Premier League: Sheffield United v Newcastle United

The Blades picked up their first win of the season on Saturday, beating League One side Bristol Rovers 3-2 in a game where they were twice pegged back by their lower league counterparts.

Shortly after, Newcastle exited the competition after losing 2-0 to Arsenal after extra time, missing a host of chances to win the game within 90 minutes.

As attention turns back to league competition, this game serves as one that both sides will regard as important, with Sheffield United’s time running out to begin their fight against the drop.

They’ve yet to win this season in the league, but will fancy their chances against a Newcastle side that haven’t won any of their last six games in all competitions.

As such, the bookies have Chris Wilder’s side as the favourites to win the match, which outlines just how the Magpies have slumped recently.

Steve Bruce’s back five system remains unpopular with fans, but a back four formation may be used as they target a win against the Blades which could ease the gap between them and the bottom three.

The Newcastle boss confirmed that he left some players out of the visit to Arsenal in order to be fresh for the trip to the Steel City, with Fabian Schar, Karl Darlow and Federico Fernandez all ready to return to the squad. Whether Darlow will get the nod over Martin Dubravka remains to be seen, after the Slovakian stopper turned in an excellent performance at the Emirates on his return from injury.

Allan Saint-Maximin is waiting for COVID guidelines to rule when he can return to training so will miss out, but Jamaal Lascelles got through most of the Arsenal game before being substituted due to fatigue, and could make the squad.

Callum Wilson and Jonjo Shelvey were among those who didn’t travel to London, and should both make the squad, along with Jamal Lewis, who has been struggling with a knock recently.

For Sheffield United, Chris Wilder has five players who are struggling with injuries and will be assessed closer to kick-off. Lys Mousset, Enda Stevens and George Baldock are more likely to make the squad than Phil Jagielka and Billy Sharp though. Sander Berge is out for up to four months with a tendon injury.

A win for Sheffield United could take them to within three points of West Brom at the bottom of the table, while a Newcastle victory would put them 11 points clear of the relegation zone after 17 games.

Newcastle United take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Tuesday, January 12th. Kick-off is at 6pm.

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United v Liverpool

The Reds slipped to a late draw against West Brom last time out, and with Everton and Manchester United breathing down their necks, Klopp needs a result on Tyneside.

The German coach rotated against the Baggies and he looks likely to tinker again to keep his options fresh with James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain potential starters in this one.

As for the hosts, Steve Bruce’s selection plans are still be governed by an ongoing Covid-19 outbreak at the club.

Jamal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin are still sidelined for the Magpies, but Bruce can recall Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick.

And it’ll be a late start to complete this round of Premier League action with an 8pm kick off at St. James’ Park on December 30th.

Premier League: Manchester City 2-0 Newcastle United

Gundogan put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead on a wet Boxing Day night after fine work from Raheem Sterling with 14 minutes gone at the Etihad Stadium.

Torres added the second early in the second half and Bernardo Silva struck the post as City, who face a trip to Everton on Monday, eased to victory.

Both sides were without key players following positive Covid-19 tests, with City’s Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker following Newcastle pair Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamaal Lascelles into self-isolation.

Not surprisingly, it was star-studded City who coped with the absences better. Again manager Pep Guardiola saw no need to rush record goalscorer, Sergio Aguero, into his starting line-up, naming the Argentinian on the bench as he eases back into action after knee trouble.

Steve Bruce tried to shake his Newcastle side up after their Carabao Cup quarter-final loss to Brentford. Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar, Joelinton and Matt Ritchie came in while Callum Wilson was on the bench and Jonjo Shelvey was left out altogether.

With the win, Pep Guardiola’s side climb to 5th in the league table on Monday night whilst Steve Bruce’s Newcastle remain just shy of mid-table in 12th.

Premier League Preview: Manchester City v Newcastle United

Pep Guardiola’s side have quietly been rediscovering their best form in the last month and the Spanish boss finally looks to have hit on winning formula this season.

