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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Sheffield United 0 Newcastle 2

2 months ago
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Thursday night finished Sheffield United 0 Newcastle 2.

Allan Saint-Maximin producing a very surprising towering header to set Newcastle United on their way.

Then Jonjo Shelvey with a VAR-assisted effort 20 minutes from time to finish the Blades off.

Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.

This time it is David Punton:

POSITIVES

Dubravka

The United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is in great form.

He’s played a vital role in the recent haul points.

At the moment everything is sticking and long may that continue and he has been the bedrock of a team that has somehow hauled itself up the league table.

His heroics against Man City were eclipsed tonight as he had an even better game between the sticks. We’ve had some brilliant custodians down the years and Dubravka is right up there with the best of them.

Local Hero returns

It was a start and an assist for Andy Carroll.

The local hero was preferred instead of the struggling Joelinton and it was the correct decision.

Carroll can bully defenders, he’s tough as teak. Great in the air. Joelinton needs to learn from him.

Leading the line for NUFC is a huge job and Carroll rose to the occasion tonight. As long as he can keep himself fit, something that remains the main sticking point, then he’s a hell of a player for us. Like a Duncan Ferguson figure. Battle hardened.

Allan Saint-Maximin full of surprises

United’s flamboyant French flyer, Allan Saint-Maximin, bagged his first goal for the club and the hope is that opens the floodgates.

He’s had so many chances this season with all at his feet, so it was amusing that he opened his account with a nicely taken header. One of the smallest players on the park too.

He’s a key player for United this season. He’s getting better and better and a great lad too. A fans’ favourite.

NEGATIVES

Many will be astonished I’m putting VAR down as a negative, especially as we were on the right side of that system tonight.

The technology correctly ruling in favour of our goal. Happy days.

But…the bigger picture is that it remains a flawed system in many ways and PGMOL have work to do in order to get it right.

For now, selfishly, we’ll take it. Spurs away and now tonight. Two VAR checks that have gone our way. Will it even up with a VAR shafting? At some point, undoubtedly.

Thursday night football

Playing a league game on a Thursday night is crackers.

That game should have been on Tuesday.

Amazon Prime now have their finger in the pie so that’s more upheaval for fans who travel away. We now play Sunday, so not much rest time.

Stats

Tonight’s possession stats were a worry, only 27%.

Six shots only and four on target, including the two goals.

If I’m being ultra picky I’d like to see us keep the ball a bit better. At times Sheffield Utd were all over us.

Things are very much going Steve Bruce’s way at the moment, something he alluded to after the game.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Sheffield United 0 Newcastle 2  – Thursday 5 December 7.30pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Saint-Maximin 15, Shelvey 70

Possession was Sheff Utd 73%, Newcastle 27%

Total shots were Sheff Utd 13, Newcastle 6

Shots on target were Sheff Utd 6, Newcastle 4

Corners were Sheff Utd 8, Newcastle 1

Crowd: 30,409 (2,900 Newcastle)

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Newcastle team v Sheffield Utd:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Dummett, Clark, Willems, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin (Atsu 81), Almiron (Krafth 88), Carroll (Joelinton 72)

Unused Subs

Darlow, Schar, Sean Longstaff, Gayle

(Sheffield United 0 Newcastle 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Thursday’s win – Read HERE)

(Chris Wilder blames VAR and Steve Bruce’s super negative tactics for defeat at Bramall Lane – Read HERE)

(Sheffield United 0 Newcastle 2 – Watch official match highlights and both goals here! – Read HERE)

(Sheffield United 0 Newcastle 2 – Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players – Read HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton

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