The usual suspects have been releasing their predictions ahead of our trip to Bramall Lane tomorrow night.
None of the BBC’s Mark Lawrenson, Sky Sports’ Charlie Nicholas and Michael Owen – who released his predictions each week for Bet Victor – are backing us to win, but two believe we’ll come away with a point.
Here’s what all three have had to say, starting with Lawro:
Mark Lawrenson (BBC):
‘Sheffield United keep on picking up points and I am very aware I have not tipped them enough to win this season.
‘I keep thinking they will run out of steam but that has not happened, and they have already shown that they are far better than I thought they were.
‘I thought they would stay up but I did not expect them to be as high as they are, and they just look so comfortable at this level.
‘It is going to be interesting what Newcastle try to do against them, and how much energy they have got left, because they worked so hard in their draw against Manchester City on Saturday.‘
Prediction: Sheffield United 2-1 Newcastle
Hopefully this is the game that sees them run out of steam, especially when Chris Wilder’s side depend on their high intensity in all areas of the pitch.
Charlie Nicholas (Sky Sports):
“Sheffield United are going great.
“They have 18 points and people are very surprised by the start they’ve made this season. They only have four wins in 14 games but have only lost three too. They do not lose away from home and they have picked up slightly at home.
“Newcastle are a similar sort of side. They are very impressive away from home but lack a bit of the cutting edge. Steve Bruce has brought the passion back and they are nicking points here and there. I think the Newcastle fans are accepting what Bruce can do with a fairly average bunch.
“Steve Bruce is doing a much better job than what Rafael Benitez did. They may only be four points above Southampton but they are better than where they were last season.
“Newcastle are hard to break down and look to counter-attack. These are the types of games which the Premier League throw up. There are only three points between them so it is not as clear cut as some people might think.
“It is incredibly tight at the bottom. “It tells you how well some of bottom teams have done.
“Bruce is clever, he is going back to Sheffield where he will get plenty of abuse but he will have his players pumped up. If their shape is good, the counter attack will be a strong weapon for them.
“Prediction: Sheffield United 1-1 Newcastle United“
Some bold comments from Nicholas here, who continues to hand some huge praise to Steve Bruce.
One issue I have with this are his slightly over the top comments about our away form. OK, we have had some ‘very impressive’ away days (Spurs and West Ham) but defeats at Norwich, Villa and Leicester were horrific. To me it’s not been ‘very impressive’, it’s been somewhere in between hugely encouraging and incredible worrying.
Then to Owen, who’s also backing us to come away with a point:
Michael Owen (BetVictor):
‘A terrific point for Newcastle at home to Manchester City on Saturday while the Blades maintained their unbeaten Premier League away record with a valuable point against a good Wolves side at Molineux.
‘The Magpies were ordinary in their last away game at Villa Park but I think we will see a more spirited and energetic side at Bramall Lane. I can’t split the teams.‘
So, Lawro thinks we may run out of steam after that big effort against Man City, but Owen sees us giving a reaction after what was an unacceptable performance in our last away outing at Villa.
How do you see it panning out at Bramall Lane?