfica started the month on a high with a seven point league atop the Portuguese Liga while on a 17 game undefeated run across all competitions. Benfica's last loss happened in Champions League play to Lyon on November 5th but boy what a difference two weeks can make. Benfica now sit atop Portugal with just a one point lead over second place FC Porto after losing their last two league games and need a victory at home for a chance to advance in Europa League play after losing the first leg on the road to Shakhtar earlier this week. Benfica look like a team out of ideas and a club that is out of gas and needing a spark. Bruno Lage needs to rest players this weekend and also requires a victory but getting back to the basics might just be what the club needs.

Lage should look at giving over used players like Pizzi and Grimaldo a rest this weekend against Gil Vicente and start youngster Nuno Tavares and Chiquinho in their places. Lage should also reinsert Samaris into the starting eleven as the Greek International would give the club the spark from his passionate play, a spark that the club currently lacks.
Benfica's run to the Championship last season included a Samaris and Florentino combination in the middle of the field with Pizzi and Rafa Silva along the sides, Benfica no longer has Joao Felix up front but Taarabt's creativity along with Carlos Vinicius finish may just do the trick and get this club back into form for a long run until season end. I know many of you may be thinking what about recent acquisition Julian Weigl, well I can see Weigl being of added value coming off the bench to help protect leads as well as being a regular member of the clubs starting eleven in Europe. Weigl can then grow with the club and be ready to take a role in the starting eleven for 2020/21 season. Benfica still control their own destiny in Portugal and Europe but getting back to the basics may be just what the doctor ordered not only for the squad but for Lage who's questionable tactics shows a lack of confidence in himself and the club.

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