Michael Owen verdict on Steve Bruce and Newcastle United restart
Michael Owen has been talking about Steve Bruce as Newcastle United are set to restart their season on Sunday.
Sheffield United are the visitors to St James Park, a game originally scheduled for 99 days earlier.
It was (appropriately) Friday the 13th (of March) when that original game was cancelled only 24 hours ahead of kick-off.
Like all clubs, Newcastle fans interested to see if their pre-shutdown form bears any resemblance to what they do now, after what has been the equivalent of a close season with no matches. Sheffield United probably having benefited from already restarting, a poor 0-0 draw at Villa where goal line technology and the VAR official robbed them of all three points.
Going into that original date of 14 March 2020 to play Sheffield United, Newcastle were in really poor Premier League form. Only two wins in 11 PL games and when Allan Saint-Maximin scored a late winner against 10 men Southampton in the final game before lockdown, it was the first NUFC goal in over seven and a half hours of Premier League football.
Michael Owen believes it is ‘pretty surprising to hear that Bruce might be ousted if the reported takeover of the Club goes ahead’, a view at odds with an overwhelming number of Newcastle fans.
Owen claim Steve Bruce has ‘done an excellent job’, when in reality only Martin Dubravka and a huge amount of luck has kept Newcastle out of the relegation zone.
Sunday’s match really answers Michael Owen, Newcastle need a win to help ensure no relegation worries, whilst Sheffield United look for a win to improve on their sixth place, hoping to still be a live outsider for a Champions League spot and ensure at least a Europa League qualification position. It is Chris Wilder who has done an excellent job, two promotions for Sheffield United in three seasons and now playing attacking football that has helped bring success in the Premier League as well.
Martin Dubravka was clear man of the match in December when Newcastle won 2-0 in a real smash and grab effort, a game where Sheffield United had 73% possession at Bramall Lane.
You would hope that Steve Bruce will try and get his side playing more attacking football this time and hopefully the result will not depend as much on similar Dubravka heroics.
Michael Owen speaking to BetVictor:
“Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Southampton before the break was their first win in six games in the Premier League.
“But nonetheless I think Steve Bruce has done an excellent job in what has been a difficult season, particularly off the field.
“United look good for Premier League safety and are also into the quarter final of the FA Cup so I think it’s pretty surprising to hear that Bruce might be ousted if the reported takeover of the Club goes ahead.
“Sheffield United are flying high in the league and are unquestionably there on merit but will have been bitterly disappointed that a goal wasn’t given against Aston Villa on Wednesday when the villans’ keeper Orjan Nyland clearly carried the ball over his own line.
“They don’t concede many goals, they grind out results and are brilliant on the eye as well.
“Newcastle won the reverse fixture 2-0 back in December but I fancy this to end in a lively 1-1 draw.”
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