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Saturday, 14 January 2012 20:31

Liga round-up: Benfica 4-1 Setubal

Stalemates at Pacos and Feirense

A brace from Oscar Cardozo sandwiched between strike from Nolito and Nemanja Matic saw Benfica cruise past a spirited Setubal at the Estadio da Luz this evening. Neca’s early goal put the away side ahead, but the Eagles upped the tempo and ran out deserved winners. 

With Ezequiel Garay, Javi Garcia and Pablo Aimar unavailable due to injury and suspension, Jorge Jesus drafted in Jardel, Nemanja Matic and Rodrigo. New Setubal signing Albert Meyong was unavailable, so Portuguese U20 international Rafael Lopes started up front, with his teammate from Colombia Nelson Oliveira on the Benfica bench.

Bruno Ribeiro spoke in the build-up to kick-off about his team not being mentally beaten before taking to the field, and Neca signalled Setubal’s intentions early on with a corner that swung wickedly towards goal and forced Artur into evasive action.

The newly shorn midfielder was in a bullish mood, and moments later he gave the away side an unlikely lead. A Jorge Goncalves cross was only half cleared by Luisao and fell to Neca on the edge of the box. His effort was headed for Artur’s embrace, but the ball took a wicked deflection off Luisao and into the back of the net to silence the Luz.

Benfica responded well to going behind, immediately upping the tempo and pinning Setubal back deep in their own half. Diego pulled off a sensational stop to tip a fierce Cardozo strike over the bar, whilst Nolito and Bruno Cesar also produced a number of worrying moments for the away defence.

It soon became a case of when rather than if an equaliser was going to arrive, and it was Nolito who obliged with 24 minutes gone. Axel Witsel played the Spaniard behind the Setubal back line with a slide-rule pass, and Nolito opened up his body to steer a side-footed finish beyond Diego’s outstretched fingertips.

Benfica were in the ascendency, but almost fell behind again moments later. Neca beat Artur in a foot race for a through ball, and as the Benfica goalkeeper hastily backpedalled, unleashed a chip from the narrowest of angles that flicked off the post.

Less than a minute later, Benfica were ahead, as Oscar Cardozo hit his seventh goal in six matches. The Paraguayan received the ball with his back to goal and surrounded by a trio of markers, but some twinkle-toed manoeuvring created sufficient space for the number seven to deliver a low shot, which flicked off Ricardo Silva, beyond Diego and in.

Tacuara was at the centre of the action for the remainder of the half. A crunching challenge from Ney Santos saw him hobble off for treatment, and immediately after returning to the field he was cautioned for a spot of handbags with Ricardo Silva. The coup de grace was applied on the cusp of half time. Cardozo timed his run perfectly to meet a Rodrigo through ball, and with the ball seemingly glued to his feet, evaded a pair of challenges before stabbing beyond Diego on his way to ground. Having started sluggishly, Benfica finished the first half in total control.

The Eagles maintained their grip in proceedings throughout the second half, which unsurprisingly unfolded at a more sedate pace. Rodrigo, Maxi and Nolito all had their moments, but as the 56,155-strong crowd basked in the prospect of moving five points clear of Porto, Setubal managed to repel Benfica’s raids forward – albeit without posing much of an attacking threat themselves.

The fourth goal arrived with 72 minutes gone, and it did so from an unlikely source, Nemanja Matic rising to meet a delicious cross from the substitute Gaitan with a firm header, which slid beyond Diego.

A second yellow card for Cardozo, awarded after the Paraguayan had gone down inside the box, provided the sole blemish on an otherwise successful night’s work by the home side, who move five points clear of Porto at the top of the table.

Benfica: Artur; Maxi Pereira, Jardel, Luisao, Emerson; Nemanja Matic, Witsel, Nolito (Gaitan 66’), Bruno Cesar (Saviola 78’); Rodrigo, Cardozo.

