Newcastle United vs Sheffield United
Venue: St James’ Park
Referee: Michael Oliver
The Magpies host the Blades this Saturday as Wilder’s men continue to strive for a top-four finish.
Last time out, the Magpies were victorious on the South Coast as they beat the Saints 1-0. Allan Saint-Maximin scored a 79th-minute winner which saw Steve Bruce’s side win their first game in six matches. The Blades came out on top against Norwich last week meaning they are still on track for a Champions League spot. Billy Sharp scored the only goal of the game, meaning Wilder’s side kept a clean sheet and earned another three vital points.
Steve Bruce will want to harness the momentum from their last win to make it difficult for the Blades at St James’ Park. The Magpies will need the atmosphere to be buzzing as they are the joint lowest goal scorers in the league with Norwich, scoring only 25 goals. The Blades, on the other hand, have conceded the second least amount of goals so far – due to their rock-solid defence, so Newcastle will need to be firing on all cylinders if they are to get anything from Saturday’s game.
Sheffield United are unbeaten in their last four league games and have lost only twice away from home – against Liverpool and Manchester City. United will be relishing the fact that Newcastle are poor defensively – the Magpies have conceded 41 goals so far this season.
However, the Blades don’t have the most formidable attack as from their last five games, they have won by only one goal. So this weekend’s game could be a quite low scoring, but if Bruce’s side take the front foot it could leave them defensively vulnerable.
Last time these sides met Newcastle came out on top, winning 2-0 at Bramall Lane. The Magpies were previously spurned on by their travelling fans who helped them towards the three points. But this time might be a completely different story, as this Saturday’s clash could be played behind closed doors. Newcastle United are still awaiting official guidance from both the government and the Premier League ahead of this weekend, so it could be played in front of an empty stadium due to the coronavirus. This would potentially help the Blades who are away from home and therefore wouldn’t have to face the home crowd.
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Darlow; Manquillo, Fernández, Lascelles, Rose; Hayden, Shelvey; Ritchie, Almirón, Saint-Maximin; Joelinton
Sheffield United ( 3-5-2): Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Osborn; Mcburnie, Sharp
Score Prediction: Newcastle United 1-1 Sheffield United
The Blades have been fantastic this season and Newcastle haven’t really got going. That said, they are clear of relegation and there is little pressure on them to perform. Steve Bruce will look to approach this game quite offensively, starting in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but it is never simple against Wilder’s side and I expect the Blades to make it a tough game.