However, despite being in the middle of their best run of the campaign, the demands of a packed schedule means he will be forced to rotate against the Magpies.

Pep’s defence should stay the same over the festive period but the returning Fernandinho, Phil Foden and Sergio Aguero could be drafted in.

As for Newcastle, Steve Bruce will continue to wing in terms of his line up with a Covid-19 outbreak at the club still forcing his selection.

Key pair Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamal Lascelles remain sidelined due to the virus.

But Federico Fernandez and Jamal Lewis should shake off knocks in time to start.

And Kick Off is a late one on Boxing Day with an 8pm start at the Etihad Stadium.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce confirms two continuing Covid-19 cases at St. James’ Park

Club captain Jamal Lascelles and star man Allan Saint-Maximin have been confirmed as the two players in question with Bruce stating he has no timescale on their expected return to action.

The Magpies have been battling to contain an internal outbreak of the virus at their Darsley Park training base since the start of the month.

That forced the postponement of their clash with Aston Villa on December 1 but the club has since stated they are confident the situation is now under control.

And that’s latest your update from St. James’ Park check back in soon for more with the Sport Social.

Premier League: Newcastle United v Fulham

It’s hard to tell which Newcastle side will turn up when kick-off arrives, with the Geordies having won three and lost three of their last six league games in contrasting performances.

Morale-boosting wins over Everton, Crystal Palace and West Brom have been paired with damaging defeats against Southampton and Chelsea, while they were soundly beaten 5-2 by Leeds United in midweek.

Meanwhile, Fulham have shown improvement in their last four games, taking five points as Scott Parker’s squad shows signs of gelling ahead of a tight relegation battle.

Once upon a time, Parker plied his trade as a player at Newcastle and will be making his first visit to St James’ Park as a boss, and will have former Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to try and grind out a result with. Mitrovic has lost his place in the Fulham team in recent weeks though, with Ivan Cavaleiro leading the line instead.

Newcastle’s current crop of strikers have been led by the impressive Callum Wilson this season. The former Bournemouth man already has seven goals to his name this year, one more than Newcastle’s top scorer from last season managed.

That player was Jonjo Shelvey, who may return to the starting lineup after being an unused substitute in the defeat to Leeds on Wednesday.

Shelvey’s influence will be important if Newcastle are to keep the ball more than they have been recently. The Geordies have the lowest average possession of any Premier League team, and have never had more than 48% of the ball in any league game so far this season.

As far as team news goes, Steve Bruce’s defensive ranks are still recovering from the worst of their recent COVID outbreaks. Newcastle only had one fit centre-back against West Brom, but welcomed back Federico Fernandez against Leeds. Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar and Javi Manquillo all missed the loss and are likely to continue their spell on the sidelines when Fulham visit.

Martin Dubravka was scheduled to be back from an ankle injury recently but hasn’t been part of a squad yet, so Karl Darlow will continue in goal, while Paul Dummett is another one missing for a longer period. Allan Saint-Maximin has missed three games with a calf injury but could make the squad.

Fulham have a smaller injury quota to deal with, with only Terence Kongolo definitely out. Bobby Reid came off during the draw with Brighton with a knock and will be assessed, while Kenny Tete is also a doubt as he continues to build match fitness after injury.

A win for Newcastle would put more daylight between themselves and the bottom five, and could move them to the brink of the top ten if other results favour them, while Fulham will be hoping to go above Brighton before they play on Sunday.

Newcastle United take on Fulham at St James’ Park on Saturday, 19th of December. Kick-off is at 8pm.

Premier League: Leeds United vs Newcastle United

Marcelo Bielsa’s side will be aiming to stop a run of two successive defeats, after losing away at Chelsea before a 2-1 defeat to West Ham last time out, while Newcastle are in contrasting form.