Setubal: Diego; Ney Santos, Anderson do O, Ricardo Silva, Igor; Bruno Amaro, Tengarrinha, Neca; Jorge Goncalves (Hugo Leal 69’), Rafael Lopes (Joao Silva 58’), Bruno Gallo (Claudio Pitbull 29).

[0-1] Neca 6’
[1-1] Nolito 24’
[2-1] Cardozo 33’
[3-1] Cardozo 45’
[4-1] Matic 72’

Pacos de Ferreira 1-1 Maritimo

Round Fifteen began at the Mata Real on Friday night, with an entertaining draw between rock bottom Pacos and high-flying Maritimo. William missed a penalty for the home side just before the hour mark, but five minutes later Melgarejo stepped up from the spot to put Pacos ahead. Henrique Calisto’s men came to within six minutes of their first win since October, but a late strike from Baba levelled the score. Pacos remain bottom, whilst Maritimo miss a good chance to make up ground on Sporting and Braga.

Feirense 0-0 Gil Vicente

No goals in Santa Maria da Feira, but plenty of talking points: two red cards (including one for Feirense goalkeeper Paulo Lopes) and a missed penalty from Gil’s Claudio. The two promoted sides remain just above the drop zone, but will hope to start picking up wins sooner rather than later.

Ben Shave

Comments (17)
#8 in the world
17 Wednesday, 18 January 2012 05:05
According to IFFHS
Benfica are the best Portuguese team

The IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics) announced this Thursday, January 12th, the ranking referring to the best clubs in the world in 2011, Sport Lisboa e Benfica being the best Portuguese team, at 8th place.

The Eagles rose from 13th, in 2010, to the 8th spot, in 2011, currently having a total of 235 points.

The list is still led by Barcelona, with 367 points.
Like NJ I love the banter here...
16 Tuesday, 17 January 2012 12:21
We go back and forth and truly I believe NJ is right when he says some of the biggest fans are critics..

Although I have had an amazing run of selecting talent from afar..

I am not always right and have admitted openly when I have been wrong... in this post alone you see that I too have patted JJ on the back.. and have more importantly patted LFV on the back and a few years ago he after selecting so many poor managers and russian rouletting the acquisitions.. was my main whipping boy.

Anyone that has been around here for any time will know that.

I also stated that Bento who I liked tactically was a wrong selection for Portugal then when he got them to play I was lauding and when the exodus started I have been very violent word wise in my efforts in trying to over-throw his reign.

I was also a huge Enzo fan... thought Amorim was good as a back.. thought Aimar was done last season.. so I by no means am perfect..

Just stating that a bunch of my prognostications were spot on the money.

Hey JJ has learned over the last year.. some will say he didn't have the players last season..

I disagree... sure we probably didn't have the players to beat Porto for the Liga.. but we should've been closer...

Hey we still had Cardozo, Nuno Gomes, Saviola, Javi, Aimar, Gaitan, Maxi, Luisao, David Luis, Coentrao.. don't tell me that is a losing recipe.. because I will laugh at you.

Last year was a failure because of tactics.. formations.. as well as player selection...and though they all impressed..Vitor, Oliveira, Rodrigo, were all loaned out before they could ever start.. Jardel even was here already.

Although I agree with the majority of what Mdot is saying.. there is a huge difference between Paciencia at Sporting & Benfica..

Paciencia had to erase the slate completely.. as you saw by my list we had the full squad already laid out and were only adding to the great core. Paciencia still has much work to do.. expect a better challenge next season.. I said this when he was hired..

Sure we lost Coentrao, and Luis.. who is heads and shoulders above Garay.. but let's face it Luis was upset and he tanked last year.

We also lost Roberto and Cesar in net.. the Chicken of Europe and the Chicken of the South.. that unto itself has helped us amazingly.. they were both JJ protégées..

just saying...

Then we added Nolito, Cesar, Garay, Rodrigo (who should've already been there) & Witsel.

So difficult to find room for those guys on a squad.. although none of them were JJ's first choice.. his first choice were others for the most part except for Garay.. who was lined up for his role.

Emerson, and Perez were also lined up as first choices for roles.. and it is an open book on both.

Same as we have talent that is there and never plays.. most notably Oliveira, Simao, Vitor, Matic, Martins, Eduardo, etc

So I too like Mdot think they should resign JJ he is vastly improved since he arrived.. and is taking large strides at overcoming his weaknesses.

Like I said the next thing to work on is player selection & valuations.. his tactics are vastly improved.. and his formations have started to float. We would still like to see some consistency before we rubber stamp it.. but he is heads and shoulders above himself.

The upsetting part is just about the time when Benfica fans have ironed out his wrinkles.. he is looking for a big time move..

Anyways.. we still have a ways to go.. and JJ has looked promising this year and has even started to adapt.. which has netted us some nice results.

We have a really strong team with great depth.. I wouldn't say positionally some of the best in the world.. but if they play as a unit a team highly capable of going far in the CL and cruising easily to a Liga Championship..

This team can still be improved.. and it bothers me that LFV has openly looked for a RB.. when we are in dire need of a LB.

Sure Maxi hasn't been his usual self this year.. he has had a long year and blew his load winning the Copa in the summer.. with little rest he started back up.. I expected it.. at the same time he hasn't been horrendous.. he just makes mental mistakes from time to time.. from exhaustion.. not all of them have cost us.

I think he will be better next season and the summer is the time to find a back-up.. right now we need a LB that can play in Europe.. so someone from the south would be perfect to relegate Emerson to the subs bench.

A Right Winger would be great too.. to replace Gaitan when he leaves... unfortunately I thought that was Enzo.. but.. he failed between the ears.
Great result
15 Monday, 16 January 2012 14:27
Holy cow, you guys could write a book out of one game at times. Since I’m reading this one at work I don’t have too much time to read all of these Fidel type speeches lol.

I just want to note that, regardless where you stand with JJ, he is delivering. I remember people on here at the start of the season were talking about Sporting’s coach and how he’s way better then JJ. Both teams received a boat load of new talent and JJ is the one that has them working together. Last season we were done over by not having enough depth and did we ever fix that problem (outside of our LB/RB proper back-ups).

As a fan I wanted to win the league again and have a deep run in the CL to show that we can compete in Europe’s top tournament. So far we’re on track to do both and I’m extremely happy about it. My only worry with that this is JJ’s last year on his contract, so I’m hoping we renew it, especially if we win the league. We have not had a coach that could pull off two league titles in a long time, so let’s not play around with what’s working and just keep building on the positives.
Good if not great banter
14 Monday, 16 January 2012 02:00
I actually agree with a lot that's posted.
The best about this seasons Benfica is that we not only have profitable players starting but their replacements are already on the club and also look profitable.

First let me say that I don't care about player movement much as long as we win and look good.

I understand people calling for Nolito, but Gaitan has been pushed as our next big ticket player. Nolito's emergence only hampers that.
I also feel that Javi could be gone. It's amazing how many "big teams" defenses have all of a sudden collapsed. He would help fortify such defenses. Let me add that I've been a huge fan of Matic, very smart player, and he'll fill in mightly. He will also bring a tidy profit when his time comes.
Due to defenses looking so bad, I also wouldn't be surprised if Garay was sold. A shock sale like Ramires was last season.
That being said, yes Vitor has played well, but Jardel has actually played more and looked better in his chances.
I like Emerson and his work ethic. But yes we do need another left-back. Although Martins just might be the future.
I for one, am a little disapointed in Maxi this season. He's been beaten often. Wass has been playing in France and actually has 3 goals. Let's not forget him.

Orlando I do agree that we suffer defensively when Gaitan and Aimar are on the field together. Hence the 4-2-3-1 formation better suited for the squad when they play.
Bruno will fill in great as AM when Gaitan is gone and Aimar becomes less effective.
I am very disapointed in the whole Enzo issue. He clearly didn't adapt well to Portugal and/or European play. It actually leaves us thin out wide.
Salvio's name has been mentioned once again, but I wouldn't overpay and actually might just try to gouge Atletico. I was never as impressed as others, and Atletico is in trouble and yet he hasn't played. He's also coming off a big injury. No reason to over reach for a player that would love to come.
Simao just might start getting looks as well.

Up top, we have many options. I'm of the belief that someone might still over reach for Cardozo. Rodrigo could be huge for us if we don't cash in on him right away. Oliveira will find his footing, and Saviola is the safety net.

All in all I think that JJ has done a very nice job this season. He went away from his comfort zone and succeeded. The team is responding to him, even with all the changes that have been made throughout the campaign.
I actually love it that Rui Costa has become our "figure head". We needed a strong Portuguese presense/figure, and he's fit the bill.
LFV has said plenty of stupid things that I completely disagree with. It seems to come with the title in Portuguese football. But he's finally invested properly and the club seems to have a bright future.

I've always said, that Benfica's harshest critics are their fans themselves. Haters will always be there, but Benfiquistas and their club will always be Glorioso.
lol i love it
13 Sunday, 15 January 2012 22:23
i have to agree why does orlando think that everything he says is correct you have your opinion just like we have ours yea mines might be wrong but hey its my opinion for some reason orlando thinks whatever he says is 100 percent correct
Carlos.. I agree fully with your picks..
12 Sunday, 15 January 2012 21:04
I believe Javi is out on suspension, Aimar, Garay, are injured and Gaitan is just coming back for an injury. So like I was saying it wasn't JJ's first choice squad that smoked VS.

I also have a sneaky feeling some of these "injuries might be because there is some high level interest for those players...

There has been great interest in Gaitan, Aimar, Javi, & Garay.. with all the depth on the squad I wouldn't be too surprised if one or two was to leave now, although I think more than likely at least two will leave in the summer.

Andre you are getting overly dramatic.. I did applaud JJ in my comments if you read back.. and the jester on the sideline is because of his animated style.. like a kings jester.

What I was getting at is I hear you all praise JJ like he is the second coming of Jesus.. and I was pointing out that a lot of the credit is LFV's for the players he has brought in. The depth and talent on hand is awesome. I never hear any of you say how great of a job LFV has done over the last couple of years and he has.

If you remember clearly a few years ago I was bashing him..but he has proven to be better. So credit where credit is due.

A Managers job at senior level isn't to train the players the assistants do that, it is player selection, formations, and tactics.

JJ also has done very little development work with his youth.. as is evidenced by the lack of youth players getting an opportunity, Rodrigo being the only one to play.

If you actually believe a guy like Gaitan, Cesar, Javi come here and have reached this level and don't know how to play their positions.. you are joking. They just need to be selected, told the tactics, and formation that is all.

The most important role of a Manager at this level is ego control and getting them all to gel.. JJ has his favourites who he massages.. and clearly he has many issues with others.. as evidenced over the last few years.

In that regard I think he does a decent job..

Now that he is tightening up his tactics and formations.. vastly improved from 2 years ago I might add.. his major lack at the moment.. is his player selection, and his player valuations.

All of the players he has brought in have been failures.. Cesar (GK), Peixoto, Roberto, Enzo, were all major flops that commanded a lot of playing time.

As I stated in his evaluations here have been some of his selections:

Peixoto > Coentrao
Cesar (GK) > Moreira
Roberto > Quim
Jardel > Vitor
Saviola > Cardozo
Emerson > Capedevila
Artur > Eduardo
Javi > Matic
Enzo > Witsel
Gaitan > Nolito
Cesar > Nolito
Aimar > Gaitan
Saviola > Nuno Gomes

Now some of these are really close.. like Eduardo & such but some others are quite concerning because there is no comparison in talent levels.

The other concern is his dislike of Portuguese players and even though they have merited some work he has always chosen a foreigner ahead of them and played them regularly with almost zero starts handed out to Portuguese players.

Now I can appreciate that after guys like Kinky Flowers, Camacho, Santos, that JJ comes off as a genius.. I appreciate that.

