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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 3 Sheffield United 0

4 months ago
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Sunday afternoon ended Newcastle 3 Sheffield United 0.

Newcastle United edging the first half and then taking full advantage of an early second half red card for the visitors.

Three goals in 23 minutes delivering a restart win, also the biggest winning scoreline of the season, so far…

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 Jack Lacey-Hatton:

POSITIVES

Three points and three goals

Any win would have been hugely important in the first game back after the restart, but to do it with three goals, three different goalscorers and a clean sheet, was nothing short of outstanding.

It was our biggest league victory of the season and one of the best performances, certainly at St James Park.

The fact Joelinton even got on the scoresheet for only the second time in the league, just topped off a perfect victory. It virtually secures Premier League safety for another season, and hopefully will give Steve Bruce a chance to really attack the quarter-final against Manchester City, without any lingering threat of relegation.

Players looking sharp (particularly Saint-Maximin)

I was pleasantly surprised, considering it was our first proper game in three months, just how sharp some of the players looked.

Allan Saint-Maximin in particular stole the show, looking like he had never been away. His touch and dribbling was a constant threat to the Blades defence and he thoroughly deserved his goal.

He wasn’t the only one. Hayden ran the midfield, Ritchie covered as much ground as ever, and Danny Rose had one of his best games in a Newcastle shirt. In general, I was surprised by how many of our lads looked like they had never been away. Hopefully they carry that into the next month.

Football is back!

This would have been a positive regardless of the result today. It’s an obvious one but it is an important point regardless.

After three months without football during an incredibly dark time for many, it was great to be able to watch our team again.

United can be difficult to follow at times as we all know but I think the last few months have made everyone realise how much you miss it when it’s gone. Football can provide light relief during these times and we shouldn’t shy away from how important it is to many peoples lives.

NEGATIVES

We were fortunate two big incidents Went Our way

We didn’t play poorly in the first half but it was hardly an inspiring forty five minutes of football, though in fairness this has been the case in many of the games since the restart.

Joelinton’s miss summed up our display in the first period, with no real sign that much would be between the teams. The sending off of John Egan was the correct decision, it did change the game in our favour.

Incidentally, why was he pulling our number 9’s shirt is anyone’s guess, did he really think Joelinton would score?

From that point we were able to seize control of the game. More comical defending helped give us the lead. We still might have had a much tougher last half an hour if Billy Sharp headed in one of the best chances of the match, rather than putting it wide of the post.

If either of these moments had gone the way of Chris Wilder’s side the final score would have been much tighter.

The opposition will get better

Despite playing on Wednesday, Sheffield United were sluggish and moved the ball slowly throughout. They never really stretched our defence to any significant degree and were sloppy in midfield.

Many of their fans regarded it as the Blades’ worse performance of the season.

With a Villa side fighting for Premier League survival and Pep’s Manchester City to come in the next week, I would be surprised if the games aren’t about to get much tougher.

No fans

Football is back and in any form that is a positive.

The sight of an empty St James Park however, was a stark reminder that things are still not quite as they should be. Football is still something, but is certainly not the same without the fans, and it was hard to forget that yesterday.

Forget the ‘new normal’, nothing about this is normal or right.

I know we all have to deal with it for the remaining games of 2019-20. I do hope though, that when next season is underway again in September or October we can all return to the cathedral on the hill and get our weekend routine back.

You can have all the artificial crowd noise you want, it will never quite have that same feeling.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 3 Sheffield United 0  – Sunday 21 June 2pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Saint-Maximin 55, Ritchie 69, Joelinton 78

Sheff Utd:

Red card for Egan 50

Possession was Sheff Utd 54% Newcastle 46%

Total shots were Sheff Utd 7 Newcastle 12

Shots on target were Sheff Utd 1 Newcastle 8

Corners were Sheff Utd 4 Newcastle 2

Referee: David Coote

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Rose, Hayden, Shelvey (Schar 85), Ritchie (Yedlin 90+2), Almiron (Lazaro 85), Joelinton (Carroll 79), Saint-Maximin (Bentaleb 79)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Gayle, Muto, Krafth

Crowd: 00,000

(Read Jamie Smith’s excellent Newcastle 3 Sheffield United 0 match report HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction to 3-0 win – Read it HERE)

(Match comments and ratings on all Newcastle players – Read HERE)

(Watch official match highlights from Newcastle 3 Sheffield United 0 HERE)

(Chris Wilder blames key decision for 3-0 defeat – Read HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @JackLaceySport

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