Callum Wilson’s Newcastle United goal record a reminder of his class, but it’s Isak who stars now

There was after all no need for a nervous twitch. No requirement for Geordie to reach for his heart tablets. Everything was inevitably going to revert to nature if Newcastle discovered any sort of form. The dye had been cast long ago.

This was a confrontation between two very different Uniteds. One striving for Europe on the back of their home form, the other heading unerringly for the barren wastes of the Championship. Least wins, most defeats, least goals scored, most conceded. The definition of consistency.

The United in Newcastle black-and-white had scored in all 17 of their home league games with Alexander Isak striking in every one of the last six. So what did we get? What we expected . . . after a mischievous flirtation with danger first-half.

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Sheffield United 0-8 Newcastle United last time turned into Newcastle 5-1 Sheff U come the reverse fixture with Isak helping himself to a double. That’s an aggregate of Newcastle 13-1 Sheffield United. Tale told. Gulf as wide as the Atlantic.

The Magpies are flying high in familiar surroundings. They have now scored four, four, and five in three of their last four fixtures at St James’ Park which should be of some consolation for those departing the scene permanently.

Yet for 45 minutes and just beyond this game certainly held little promise of what was to come. The Blades were incredibly one up in six minutes and 1-1 at half-time. However to parrot the words of Joe Harvey at half-time in Budapest on United’s greatest European night ever ‘get one and they’ll collapse’. And collapse they did.

Sheffield United are generosity personified and, true to their season-long script, they shipped four goals inside little more than quarter of an hour to be blown away. That’s 97 conceded and still counting. Ouch, who would want to walk on the Wilder side of the street!

Really, as I had said in my match preview, after a bad day out at the Palace this was just what United needed, a visit from a stranger bearing many gifts. There was another pressie too on the final whistle – Burnley, second bottom and facing a similar fate to Sheff U, had notched an equalising penalty at Old Trafford leaving Manchester United just a point ahead of the Mags and still to play us. Next up for the Mags? The same Burnley who if Newcastle win will be heading towards the same fate as their brethren.

United naturally kept up their record of scoring in every home match and Isak similarly extended his goal run to seven matches before the faithful upon the hill. If incredibly we had eight different scorers at Bramall Lane there were four different names on the honours board this time including Callum Wilson back as a sub.

He reminded us of his terrific goals per game ratio making it eight Premier League strikes in eight starts plus 10 sub appearances. However seeing him again after such a long time in hibernation also reminded us that such ability to finish is significantly diluted when you have made so few starts with 34 games gone. No, Callum’s mantle as United’s top scorer, claimed fashioned in days nearer to famine, has been totally claimed by Isak whose grand total for the season is now up to 23.

The crunch of course lies ahead. If Europe is to be visited once again then United have to right a wrong. They have lost 10 of their 16 away PL matches and three of their remaining four fixtures are on foreign soil.

That is a horrendous return and while Burnley have rallied of late winning two and drawing five of their last eight they have to be put to the buck. Now is the time for heroics not for recriminations.

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