I also appreciate that some of you gentlemen are finally seeing a couple of results and are happy because it is better than losing to Porto consistently.. but the fact is that JJ has had two of some of the best Benfica squads ever in my opinion.

This latest generation is amazing.. and the Coentrao/DiMaria era was almost as good.. so excuse me if I want to see the results of this last weekend on a consistent basis considering we have the squad to do it week in week out.

JJ has been our best Manager since Erickson but his squad selection and favorites infuriate me.

At least now his tactics have improved... and his penchant for making huge player moves on the eve of huge games has diminished... somewhat.. although I still get the sweats before every CL game because I expect him to sit a good player for someone who has never played the position, or has done so rarely.

Anyways Andre you still didn't say it.. glad I got your knickers in a bunch.. because you my friend were prime target with some of your early season sentiments.

Hey I manned up and said that JJ was doing a good job..
although I am sure we will be back to "Making Everything Look Difficult" TM soon when he benches Nolito, and Cardozo again... and we draw against a minnow at home.

For me there are some untouchables in this squad...


(although he needs more breaks.. and Eduardo is more than qualified to play since he is as good as if not better)






Some of the guys that should be there regular are:

Vitor, Javi, Aimar, Gaitan, Cesar, Rodrigo, Garay, Oliveira, Matic

That is how I see it..

But JJ's untouchables are much different.. and so have been the results..

Anyways Andre man up.. you skirted around it.. tell me I am wrong besides JJ & Javi..

Tell me how my players and formations are wrong.. show me the stats..besides sloppy 1 goal wins and draws.. you have no evidence.

Fortunately for us JJ reads PortuGoal.net working on his english for his move to the Premiership.. and has improved drastically since becoming a member here.. because people like Carlos, NJ, Myself,, and others have told him how to improve..

So now that we have tactics and formations down.. we are now working on squad selection.. now LFV can help us out immensely by shipping off a few of JJ's favourites.

It will make the learning curve that much easier.
orlando i agree
11 Sunday, 15 January 2012 18:02
this whole year so far ive kept telling ppl at the benfica house in toronto Nolito should start over gaitan as winger since gaitan rarely crosses or defends.

having said that javi is great to hold but i believe he is also overrated. i was kinda hoping saviola would be let go so nelson could get some more playing time. i believe saviolas time has passed with our squad.

having said that i personally wouldve made some changes to the squad:

-Maxi---Luisao--Garay--Luis Martins

-Eduardo(for artur)
-Fabio Faria(for martins)
-Miguel Vitor(either CB)
-Andre Almeida(for maxi)
-Gaitan(for Nolito)
-Nelson Oliveira(for rodrigo)

Now i know ill come under a lot of speculation for this team but this is essentially our strongest one. First let me start with RB, Andre Almeida is someone who shouldnt have been let go in the first place. The kid was remarkable in pre-season and immediately after that was sent out. how is ruben amorim better than andre almeida? he attacks and defends almost like maxi, i just dont know how no one noticed this.

center backs are fine garay and luisao have made an excellent pair, the problem is third string defender. Vitor should definteley be ahead of Jardel. He has shown, especially in champions league might i add, that he is a far supperior defender.

Luis martins should be the one starting. Excellent attacker and defender, a well rounded LB. Emerson is great but his defending and positioning will cost us against decent opposition. Fabio Faria should be the replacement for martins. to me, after almeida, he was an outstanding defender pre-season so i dnt knw why that retarded JJ always ruins our squad.

Javi will continue to play the fifth defender great as he has. Cesar to keep pushing up the right wing even though he is better as an attacking mid. Witsel to continue to show his masturful plays and touch, and Nolito to prove he should be the starting winger, the guy had 8 goals before in the league as a bench warmer. that should be an insult alone to anyone who thinks hes not starting quality.

Rodrigo to bring the support speed behind cardozo, and cardozo as usual to blast it when necessary.

Bench is well balanced and as you can see aimar isn't on that list mostly due to the fact that we dont need him/hes leaving since he hasnt done any contract talks yet.

