Newcastle United vs Sheffield United – Preview

Sheffield United will be officially relegated from the Premier League if they don’t come away with a victory against Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon. While the home side will be hoping to claw there way back into top six contention.

Newcastle United’s woes continue to deepen as they succumbed to their 10th away league defeat of the season, falling 2-0 to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. The Magpies’ lack of a cutting edge in the final third proved to be their undoing, with Jean-Philippe Mateta’s second-half brace sealing the victory for the Eagles.

The defeat sees Newcastle slipping to seventh in the Premier League table, clinging to a precarious two-point lead over eighth-placed West Ham United, who have a game in hand. Furthermore, they find themselves trailing sixth-placed Manchester United by three points, with the Red Devils securing a 4-2 win over Newcastle’s upcoming opponents, Sheffield United, at Old Trafford in midweek.

Sheffield United, despite enduring a difficult campaign, showed resilience and fighting spirit in their midweek clash against Manchester United. Although ultimately defeated 4-2, the Blades showcased moments of quality, taking the lead twice through goals from Jayden Bogle and Ben Brereton-Diaz. However, they were unable to withstand Bruno Fernandes’ inspired performance, as the Portuguese midfielder spearheaded Manchester United’s comeback with two goals and an assist to secure the win.

Team news

The Magpies welcomed Callum Wilson back from injury in midweek as the striker saw action for the final 25 minutes. Meanwhile, Tino Livramento and Miguel Almiron could miss Saturday’s fixture.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has confirmed that Oli McBurnie will miss the rest of the season with a groin injury. McBurnie could have played his final game for the club as his contract is set to expire in the summer.

Additionally Jayden Bogle and James McAtee could miss out on the trip to the North East.

Players to watch

It’s difficult to look away from Newcastle’s talisman Alexander Isak. I genuinely believe he is the most complete forward in the Premier League. He can hold off defenders, skip past them, supply his teammates, and he score any type of goal. The Swedish international has scored 17 goals in 22 starts in the league this campaign.

Remarkably, Isak has scored in his last six games at home, Andy Cole and Alan Shearer are the only other players to have scored more, consecutively, at St James’ Park.

The Blades have an in-form forward of their own to boast about. Ben Brereton-Diaz has drastically improved the Sheffield United threat having scored five goals in ten Premier League appearances since joining them on loan in January. When the Chilean plays, the Blades average 1.5 goals per game. Without him, they average 0.8.

With injury woes at the back for Newcastle to contend with, Brereton-Diaz could find himself in a situation against a makeshift defender and with the form he’s in you’d bank on him getting the better of his man and carving out a goalscoring chance.

Key stats

Newcastle United’s home form has been a beacon of positivity in an otherwise challenging season, as they have found the back of the net in all 17 top-flight fixtures at St. James’ Park, accumulating a remarkable 43-goal tally, the highest since the 1996/97 season.

The Magpies boast an impressive record against Sheffield United having emerged victorious in seven of their last eight league encounters, with the lone exception being a narrow 1-0 defeat away in January 2021.

Conversely, Sheffield United’s defensive struggles have been glaring, conceding a staggering 92 goals in the Premier League this campaign, setting an unwanted record as the side to concede the most goals in a 38-game season in the competition’s history.

Furthermore, their away woes continue to haunt them, having lost 16 of their last 18 top-flight away fixtures played on a Saturday, with only recent matches against Luton and Bournemouth providing respite from their dismal run.

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