Sheffield Utd (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

This game feels massive for me.

We’ve shown signs of real progress recently, but last Monday’s dismal display at Aston Villa was incredibly worrying – and we must both learn and react from that tonight.

We have a generous run of fixtures between now and Christmas and must make the most of that. For all our impressive results against Spurs, Man City and Man Utd, it’ll be games like tonight and at home to Southampton this weekend that define where we’re really at this season.

Win here and we’ll move into the top half and wonder what we could achieve if we kick on over the coming weeks, but lose and we’ll be worryingly close to that drop zone and going into Sunday’s clash with the Saints game looking over our shoulders.

Sheffield United have been incredible so far, with their energy and organisation too much for most to handle, however they’re still a newly promoted side and a team who, on paper, haven’t got the same level of quality we possess.

With that in mind, it would be absolutely inexcusable if we turned up, sat in and didn’t attempt to really hurt them as we did at Aston Villa.

Predicted XI

Bruce may rotate slightly if he’s planning to prioritise Sunday’s game against Southampton – who are suddenly just a few points behind us after two wins in a couple of days – but I’d still be surprised if we made many changes.

Joelintlon is a concern from a goal threat perspective, but, when we’ve been good on the road this season, he’s been a pivotal presence in between ASM and Almiron.

It wouldn’t actually surprise me if Gayle got the nod, yet I question just how he fits into this team? If we’re not getting enough of the ball he’s a luxury player, with him feeding on good deliveries into the box – not long balls that need to be help up to create attacks.

Sean Longstaff will be knocking on the door. He didn’t feature last weekend and is fresh after a three-game ban, but would Bruce dare rest Shelvey or take out Hayden – the sort of player who could be key against a combative Sheffield United side.

At the back, Manquillo deserves to keep his place along with our three centre-backs. I’d argue Fabian Schar is too good to be sitting on the bench, however. No matter how well Fernandez, Clark and Dummett are playing, the Swiss international can give us that coolness and class on the ball which could be key at both ends of the pitch.

Considering we lacked quality in our last away outing at Villa, I’d be tempted to bring him in for Dummett, put Clark down the left, Fernandez in the centre and Schar on our right-hand side.

Preferred NUFC XI – (5-2-2-1) – Dubravka – Manquillo, Schar, Fernandez, Clark, Willems – Hayden, Shelvey – Almiron, Saint-Maximin – Joelinton.

The Opposition

Here’s a few key men to watch out for in Chris Wilder’s Sheffield Utd side:

Lys Mousset – The French striker has been outstanding whenever I’ve watched the Blades recently. Signed over the summer after a difficult spell with Bournemouth, but he’s showing exactly why Sheffield Utd paid £10m to make him their club record signing. Not only has he bagged 5 goals and 3 assists this season, he’s a handful and willing runner.

John Lundstram – The all action midfielder has been a revelation this season. Has 3 goals and 2 assists and is the one player in their engine room who’ll make bursting runs into the box on the break. One to watch for Jonjo Shelvey.

John Fleck – Their creative force in midfield. The diminutive midfielder is always looking to play that killer pass to set their willing forwards away on the counter attack.

Endo Stevens – The left wing-back may not look like an attacker, but he’ll bomb on and give Manquillo plenty to think about. It’ll be vital Miguel Almiron gives him something to think about at the other end as he’ll have the beating of him for pace.

Predicted Sheffield Utd (3-5-2): Henderson – Basham, Egan, O’Connell – Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens – McGoldrick, Mousset.

Team news

Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie remain on the sidelines, while Andy Carroll and DeAndre Yedlin are in contention to return. That said, it would be harsh if the latter came straight back in for Javier Manquillo; who was very good against City last weekend.

Based on Bruce’s comments it’ll come too soon for Florian Lejeune once again, however Fabian Schar will be pushing for a recall.

For the Blades, Chris Wilder has a fully fit squad for this one, with John Egan (calf) and Lys Mousset (hamstring) coming through unscathed during their 1-1 draw with Wolves at Molineux.

Prediction

I’m waiting for Sheffield United to slip up, constantly wondering if this is the week they run out of steam, yet they’ve shown absolutely no signs of slacking so far.

With the fixtures now piling up, this could be the best time to play them, but we can’t take them lightly and must be ten times better than we were at Villa Park if we want to come away with a good result.

They’ll get in our faces, maintain a high intensity and get the ball forward quickly, so it’s up to us the match that and more.

Can we do that? Let’s hope so!

Prediction: Sheffield Utd 1-1 Newcastle

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

17 thoughts on “Sheffield Utd (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

  1. I’d bring Longstaff energy in for this one. It’ll be too much for Shelvey. They’ll be very aggresive and very energetic.

    I’d also give Gayle a go. He’s far more likely to put a chance away than the dud Brazilian.

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  2. Great goal for St. maximin and Dubz has had a great game so far…

    I see we don’t get new thread links anymore?

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  3. Get in, well done Jonjo, play to the whistle… great win, although we played crap to be honest. Only about 25% possession too… I’ll take that! Well done lads. 👍👍

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  4. At the start of the season, no way this would have been seen as such a big 3 points – but that’s a tremendous away win with the way Sheff Utd have been playing.

    Dubrakva was MOTM for me. He and the defence were outstanding tonight.
    Another big mention for Shelvey as well though. I know people have been saying take him out and put Longstaff back in – but I think he’s justifying his selection and playing – and leading the team really well.

    Go on Brucey lad 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

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  5. Great win, credit to Bruce again, he’s got us winning ugly .
    Dubs MOTM, hope his limping isn’t a sign of anything too bad.

    Eric, yep, autocorrect us version.

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  6. Bruce is pretty likable. Like everybody else on here, he was never my 1st choice. There were many saying he was useless which is patently not true as you had to take into account the clubs he has managed before. And there was the Rafa lurve from so many when Brucie had a points per game total of like 1.08 with crap clubs and Rafa was like 1.13 at NUFC.

    The stats were put on here as well but not with the hatred of some other sites.

    I still don’t know where I stand on Bruce. I know he is not an arrogant pr!ck like Pards and Big Fat Sam. And doesn’t have a screw loose like Ugly John Carver.

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  7. Eric – Bruce will be the first to admit that there are better managers than he, and he also knows and accepts that he wasn’t first pick for the job.

    But what he is is honest, hard working and ready to admit when he’s getting it wrong – and more importantly, willing to change it.
    He came in with new ideas but they didn’t work out with the players he had, so he took a few bad results on the chin and switched it back – and has picked points up since.

    I was one of the few who wasn’t bothered that Rafa left. He did us a good job, but I think some had him on a far higher pedestal than he deserved (imo).
    Bruce wasn’t my first choice, but I was happier to take him over some of the other names. I knew his motivation and his determination would be greater than most of the others mentioned – I will add that I was also well aware that those 2 things don’t guarantee success – but nearly does £100m.
    Bruce is a very good man manager, and has really galvanised this squad of players – with the fringe players really feeling part of it now too.

    All that said, there is still a lot of points to play for this season – can Bruce keep them going throughout?!.

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