Matic will eventually replace javi in the future and the kid has talent. More precise tackles and a better long rage shot. Gaitan if isnt played as attacking mid, then will be a superb sub for Nolito, but i doubt this since he will most likely be gone in the summer transfer.

Nelson will bring the big body and shot power alongside cardoso vs more physical teams. and who knows may eventually start ahead of Rodrigo.

Yes i know there are a lot of potential people not on there like Ruben pinto, or David simao, but that is my essential 'winning team'.

and on a side note: any information why garay left early then couldnt play?
Enzo Perez was hand picked ...
10 Sunday, 15 January 2012 15:06
To our friend from Perth: By JJ.. if you read a recent Abola article (December) when Perez did not want to come back.. that JJ went on about how he hand picked Enzo from the word of a friend.. and that he was flabbergasted to know that there was a problem considering JJ had a spot lined up for him in the squad as soon as he recovered from injury.

I was a big proponnent of Enzo Perez from the Youtube videos I had seen.. but he never did seem to pan out before getting injured although he did get a long look.

After what has transpired I can only think that he did not adjust to Europe well.. and more importantly was blown away by the competition.. hence why he wants to run back to Argentina. Shame he lost his nerves because he has some talent, and we could use him on the right.. as he defends really well.

He was not selected by Rui.. Benfica has Scouts, Friends, Agents who suggest players to LFV.. and the Management.. which Rui is a figurehead for.
Last words
9 Sunday, 15 January 2012 13:04
You really seem to be living in some fantasy world Orlando huh, where you are the coach of Benfica and everything you say and believe is the law haha! You go on as if the coach of a team has nothing to do with what happens on the pitch..."JJ is just the jester on the sidelines"...what a rediculous comment! JJ is the person preparing the team, selecting the players to play, and making great substitutions in most matches, substitutions that have made big impacts in many important matches...it is with this "jester" at the helm that we have just one defeat (in the Portuguese Cup!) in over 30 matches now. Results talk and bull-s**t walks amigo. That's the reality!!!

"The president deserves all the credit for our success"? Oh really? He prepares the team, the tactics etc etc? What are you talking about.. You seriously think just putting 11 talented players on the pitch guarantees results? The fact is, the way Benfica are a totally attack-minded, positive team is all down to JJ and the tactics he has brought to the club...a much different Benfica under him than the Benfica of Sanchez Flores, Camacho, Santos, etc etc before...

Sure this hugely attacking approach backfired somewhat last season because our defence (and defensive midfield) were not good enough...this season that has been impressively rectified and what a difference it has made. But no that's down to the president too right? The rest of us will carry on enjoying these exciting times, while you carry on complaining after we've scored 17 goals in the last 4 matches! Forca Benfica e viva otimismo...
8 Sunday, 15 January 2012 08:29
before we start praising rui costa remember he spent 4 mil on balboa and what about paying 5 mil for enzo perez
Too hard to admit...
7 Sunday, 15 January 2012 05:13
Why is it so difficult to admit that I might be right..

I never said JJ was garbage I just said that he makes everything look more difficult than it should with the assets he has.

I even said before the season started that this team is JJ proof.. because of the depth of talent.. especially some great Portuguese gems that never play.

I championed these notions.. when others suggested otherwise..

play 4-4-2 with two strikers... against the weak play 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 with one striker against the tougher squads till you gain control and then sub some offence in.

I don't have a problem with Nico besides the fact he is started ahead of Nolito who is superior.. everyone forgets that he has 8 goals almost all from games he started.. for scoring so much he was benched in favour of Cesar & Gaitan.. who is an AM also.. now I personally would've sat Aimar or Gaitan not Nolito.

At that point when Nolito was a sub and had no playing time people said he was below form. How can you score or assist sitting on the bench. Tools.