The Magpies beat Crystal Palace before a COVID-19 outbreak caused a delay to their season, before beating West Brom at home on Saturday thanks to a late Dwight Gayle header. It’s the first time Newcastle have won back-to-back games this season.

Before the West Ham game, Bielsa named his starting XI during his pre-match press conference, but has said he will stop revealing team news from now on after the attention it received. It’s commonplace across Europe to reveal line-ups well before kick-off, but after defeat to David Moyes’s side, it won’t be something the Argentinian will repeat.

In another contrast, Steve Bruce kept his cards so close to his chest that Newcastle’s line-up against West Brom was a complete mystery until an hour before kick-off, with the club struggling to count the bodies available after the COVID outbreak caused a postponement against Aston Villa.

As it turned out, only three players who started the win over Palace were missing, with Isaac Hayden filling in at centre-back. This week, Federico Fernandez has returned to training and will be available for the trip to Leeds though, meaning Hayden may return to a more familiar central midfield role.

Newcastle will be without Paul Dummett and Martin Dubravka through injury, and there’s questions over Ryan Fraser, Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamaal Lascelles, who all missed the win over West Brom.

Leeds also have defensive worries, with new signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente both injured, meaning Luke Ayling is likely to continue at centre-back alongside Liam Cooper. Adam Forshaw and Gaetano Berardi are also missing.

A win for Newcastle could take them into the top half of the Premier League table, while Leeds could go 11th if they manage to get their first win in December and other results go their way.

Leeds take on Newcastle United at Elland Road on Wednesday, December 16th. Kick-off is at 6pm.

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United v West Brom

Slaven Bilic’s team have only racked up one win on their top-flight return and a 5-1 thrashing at Crystal Palace last time out will have dented confidence.

Matheus Pereira is definitely out after he was sent off against Palace with Hal Robson-Kanu and Connor Townsend both ruled out with injury.

Dara O’Shea is likely to replace Branislav Ivanovic in defence with Callum Robinson also in line to make a rare start.

For Newcastle, Steve Bruce’s hand will be forced Covid-19 regulations, with the Magpies squad still decimated by players in self isolation.

Bruce has confirmed he will have to wait until the last minute to name a starting team against the Baggies with up to eight players set to miss out.

But it was not all negative news for Bruce, as key pair Ryan Fraser and Allan Saint-Maximin returned to training this week, and the former Manchester United defender has confirmed they will be included after returning negative Covid-19 tests.

And Kick Off is set for 3pm tomorrow at St. James’ Park

Shearer takes swipe at Newcastle star

Speaking on Match of the Day after Newcastle’s 2-0 defeat at home to Chelsea at the weekend, the all-time Premier League top scorer was understandably upset at his former side’s fortunes, and chose to take aim at the players as well as the management at the club.

Club captain Jamaal Lascelles also came in for criticism, as Shearer called for him to stop demanding protection from his midfield, before taking aim at Saint-Maximin, who he accused of not breaking a sweat since signing an improved six-year contract in October.

Saint-Maximin is undoubtedly one of the Magpies’ best players, and started this season in fine form, scoring one goal and registering one assist in his first three games. Since then though, he’s tailed off poorly, and is struggling in a new formation under Steve Bruce.

Against Chelsea on Saturday, Saint-Maximin had just one attempt on goal and made just one key pass, whilst he lost possession on 13 occasions as Newcastle crumbled under Chelsea’s pressure.

Shearer also called for a more positive approach, something that fans have been clamouring for for weeks after becoming exasperated with Bruce’s safety first approach.

Hopefully Shearer’s words will be heeded, with Newcastle languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table after nine games.

Newcastle seal 2-1 Premier League win at home to Everton

His decision to drop Jordan Pickford dominated the pre match talk, but it will be his misfiring attackers that will be causing him sleepless nights as two goals for Callum Wilson secured three points for the hosts.

Neither side were able to create anything that resembled a goal scoring opportunity in a drab opening half hour on Tyneside.

