Rock bottom Sheffield United will take on Newcastle at Bramall Lane in the Premier League on Tuesday, 12 January 2020.
Beyond their catastrophic form, Sheffield United will also be keen to end a five-game losing streak against Newcastle, with their last win over the Magpies coming over the course of the 2006-07 Premier League campaign, when Danny Webber’s second half goal sealed a 1-0 victory for the Blades at the St. James’ Park.
Since then, Newcastle have won five consecutive league games against Sheffield United (three of them in the top-flight) and the most recent one was a 3-0 home win on 21 June 2020.
All in all, the Magpies have won their last three away league matches at Sheffield United, as many as they had managed in their previous 29 visits between 1926 and 1994 – 3 wins, 5 draws and 21 losses.
Sheffield United Betting Preview
With just two points won and 8 goals scored in 17 Premier League games this season (0-2-15), Sheffield United suffer a disastrous start to the season and Chris WIlder’s men have the worst-ever Premier League start (not including administrative point deduction) as well as the record of most consecutive matches without a victory to open up a campaign.
It’s been a while but Sheffield United have finally forged their first win of the season and even though it wasn’t in the Premier League, the Blades would be keen to carry over their victorious form onto the next one.
However, Chris Wilder’s men are still enduring a devastating run of form in the Premier League and it’s actually stretching to the final weeks of 2019-20, as they’re winless in 21 League games (0-2-19) – since 11 July when Sheffield United earned an impressive 3-0 home victory over Chelsea.
Since then, the Blades have been largely disappointing and are now considered the main contenders to taste the bitterness of a Championship relegation, only a year after their remarkable 2019-20 season.
Coming off a victorious FA Cup third round tie at League One side Bristol Rovers on Saturday and securing themselves a place in Monday’s fourth-round draw, Chris Wilde’s men will be looking to build on and seek inspiration that would allow them to stop the rot and gain some momentum ahead of the extremely challenging schedule. The Blades will next play Tottenham Hotspur (home), Manchester United (away) and Manchester City (away) before they take on fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion on 2 February, so it’s safe to assume they won’t have much time for reaction should they once again slip up.
Chris Wilder’s men have already shipped 29 goals in 17 Premier League games and even though that’s not the worst defensive record in the English top-flight, the Blades are not so far away to reach the figures of 39 goals (conceded for the entirety of the 2019-20 Premier League season) that were a solid foundation of their impressive performance in their long-awaited top-flight return.
As for comparison, there are two sides (West Bromwich Albion with 39 and Leeds with 33) that have already conceded more goals than Sheffield United this season, yet the Blades will hardly collect enough points to save their elite status should they maintain their dreadful attacking performance.
Sheffield United were not prolific up front last season, indeed, but the defensive stability was often a foundation of their success, and with this defensive setup not functioning well so far in 2020-21, the lack of scoring chances and attacking efficiency became more and more alarming.
September signing Oliver Burke came off the bench to score his first goal for the South Yorkshire outfit at Bristol Rovers and could be given a chance to start on Tuesday, with the Scotsman failing to impress earlier in the season when he had his chances to shine.
Jack O’Connell, Jack Robinson and Sander Berge are all set to miss out, Chris Wilder is sweating on the fitness of another trio – George Baldock, Enda Stevens and Oliver McBurnie are all doubts for the Blades.
Newcastle United Betting Preview
The Magpies failed to cause an upset in the FA Cup third round over the weekend as they were eventually beaten by Arsenal in extra-time and have their own winless run to close.
Steve Bruce’s side still recovers and tries to overcome the consequences of the heavy coronavirus outbreak within the North East club in early-December and their recent form is an evidence of their struggle to cope with the loaded schedule in English football, particularly in this period of the year.
Winless in seven games across all three domestic competitions, Steve Bruce’s side have already been eliminated from both the League Cup and the FA Cup, and can fully focus on their Premier League campaign.
Eighth points clear of the bottom three (though 18th-placed Fulham still have a game in hand and could shorten the gap), Newcastle United are 15th in the table but could level the likes of Wolves and Crystal Palace, who are 13th and 14th respectively, should they extend their winning streak over the Blades.
All in all, Newcastle United are yet to win a game since the 2-1 home victory over a struggling West Bromwich Albion side a month ago – when Dwight Gayle scored a late winner.
Allan Saint-Maximin continues his post-covid recovery and is set to miss out again, while summer signings Jamal Lewis and Ryan Fraser will both be assessed ahead of the trip to Bramall Lane.
Meanwhile, Slovak goalkeeper Martin Dubravka already made his return to first team action at the weekend but Steve Bruce is expected to keep faith in Karl Darlow, who benefited from Dubravka’s long-term injury and earned himself the opportunity to be Newcastle’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Andy Carroll had nine of Newcastle’s 12 shots against Arsenal on Saturday and the experienced England forward is one of the players who’ll hope to get more minutes here, though Steve Bruce would probably opt for an attacking duo of Callum Wilson and Joelinton.
Callum Wilson has failed to score in each of his last three starts for the North East side and just once in his last six matches, and the 28 years old forward will have to significantly improve these numbers if he wants to be included in Gareth Southgate’s squad list for Euro 2020.
Possible Starting Lineups of Sheffield United and Newcastle United
Sheffield United: Aaron Ramsdale – Chris Basham, John Egan, Ethan Ampadu – Jayden Bogle, John Lundstram, Oliver Norwood, John Fleck, Ben Osborn – David McGoldrick, Oliver Burke. (3-5-2)
Newcastle United: Karl Darlow – Paul Dummett, Jamaal Lascelles, Federico Fernandez, DeAndre Yedlin – Matt Ritchie, Jonjo Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Miguel Almiron – Callum WIlson, Joelinton. (4-4-2)
Spooky Express Betting Prediction
Chris Wilder will try to and must use the recent victory as a foundation to build upon in Sheffield United’s attempt to beat the drop. Indeed, the Blades are 12 points off safety and they simply need to secure their first three points of the season as soon as possible if they want to suddenly become more competitive in the fierce battle to avoid relegation.
Up against the Premier League’s rock bottom side, Steve Bruce could switch to a 4-4-2 in a bid to end a seven-game winless run for his side and as already mentioned, he’ll have to expect more from his attackers.
We can say that both sides are in very poor form but it is clearly now or never for Sheffield United who’ll have to face three potential title contenders in the coming weeks and if they don’t do it right here, right now, we highly doubt that Chris Wilder’s men will be capable of pulling a great upset against any of the title chasing pack and let’s be honest – they’ll be so doomed.
Up against the wall and the cruel Premier League reality, we are backing Sheffield United’s patience and their decision to continue their work with Chris Wilder. Will the players act as a unit and stand firmly behind their manager? It’s yet to be seen, but we take the chance.
Spooky Express Free Play: Sheffield United +144 @ BetOnline for 5/10 Units