I also stated that this team can win efficiently without Aimar.. not because he is playing poorly because this has been his best season for Benfica.. we have different options depending on where the game is.. I still think the best option at AM is Gaitan.. he is not a good winger not because he can't cross as he did today.. it is because he doesn't defend.. and when you add Aimar.. it creates huge holes in our defence. No matter what anyone says.. Nolito does defend..

Also Luisao's error was a deflection and he was lucky to get his head on it and unlucky that it deflected in.. that was uncontrollable what was controllable was that Emerson got beat easily because he was out of position.. as I have stated before Emerson works hard and has had some good games of late.. but against good players he is a gaping flesh wound and will cost us.. he is the perfect sub.. not your bonafide starter. Luis martins deserves more matches if Emerson is your number 1.

Javi like Petit has some skills but is a liability at times because of his positioning.. and creates massive holes that result in goals.. the reason people love him as they did Petit is because every once in a while he lays out a hard tackle. Matic is smarter.. and combined with Witsel.. is excellent.

Again Javi is not completely useless.. he is very usable.. but considering the hype he gets he is extremely over-rated for a team that isn't as good defensively as we were two seasons ago.. when Ramires covered for him.

Credit where credit is due.. JJ has now learned that you have to play different formations.. depending on the opposition and dependent of the time in the game.

This is a huge step forward.. from a few seasons ago. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks.. but I am still not convinced that he knows who his best players are.

Sitting out Aimar, Javi & Gaitan has more to do with they are on the market and are prized commodities that might all leave.. this is not a stroke of genius or a realization of who his best players are. If all 3 go he might be forced to play his best players every night.

As in the past with starting Coentrao as a LB this is forced mastery.

Easily winning against weak opposition with this squad is an easy task, that has only happened on a couple of occasions this season. Coincidentally it was when they were in a 4-4-2 with two strikers and inserted some of the players I mentioned.

It is not rocket science we should be doing what Porto did last season and winning easily with this squad.

This brings us to Rui Costa.. god bless him but he is only an ambassador for the club.. a statesman lets say.. he is a figurehead.. he does not really do any business.. he like a politician just shakes some hands.. and takes some pictures. Now I know some of you are really bobbing hard because of his playing career but the truth is they almost ran him out this season.. so to lay the success and brilliance of these purchases on him is imaginative at best.

LFV is the decision maker everything goes through him... he makes a lot of mistakes and says many stupid things.. I haven't been his biggest fan I used to say he had a Russian Roulette style of purchasing.. but clearly over the last 4 years he has tightened that up.. and almost all of his purchases of late have been gold including the Porkchops that will never see action under JJ.

Give respect where it is deserved.. for both LFV & PDC that have taken two Portuguese teams into the top ten clubs in the world.. that is amazing.

In saying that JJ deserves some credit too.. and all I've ever said is that he makes everything look harder than it is. While many want to nuthold.. they don't appreciate the real stars that have brought the results..

Where would the results be this year.. if Cardozo didn't continue to lead the league in goals.. if Nolito did not bring his 8 goals.. if JJ's hand picked Chicken Roberto wasn't dispatched.. masterfully by LFV for more money than what we bought him for after such a horrendus season.. and Artur was not brought in to stand on his head.. although I still say Eduardo is his equal.. and never starts.. but that is the depth of this squad.

Rodrigo also I championed.. when Saviola was our number one at the beginning of the season ahead of both that started today.. and as soon as he was brought in he poached goals..

JJ can pick the worst squad that we have in the worst formation.. and we can still draw or win by a single goal.

That credit goes to LFV.. even if he played all the Portuguese players we could still win.. the majority of players we have are aces.. that is purchasing.. because let's be honest Benfica has developed almost no players.. they are either ready for prime time or are not.

JJ is just the jester on the sideline.. entertaining the crowds with his conductor theatrics.. AVB would have us 10 points ahead of where we are now.. Mourinho & Paciencia would have this puppy wrapped already..

We have some of the best positional players in the Liga.. FACT.. some of them are even on the bench.

Now if you minus out JJ & Javi.. which I know are contentious subjects.. you have to admit everything that I have stated is correct.