The only real chance of the first half fell to Magpies talisman Allan Saint-Maximin, after he was sent clear by Wilson, but Toffees debutant Robin Olsen made a brave strop.

But, if the first half failed to catch fire, the second period kicked off with a huge moment of controversy.

Wilson was clipped by Andre Gomes inside the box, and despite any contact appearing accidental, the former Bournemouth man picked himself up and tucked home.

That breakthrough edged Newcastle into the ascendency at St. James’, as Sean Longstaff forced Olsen into another sprawling save.

And with the Blues unable to make any inroads in the closing minutes Bournemouth old boys Wilson and Ryan Fraser linked up inside the box as the England international slid home his eighth of the season.

Everton did conjour up a late consolation as Dominic Calvert-Lewin poked home past Karl Darlow but
Steve Bruce’s side had enough to hold on.

Full Time at St. James’ Park it’s Newcastle 2 Everton 1

Manchester United secure dramatic 4-1 comeback win at Newcastle

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have struggled for consistency in the opening weeks of the season, but late strikes from Bruno Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford secured a crucial three points on Tyneside.

But despite the final result, it wasn’t all plain sailing for United as full back Luke Shaw conceded a comical own goal after two minutes.

That setback did serve to sting the visitors into action however, as skipper Harry Maguire powered home from a corner on 24 minutes.

The game swung from end to end before the break as both keepers produced vital stops, with David De Gea denying Allan Saint-Maximin and Karl Darlow saving from Wan-Bissaka.

United did manage to wrestle back control after the break as Fernandes was handed a fantastic chance to put them back in front from the penalty spot.

But the normally nerveless Portuguese international was superbly denied by Darlow.

The Magpies keeper formed a one man barrier in the closing stages before he was final beaten by Fernandes on the stroke of full time.

That goal broke Newcastle’s confidence and United took full advantage in added time.

Wan Bissaka strode onto Rashford’s pass to fire home his first United goal before Rashford got in on the act with seconds left as thumped home Fernandes’ through ball.

FULL TIME AT ST. JAMES’ PARK IT’S NEWCASTLE 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 4

Premier League: Newcastle United vs Manchester United

The two sides are coming off the back of differing domestic results, with the Magpies trying to build on a 3-1 win over Burnley at St James’ Park last time out, while Man United try and bounce back from a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.

The same fixture last season was one of Newcastle’s highest points of their campaign, when Matty Longstaff sealed the points with a debut goal in front of the St James’ Park crowd. Fast forward ten months and there will be no crowd to take in the action and possibly no Longstaff either, as he continues to struggle with injury.

Newcastle received a boost during the international break through Allan Saint-Maximin, with the French winger signing an improved deal to keep him at the club until 2026. After Man United’s performance against Spurs last week, he’ll be salivating at the thought of facing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this weekend.

Steve Bruce will have to patch up his side once more though, with Jamal Lewis, Matt Ritchie, Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark, Dwight Gayle and Martin Dubravka all sidelined with injuries.

Miguel Almiron played for Paraguay in the week and should be available, while Fabian Schar came through Switzerland’s Nations League games without issue and could come into the starting XI.

As for the visitors, they’ll be without Anthony Martial after his red card against Spurs, while new signing Edinson Cavani is still self-isolating due to COVID-19 precautions. Alex Telles could make his debut after joining from FC Porto.

Axel Tuanzebe could be involved after an ankle injury, and Eric Bailly is also expected to make it, despite suffering a hamstring injury while playing for Ivory Coast.

Harry Maguire’s inclusion will be the main talking point, with the defender’s form being called into question after his performance against Spurs, before another mistake led to a red card during England’s Nations League defeat to Denmark.

Rumours of a bust-up with Bruno Fernandes have been played down by all involved, but all is clearly not right at Old Trafford.

Newcastle United take on Manchester United at St James’ Park on Saturday, October 17th. Kick-off is at 8pm.