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3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0

4 weeks ago
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Wednesday night ended Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0.

Not a classic for the return of fans to St James Park after 15 months away but it was a victory, achieved via a very good assist and finish, whilst Allan Saint-Maximin did his best to entertain the 10,000 inside the ground.

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

Hearing the roar

The overwhelming positive sight was the return of supporters inside St James Park for the first time in more than a year.

The roadmap out of lockdown allowed 10,000 into the ground and it was a beautiful sight, because football is nothing with the fans.

To hear the roar, the singing, the celebrations for the winning goal, felt like a step on the road back to normality and the hope that one day soon we will see 52,000 at the game.

No ordinary Joe

Willock did it again. What a cracking player. His sixth goal in as many games from midfield.

The Arsenal loanee has ben a big reason why this football club hasn’t been relegated. He’s played with a smile on his face, applied himself well and really bought into and fully embraced his time at the club.

And all despite the fact there was a run of games where Steve Bruce left him out of the starting eleven and many of his goals were cameos from the bench. If we’d had him since the start of the season he’d be in double figures in the goal column.

The lad can finish with boot and head. He’s got a big future and the Gunners have a big decision to make on his future, because he has shown them that he can thrive with regular games.

The asking price could be the problem for Mike Ashley if Arsenal ask for £20m+.

End of season fare

It has been a hard slog of a season, so it was nice to have a game at the end that didn’t come with a tonne of pressure.

It was a kick about and one I think we all felt that NUFC could shade.

NEGATIVES

Bruce ball

The fact of the matter is that Steve Bruce managed to keep us in the Premier League.

The style of some – though not all – games has been hard to watch. I still don’t really know if he has a football philosophy as a manager. He’s like Pardew, he’s horses for courses, and won’t sound off if the owner wants to sell players or block incoming deals if they’re too expensive.

There were parts of the game tonight that were dross against a relegated side.

Bruce was booed at the end. He’s said things about fan expectations that he acknowledges came out wrong.

Given that, and what happened during that abject run of two wins from twenty one, it was always likely to happen.

Sadly, it may happen next season too.

Walking wounded

Three players injured.

Dubravka, ASM and Willock. It’s a real shame to see that many dropping down after we also lost Wilson last week.

It’s a good job there is only one game left to go.

Allan

The flying Frenchman is our best player. His part in the goal showcased that fact and he ran Sheff Utd ragged at times.

It comes with a BUT.

He’s given an interview where he rightly questions the ambition of Newcastle United as a football club.

Battling to beat the drop, when he probably watched what Leicester City did at the weekend lifting the FA Cup.

Will we see ASM play for Newcastle again? The big worry is that we won’t and after the dust settles on the season he will submit a transfer request.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0 – Wednesday 19 May 6pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Willock 45+4

Sheff Utd:

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Sheff Utd 50% (34%) Newcastle 50% (66%)

Total shots were Sheff Utd 11 (2)  Newcastle 16 (12)

Shots on target were Sheff Utd 1 (0) Newcastle 5 (4)

Corners were Sheff Utd 2 (0) Newcastle 5 (4)

Referee: Robert Jones

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Krafth, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Willock (Carroll 85), Almiron, Saint-Maximin (Sean Longstaff 71), Joelinton (Gayle 45)

Unused Subs:

Mark Gillespie, Ciaran Clark, Jeff Hendrick, Javier Manquillo, Matty Longstaff, Jamal Lewis

Crowd: 10,000

(Steve Bruce reflects on performance against Sheffield United and abuse from Newcastle fans – Read HERE)

(Sheffield United boss gutted to lose after having been ‘in control of the game’ against Newcastle – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Wednesday’s win – Read HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton

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