The restart of Liga Nos: Everyone wants to stop the Eagle’s flight

After a very active summer on the backstage, the main actors of the beautiful game that is football will be back in action in Portugal, with the return of the league, on the same weekend where the Super Cup (Supertaca Candido de Oliveira) is going to be decided in Aveiro, between champions Benfica and Portuguese cup runners up VSC.

Rui Vitoria’s team has had a pre-season that has made some alarm bells wake up, with the obvious main worry being the fact that Benfica has lost 3 out of 5 of their starters in the back line (including the keeper) from last season, and where most of Benfica’s strength lied. But, without the likes of Ederson, Nelson Semedo or Victor Lindelof, the Eagles seem to be still trying to find their ground, and this match will be extremely important to bring up the morale levels to a more appropriate one for a club that will be defending yet another title this season.

It’s a match where Benfica plays a lot for their beginning of the season, as they are expected to win fairly easily, but losing a title this early in the season, specially a title that you are almost obliged to win to the public eye, might be a problem in morale.

The Supertaca is played on Saturday, and Sunday is the return of Liga Nos, with one of the title contenders having the honours of playing on the first day. Sporting will travel to newly-promoted Desp. Aves, and much like Benfica, it’s in the defensive side of things that Jorge Jesus’ team has struggled in pre-season. But, the last matches against Fiorentina and Monaco were a bit more promising, and with Bas Dost being now accompanied by Doumbia and the Argentinian Marcos Acuna (Best player in the Argentinian League 2017), if Sporting can get their heads together in the back, and also hold on to players such as William Carvalho or Gelson, the Lions can start the league warning their opponents they have come to get back to title glory.

FC Porto will be the last of the big to get into action, only next Wednesday, same day where Benfica starts their league. Oddly enough, it was expected that Porto would be the team struggling in preseason, being that Sergio Conceicao is a newly appointed manager, whilst his rivals Rui Vitoria and Jorge Jesus have been at their clubs for two full seasons now. And yet, if there was a team that seemed ready for league fixtures to come sooner rather than later, it was the Dragoes, with Aboubakar, returning from a loan at Besiktas, will spearhead Porto’s attack after the departure of Andre Silva to Italy.

Below you can find a recap of all the ins and outs in Liga Nos squads, and also a prediction of the starting XI, at least for their starting matches. And now we just have to wait for the ball to, finally, roll

BENFICA

Ins: Seferovic (Frankfurt), Krovinovic (Rio Ave), Chrien (Viktoria Plzen), Cristián Arango (Millonarios), Bruno Varela (V. Setúbal) e Chris Willock (Arsenal).

Outs: Ederson (Manchester City), Linelof (Manchester United), Jovic (Frankfurt), Nélson Semedo (Barcelona) e Cristián Arango (Desp. Aves).

Predicted XI: Júlio César; André Almeida, Luisão, Jardel e Grimaldo; Salvio, Fejsa, Pizzi e Cervi; Jonas e Seferovic

FC PORTO

Ins: Vaná (Feirense).

Outs: André Silva (Milan), Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton), Depoitre (Huddersfield), Chidozie (Nantes), Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton), Boly (Wolverhampton), José Angel (Eibar).

Predicted XI: Casillas; Ricardo, Felipe, Marcano e Alex Telles; Danilo; Corona, Óliver e Brahimi; Aboubakar e Soares.

SPORTING

Ins: André Pinto (Sp. Braga), Piccini (Bétis), Mattheus Oliveira (Estoril), Battaglia (Sp. Braga), Bruno Fernandes (Sampdoria), Doumbia (Roma), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), Mathieu (Barcelona), Acuña (Racing Avellaneda) e Salin (Guingamp).

Outs: Rúben Semedo (Villarreal), Jefferson (Sp. Braga), Ricardo Esgaio (Sp. Braga), Joel Campbell (Arsenal), Spalvis (Kaiserslautern), Paulo Oliveira (Eibar), Beto (Goztepe).

Predicted XI: Rui Patrício; Piccini, Coates, Mathieu e Fábio Coentrão; Gelson, William, Adrien e Marcos Acuña; Doumbia e Bas Dost.

V. GUIMARÃES

Ins: Estupiñan (Once Caldas), Francisco Ramos (FC Porto B) e Rúben Oliveira (Feirense).

Outs: Bruno Gaspar (Fiorentina), Hernâni (FC Porto), Marega (FC Porto), Prince (Amiens), Ruben Ferreira (Desp. Chaves), Bernard (Atlético Madrid), João Afonso (Córdoba), Ricardo Valente (Marítimo).

Predicted XI: Miguel Silva; João Aurélio, Josué, Pedrão e Konan; Celis e Zungu; Hélder Ferreira, Hurtado e Raphinha; Estupiñán.