I don't have to say I told you so.. I don't get paid millions to manage a great squad that is on the verge of something special.
6 Sunday, 15 January 2012 00:39
To get another comfortable victory with big players missing and this shows again how strong our squad is, there's a great unity and spirit in the whole squad, the way Matic's goal was scored and celebrated by the players showed this clearly. The first goal was sublime, both the deft through-pass from Witsel and the outstanding finish from Nolito! Cardozo starting to get on a goal-scoring role, you give him service in the box and he rarely dissapoints!

Aimar has been having his best season for us so far, but it is great to see how we can play different formations and tactics without him in the team. Cesar or Axel can step in easily, we have three great options for that position, even four if you consider Gaitan. Although unlike other posters, i still think Gaitan is good from wide areas because his crossing and distribution into the box is fantastic.

There is great competition for most positions in the squad, but it's healthy competition and the squad looks very unified right now. JJ, no matter what Orlando and others say, has done a great job after the dissapointment of last season, to create a great winning spirit and having us playing a very high level both at home and in the champions league. Great stuff, let's keep it going...
thank you JJ
5 Sunday, 15 January 2012 00:22
i would like to thank JORGE JESUS for this great season that he has helped Benfica accomplish so far he is the first manager in 18 years to go undefeated in the first half of the season .He is doing great he is picking the right players and Benfica is doing amazing so far Rodrigo is looking like saviola from two years ago when him and cardozo were working magic now the same is happening rodrigo has been great with cardozo.and of course Rui Costa is to thank but some people dont wont to accept that yea lfv might make the final decision but theirs no denying what rui costa has done on and off the pitch for our Great club as far as i am concerned JJ is doing the right things right now and still cant convince some people but hey as long as Benfica is winning im happy haven't had a coach like this in years once jj leaves we will see how much we miss him trust me we will
How about Nolito i like to read comments on ABOLA and when Nolito wasn't playing everyone was calling him a flop i bet he is shutting their mouths lol he is one hell of a player.
Benfica proved today we can win comfortably even without some key players i mean aimar garay and Javi garcia make a serious difference but we didnt see to much of that too we have great depth and it was proved i never have seen why people have criticized NICO he is great to me and came on and got a very nice assist FORCA BENFICA
RE OMac and RE Figueirido comments
4 Saturday, 14 January 2012 23:53
You are hilarious. First off, Emerson has played really well this year and has surpassed expectations. Second, JJ and Rui deserve the credit not LFV.

Does anyone else think that changing the liga to 18 teams is going to better it? I think its ridiculous. Poor turn outs for most of the teams and he thinks that adding two teams will benefit the liga? If anything, they should make it a 14 team liga.
3 Saturday, 14 January 2012 23:37
i think luisao was slightly more at fault than emerson for the goal. not the fact that he turned it in, but it was a terrible clearance.

and don't forget, it was gaitan who crossed for matic's goal
2 Saturday, 14 January 2012 21:33
Excellent performance in front of an almost full Estadio da Luz. 3 Key players missing + Nico starting on the bench and we still managed to score 4 great goals and play classy. Great victory.
Forca Benfica!!!!!!
4-4-2 against poor teams...
1 Saturday, 14 January 2012 21:10
Who would've think that Benfica could win a game by more than one goal playing some of their more elite players..

Some of the players I have lauded this year..

Cardozo 2 goals..
Nolito 1 goal
Matic 1 Goal..

No Aimar..

Gaitan only at the end..

and no Javi...

Emerson of course made the mistake which cost us the goal..

I still say Rodrigo & Cardozo will not play together.. you need a playmaker like Oliveira to play between them but of course.. Saviola's overplayed ass.. was led out..

David Simao too could've got a sniff.. anyways the result counts.. and when JJ listens.. results happen.. he should visit PortuGoal.com more often.. besides teaching formations and player selection we can teach him how to appreciate talent and play them in great areas...

LFV has made this year an easy result.. not even the floater can get in their way.

Forca Benfica....

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