Ahead of Sunday’s game, we asked Jamie Swan to give us his match ratings and reflections on the match, the game ending Newcastle 3 Sheffield United 0.
A red card for the visitors swiftly followed by three goals for the Magpies.
Jamie taking up the challenge and covering a few other minor matters on the way…
Ok, so did that feel weird to everyone else, or just me?
Life as we know it has been turned upside down since the last time we saw a ball kicked in anger by the boys.
Thousands have perished to an unseen enemy, thousands more still could. Thousands again fearing for jobs and livelihoods.
Then, after months off – the footy is back. Or at least it is kind of being shoehorned into a world of masks and PPE.
Newcastle United in the most Newcastle United of fashions have in the middle of a global pandemic no less, been the subject of a takeover to the Saudi PIF and Royal Prince Bin Salman. A takeover that promises to turn NUFC from listless bargain bin Lonsdale leggings, into a Galacticos of Gucci headbands, such are the riches involved.
However, the acquisition isn’t yet guaranteed – already three months into a one month process. The paperwork for the Owners and Directors Fit and Proper test seemingly having being eaten by Richard Keys’ rabid Dog. We wait with bated breath for the news amid claims of the sky falling down from Qatari cheerleaders such as the aforementioned Dick Keys and weeping journos mourning that their own favourites have been overlooked and cursing the evils of a regime that they have all enjoyed all expenses paid trips to.
The assumption is though, that the Premier League will make a decision soon. Imminently even, hopefully before we all succumb to COVID ’round 32′.
A global disaster, a geopolitical war of propaganda and little old us – the black and white pig in the middle of a situation of none of our making. Just that ‘wee club in the North East’ eh?
Also marooned on the island of NUFC limbo is Steve Bruce and all the players. No communication from up above from you know who – meaning it’s heads down, backsides up and try to get on with their jobs.
Mathematically still not safe from the drop, they all still have a big job to do. Question is, with all that having gone on and still going on, in front of an empty stadium, on a hot and muggy afternoon against a half-decent team – how on earth would we fair?
The answer was pretty damned good! A full strength attacking team and formation. Balanced on both sides and a bit of threat in front of goal.
One thing we have always lacked was that killer final pass or finish, or even racking up any decent amounts of shots on goal. Think the final tally was eight on target for us versus one, a good day for us.
Joelinton in the first half and Almiron second. both should have netted but fluffed to the keeper on both occasions.
These chances straddled the key moment of the game which was Sheffield United’s Egan getting a second yellow followed by red, for tugging back big Joe Linton and a stroll off the park with plenty time to spare on the clock.
This was swiftly followed by a goal for ASM when their covering defender dropped a Bramble to the power of Boumsong clanger and let it run straight through his legs to be slashed in by St Maximan.
Typically, we nearly concede to ten men and really Billy Sharp should have made it even Stevens but blew his beans and nodded wide when easier to score.
After that we had one or two minor wobbles, but made the advantage count, and made the Blades suffer in the heat with one man down.
Ritchie sporting a Lockdown haircut similar to Worzel Gummidge living on a desert Island, managed to peak between the locks just enough to spank a shot in from just outside the box.
The third goal brought the biggest automated recorded cheer to your TV speakers, when big Joe fed Miggy on the left, surged into the space and received the ball back and netted an easy but pleasing finish.
Yes he missed a sitter in the first, but the lad played decent, in fact, him, Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie, Almiron and especially ASM were great.
There are green shoots in this squad and things to build upon for the end of the season and beyond. Whether that is with Steve Bruce, I doubt it. Whether that is with Mike Ashley, I bloody hope not.
Three points puts us 11 points clear of the trap door and the soon to be new owners will surely be taking the keys to a Premier League club from the outgoing Ashley.
Good riddance to him, fingers crossed to say good riddance to COVID 19!
Enjoy your Father’s Day cans and raise one to times ahead and a nod to those who sadly didn’t make the journey this far.
Hopefully the next time we speak we are under new ownership. Cheers!
Newcastle United match ratings:
Dubravka 7 – Not loads to do, steady.
Manquillo 7.5 – Played well tbf.
Fernández 7 – Solid.
Lascelles 7 – Yellow card.
Fernandez 7 – Solid.
Rose 7.5 – Good option on counter.
Shelvey 8 – Kept it simple and classy.
(Sub Schar 6)
Ritchie 8 – Great finish, brought good balance.
(Sub Yedlin – Not on long enough to judge)
Hayden 8 – Very good game. Underrated.
Almiron 8 – Good assist, should have scored.
(Sub Lazaro 6)
Joelinton 8 – Missed a good chance, scored and linked up well.
(Sub Carroll 6. Decent touches, should get a zero for that beard!)
Saint-Maximin 9 – Just getting better and better. End product is coming on great.
(Sub Bentaleb 6)
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 3 Sheffield United 0 – Sunday 21 June 2pm
Saint-Maximin 55, Ritchie 69, Joelinton 78
Red card for Egan 50
Possession was Sheff Utd 54% Newcastle 46%
Total shots were Sheff Utd 7 Newcastle 12
Shots on target were Sheff Utd 1 Newcastle 8
Corners were Sheff Utd 4 Newcastle 2
Referee: David Coote
Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Rose, Hayden, Shelvey (Schar 85), Ritchie (Yedlin 90+2), Almiron (Lazaro 85), Joelinton (Carroll 79), Saint-Maximin (Bentaleb 79)
Darlow, Gayle, Muto, Krafth
(Read Jamie Smith’s excellent Newcastle 3 Sheffield United 0 match report HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction to 3-0 win – Read it HERE)
(Watch official match highlights from Newcastle 3 Sheffield United 0 HERE)
(Chris Wilder blames key decision for 3-0 defeat – Read HERE)
You can follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieSwan1