Sheffield United and Newcastle search for much-needed points amid dreadful form
Sheffield United 1-1 Newcastle
Sheffield United finally earned their first win of the season in their FA Cup match at the weekend.
It was their first victory in 18 attempts across all competitions this season, and it was only against League One side Bristol Rovers, but it will give Chris Wilder’s men a measure of confidence now they have secured their first win of the campaign.
In previous seasons, we have seen countless teams perform well in the cup matches despite their league form lagging. For now, United must turn their attention to the league and gathering more points.
Newcastle, although sitting eight points ahead of the bottom three, are in dreadful form themselves, with no win in seven and with just two points coming from the last 15 available. They were also defeated by Arsenal in their FA Cup fixture which will certainly not help their confidence.
This will be a tight game, but could be Sheffield United’s best chance of a win in the league so far.
Form Guide (all comps): DLLLW
Reasons to be cheerful:
A confidence boosting win in the FA Cup could help league form
Newcastle are not in great shape themselves
Reasons to be fearful:
Still without a clean sheet to their name
A number of injury concerns
Sheffield United’s players will have been delighted at their win in the FA Cup at the weekend. Often, just one positive result is enough for struggling sides to turn their season around.
It happened to Aston Villa last season, having been on a dreadful run of form and looking set for relegation, pulled off a brilliant win against Arsenal which set in motion a comeback which kept them in the league.
There is a very long way back for Sheffield United, but with Newcastle not in the best of form, The Blades will be hoping they can bring that victory form here.
They must tighten up at the back, of course. They are yet to keep a clean sheet this season and although Newcastle have their own problems, will fancy their chances of getting past the Blades here.
Star Man – David McGoldrick
Remains United’s top scorer and made an important assist in the cup win at the weekend.
Form Guide (all comps): LLDLL
Reasons to be cheerful
Played well against Arsenal despite defeat
Absent players are starting to return
Reasons to be fearful
Without a win in seven matches is worrying form
Sheffield United will be hard for Magpies to break down
Newcastle and their manager Steve Bruce have come under increasing pressure for their perceived negative style of play in recent weeks.
They might as well have not bothered coming out onto the pitch against Manchester City last month, while their performances against Leicester and Arsenal have been marginally improved.
Sitting eight points ahead of relegation, they face a pivotal moment in their season, one which could cement their safety, or drag them closer to danger. Having been dumped out of both League and FA Cups means that they can now focus solely on the league.
Despite having one or two good forward players, such as Wilson and Almiron, the Magpies have managed only two goals from their last six matches, a poor return for such an established side.
Sheffield United will not make it easy for them to score here.
Star Man – Callum Wilson
Remains Newcastle’s best attacker, but must get better service from those around him
A very tight match with few chances
If there is a winner, one goal will separate the sides
Could end up a draw
With the quality of players at Newcastle’s disposal, they should be scoring with greater regularity than they are currently managing.
Callum Wilson could be a 20 goal a season man at a top six club and Newcastle must be careful not to waste his talents by playing so negatively.
Sheffield United will not make it easy for them here, and this looks set to be a close match.
Sheffield United 1-1 Newcastle