SP. BRAGA

Ins: Raúl Silva (Marítimo), Fransérgio (Marítimo), Dyego Souza (Marítimo), Paulinho (Gil Vicente), Sequeira (Nacional), Esgaio e Jefferson (Sporting), Filipe Ferreira (Oliveirense), Rui Silva (Desp. Chaves), Bruno Viana (Olympiakos) e André Moreira (Atl. Madrid)

Outs: Cartabia (D. Corunha), André Pinto (Sporting), Xeka (Lille), Battaglia (Sporting), Battaglia (Sporting), Alan (end of career), Gamboa (Marítimo), Rodrigo Pinho (Marítimo), Paulinho (Desp. Chaves), Velázquez (Getafe), Artur Jorge (Mouscron).

Predicted XI: Matheus; Esgaio, Ricardo Ferreira, Raúl e Jefferson; Pedro Santos, Fransérgio, Danilo e Wilson Eduardo; Rui Fonte e Hassan.

MARÍTIMO

Ins: Fábio Pacheco (V. Setúbal), Rick Sena (Cruzeiro), Pablo Santos (Paysandu), Fabrício Baiano (Coritiba), Piqueti (Sp. Braga), Bebeto (Moto Club), Ibson (Ermis), Gamboa (Sp. Braga), Rodrigo Pinho (Sp. Braga), Viktor Lundberg (Randers), Everton (Manama Club) e Ricardo Valente (V. Guimarães).

Outs: Raúl Silva (Sp. Braga), Fransérgio (Sp. Braga), Dyego Sousa (Sp. Braga), Patrick (V. Setúbal out on loan from Benfica), Deyvison (Arouca), Seidi (Sp. Covilhã), Alex Soares (Omonia), Xavier (Paços Ferreira), Maurício (Urawa Red Diamonds).

Predicted XI: Charles; Bebeto, Zainadine, Pablo Santos e Luís Martins; Gamboa, Erdem Sem e Éber Bessa; Edgar Costa, Rodrigo Pinho e Ghazaryan.

RIO AVE

Ins: Nuno Santos (Benfica), Pelé (Benfica), Yuri Ribeiro (Benfica), Marcão (At. Paranaense), Karamanos (Panionios), Óscar Barreto (Millonarios), Gabrielzinho (Linense) e Francisco Geraldes (loan Sporting).

Outs: Roderick (Wolverhampton), Krovinovic (Benfica), Gil Dias (Mónaco), Traoré (Mónaco); Gonçalo Paciência (V. Setúbal out on loan from FC Porto), Rafa (FC Porto), Vilas Boas (End of career), Pedrinho (Desp. Aves), Kizito (Al Nassr), Jebor (CSM Politehnica) e Heldon (Sporting).

Predicted XI: Cássio; Lionn, Marcão, Marcelo e Bruno Teles; Tarantini e Francisco Geraldes; Gabrielzinho, Rúben Ribeiro e Nuno Santos; Guedes.

FEIRENSE

Ins: Kiki (Olhanense), Bruno Nascimento (Omonia), Gustavo Ermel (Figueirense), Alphonse (Gil Vicente), Zé Pedro (Sanjoanense), António Briseño (Veracruz), Luís Henrique (Atl. Paranaense), José Valencia (Independiente Santa Fé) e Caio Secco;

Outs: Vítor Bruno (Boavista), Platiny (Desp. Chaves), Peçanha (AC. Viseu), Pelé (Rio Ave), Ricardo Dias (Belenenses), Karamanos (Panionios), Vaná (FC Porto).

Predicted XI: Caio Secco; Jean Sony, Flávio Ramos, Bruno Nascimento e Kakuba; Cris, Babanco e Tiago Silva; Luís Machado, José Valência e Etebo.

BOAVISTA

Ins: Vítor Bruno (Feirense), Assis (Leixões), Raphael Rossi (Swindon Town, Inglaterra), Alex Rodriguez (Wellington Phoenix, da Nova Zelândia), Raphael Spiegel (West Ham), Stéphane Sparagna (Marselha), Mateus (Arouca); Yusupha Njie (Rabat), Tahar (Gaz Metan), Ricardo Clarke (Zamora), Robson (Esporte Bahia) e Leonardo Ruiz (loan Sporting).

Outs: Anderson Correia (Nea Salamis Chp), Anderson Carvalho (FC Tosno), Carlos Santos, Digas, Idé, Iuri Medeiros (Sporting), Lucas Tagliapietra (LDU Quinto), Mbala, Mohamed Daf, Schembri (Apollon Limassol), Tengarrinha (Politehnica (Iasi), Philipe Sampaio (Akhmat Grozny), Lovro Medic, Mickael Meira, Idé Colubali (FK Jerv)

Predicted XI: Vagner; Edu Machado, Rossi, Sparagna e Talocha; Idris e Tahar; Renato Santos, Fábio Espinho e Ricardo Clarke; Leonardo Ruiz.

ESTORIL

Ins: Jorman Aguilar (Olhanense), Aylton Boa Morte (Salgueiros), Lucas Evangelista (Udinese), João Grugel (1º Dezembro), Pedro Monteiro (Sp. Braga) e Wesley (Paysandú).

Outs: Bazelyuk (CSKA Moscovo), Mattheus Oliveira (Sporting), Licá (Nottingham Forest), João Afonso (Córdoba), Diogo Amado (Al Gharafa), Bruno Gomes, Yartchuk (Leixões), Ailton (Estugarda), Afonso Taira (Hapoel Kiryat Shmona), Dankler (Lens).

Predicted XI: Moreira; Mano, Pedro Monteiro, Gonçalo Brandão e Joel; Allano, Eduardo, Lucas Evangelista e André Claro; Kléber e Carlinhos.

DESP. CHAVES

Ins: Wilmar Jordan (CSKA Sofia), Furlan e Foguinho (Grémio Anápolis) e Luís Castro (Rio Ave), Platiny (Feirense), Anderson Conceição (São Bernardo), Tiago Galvão (Borac Cacak), Paulinho (Sp. Braga), Ruben Ferreira (V. Guimarães), Kuspiosz (São Martinho), Jefferson (Hajduk Split), Filipe Melo (Sheffield Wednesday), Domingos Duarte (loan Sporting), Matheus Pereira (loan Sporting), Jorginho Intima (loan Saint-Étienne).

Outs: Petrovic, Nélson Lenho (Desp. Aves), Fábio Martins (Sp. Braga), Rafael Lopes (Omonia); João Mário (Ac. Viseu).

Predicted XI: Ricardo Nunes; Paulinho, Domingos Duarte, Nuno André Coelho e Rúben Ferreira; Pedro Tiba, Filipe Melo e Bressan; Perdigão, Wilmar Jordán e Matheus Pereira.

V. SETÚBAL

Ins: Willyan (Nacional), Rafinha (Amarante), Tomás Podstawski (FC Porto B), Allef (Real de Massamá), João Teixeira (loan pelo Benfica), Miguel Lázaro (Benfica Castelo Branco), Cristiano (Belenenses), Patrick (loan Benfica), César (emprestado pelo Benfica), Gonçalo Paciência (loan FC Porto) e Ilija Vukotic (Grabalj).

Outs: Fábio Pacheco (Marítimo), Fábio Cardoso (Glasgow Rangers), Thiago Santana (Santa Clara), Meyong (end of career), João Carvalho (Benfica), Diego Silva (rescisão).

Predicted XI: Pedro Trigueira; Patrick, Frederico Venâncio, Vasco Fernandes e Nuno Pinto; Costinha, Tomás Podstawski e João Teixeira; João Amaral, Edinho e Willyan.

PAÇOS FERREIRA

Ins: Dylan MacGowan (Adelaide United), Hêndrio (Varzim), Gian (U. Madeira), Xavier (Marítimo), André Leão (Valladolid), Awer Mabil (Midtjylland), Quiñones (Junior Barranquilla).

Outs: Minhoca (Santa Clara), Romeu Rocha (Varzim), Cícero (Arouca), Ivo Rodrigues (Royal Antuérpia out on loan from FC Porto), Gegé (Al-Feiha), Filipe Melo (Desp. Chaves), Pedro Monteiro (Estoril), Ricardo Valente (Marítimo), Christian (Nacional).

Predicted XI: Defendi; Bruno Santos, Ricardo, Baixinho e Filipe Ferreira; André Leão e Vasco Rocha; Medeiros, Pedrinho e Xavier; Bruno Moreira.

BELENENSES

Ins: Fredy ( Excelsior ), Filipe Chaby (Sporting), Muriel (Internacional), Sasso (Sheffield Wednesday), Femi Balogun (Desp. Aves), Merlin Tandjigora (Meizhou Hakka), Jesus Hernandez (Deportivo Lara), Bruno Pereirinha (Atl. Paranaense), Cleylton Santos (São Paulo-RS) e Roni Rodrigues (loan São Paulo).

Outs: Edgar Ié (Lille), Cristiano (V. Setúbal), Abel Camará, Domingos Duarte, Rosell (Sporting), Fábio Nunes.

Predicted XI: Muriel Becker; João Diogo, Vicent Sasso, Gonçalo Silva e Florent Hanin; Hassan Yebda, Tandjigora e André Sousa; Diogo Viana, Maurides e Roni Rodrigues.

MOREIRENSE

Ins: Koffi Kouao (ex-Vizela), Bruno Silva (ex-Gil Vicente), Jhonder Cadiz (ex-Nacional), N’sor Kwame (ex-União da Madeira), Iago Santos (Dibba Al-Hisn), Mohamed Aberhoune (Tétuoan), Rúben Lima (U. Madeira), Arsénio (CSKA Sofia), Alfa Semedo (Vilafranquense), Jhonatan (Joinville), Rafael Costa (RB Brasil), Ronaldo Peña (Las Palmas), Belkaroui (Esperança de Tunes), Bruno Ramires (Cruzeiro, loan) e Elsinho (Águias da Musgueira).

Outs: Taborda (end of career), Jander, Diego Galo (Desp. Aves), Nildo Petrolina (Desp. Aves), Rebocho (Guingamp), Marcelo Oliveira (Santa Clara), Cauê (Omiya Ardija), Roberto (Salernitana)

Predicted XI: Jhonatan; Sagna, André Micael, Mohamed e Rúben Lima; Alfa Semedo, Rafael Costa e Arsénio; Ernest, Boateng e Fati.

TONDELA

Ins: Joãozinho (Kortrjik), Tembeng (ES Sétif), João Vasco (Mortágua), Mateusz Zacharaa (Wisla Cracóvia), Ricardo Costa (Luzern); Nick Ansell (Melbourne Victory), Tyler Boyd (V. Guimarães, loan ), Junior Pius (Sanjoanense), Joca (Sp. Braga B, loan ), Fahd Moufi (Sedan) e Tomané (Arouca).

Outs: Pica (Ac. Viseu), Kaká (Varzim), Fernando Ferreira (Ac. Viseu), Lystcov (Benfica), Mamadu Candé (Omonia); Jhon Murillo (Kasimpasa out on loan from Benfica

Predicted XI: Cláudio Ramos; David Bruno, Osorio, Ricardo Costa e Joãozinho; Claude Gonçalves e Hélder Tavares; Wagner, Pedro Nuno e Murilo; Heliardo.

PORTIMONENSE

Ins: Rui Costa (Varzim), Wellington (Penafiel) e Hackman (Boavista), Inácio (FC Porto, loan), Felipe Macedo (Goiás) e Rúben Fernandes (Sint-Truiden).

Outs: Brendon (Académica), Luís Zambujo, Gleison (Penafiel), Amilton (Desp. Aves).

Predicted XI: Ricardo Ferreira; Ricardo Pessoa; Lucas, Felipe Macedo e Lumor Agbenyenu; Fabrício, Paulinho e Pedro Sá; Ewerton, Wellington e Bruno Tabata.

DESP. AVES

Ins: Diego Galo (Moreirense), Nildo Petrolina (Moreirense), Bruno Braga (Desp. Chaves), Adriano Facchini (Nacional), Valdeir Souza (Salgueiro), Federico Falcone(Terengganu), Gonçalo Santos (Dínamo Zagreb), Youssouf Sow (Louletano), Rodrigo (Desp. Chaves); Pedrinho (Rio Ave), Vítor Gomes (Belenenses), José Ricardo Avelar (Rayo Vallecano B), Washington (Nacional), Nélson Lenho (Desp. Chaves), Sami (Arouca), Salvador Agra (Benfica, loan), Rodrigo Defendi (Maribor); Mama Baldé (Sporting B), Amilton (Portimonense), Ricardo Mangas (Benfica B), Ryan Gauld (Sporting, loan) ,Carlos Ponck (Benfica, loan), Derley (Benfica) e Cristián Arango (Benfica, loan).

Outs: Romaric (U. Madeira), Femi Balogun (Belenenses), Ericson e João Amorim (Arouca), Tiago Valente (Varzim), Huns (Sp. Covilhã), Bruno Alves (Arouca), Yaya Bamba (Nacional), Luís Barry (Ac. Viseu), Caetano (Penafiel).

Predicted XI: Adriano Facchini; Rodrigo, Diego Galo, Carlos Ponck e Nélson Lenho; Washington, Braga e Nildo Petrolina; Amilton, Alexandre Guedes e Salvador Agra.

About the Author

Pedro Maria Coito Castano
A football geek that can answer what's the height of that non-league midfielder. With no ability to play the game, but a keen eye to observe it, I've had a minor role as an assistant manager at an U-13 team in Portugal (Belenenses) and did some scouting for CS Maritimo (also from Portugal), and have a need to be ahead of everyone in terms of who the next big star will be