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Newcastle must pile on Sheffield United misery to move on from Palace setback

If redemption is required after a shuddering belly flop from the high dive board then play Sheffield United. Newcastle tripped up big time at Crystal Palace but a dream must not be permanently dashed on the first rocks that are encountered.

Is there a worse Premier League side than our next visitors to St James Park for a traditional Saturday three o’clock kick off? Stats assembled over eight and a half months tell us not. Bottom of the table with only three wins in 34 attempts. Most goals conceded, least goals scored. Relegation as certain as night follows day.

Sheff U don’t leak like a colander, they are more like a bucket with its bottom knocked out! They have let in by far the most goals of anyone in PL history – a colossal 92 from 34 matches with the midweek four shipped at Manchester United already taking them past Derby County’s record as the worst ever in a 38-match season and they still have to play another four matches!

READ MORE: Newcastle squad truth emerges as Eddie Howe keeps quiet about club limitations

READ MORE: Newcastle got the wrong kind of full-time reaction from Crystal Palace away from TV cameras

Our battered visitors have sacrificed fours, fives, and sixes no bother yet never as many as when Newcastle, who have anything but a good away record, took them to the cleaners 8-0 at their place. Look at these results and flinch: Sheff U 0-8 Newcastle; Arsenal 5-0 Sheff U; Burnley 5-0 Sheff U; Sheff U 0-5 Aston Villa; Sheff U 0-5 Brighton; Sheff U 0-6 Arsenal. Burnley, next to bottom, have piled up nine against them in their two fixtures for goodness sake.

Oh, and just to confirm why they are the PL’s rock bottom club the blunt Blades have scored the fewest goals of anyone – even with their two against generous hosts at Old Trafford they have managed just 33. Sheffield United’s sole victory in their last 16 league games was 3-1 away to fellow dungeon dwellers Luton Town in February. Since they have won none, drawn three and lost 13.

All of which in no way excuses or papers over Newcastle’s timid 2-0 defeat at Selhurst Park, but we cannot give up on Europe just because of one setback however flattening after a healthy harvest of 10 points out of 12. The Magpies can still finish ahead of Manchester United, who they have to play, given how the Red-faced Devils folded spectacularly against Championship club Coventry City at Wembley and then were twice behind to the Blades on their own midden.

If Newcastle fans love Bruno then where would Man U be this season without their Bruno (Fernandes)? Maybe he often wears the expression of a well smacked derriere but nonetheless he can play and has single handedly dragged his side out of embarrassment time and again.

The Magpies must, of course, look for immediate improvement. They fielded the same team in south London that dismantled Spurs 4-0 but produced neither the same result nor anywhere near the same performance against a side adopting very different tactics. This was tepid, not a show of courage or belief or urgency.

Eddie Howe’s clever tactical use of Jacob Murphy as a wing back and Emil Krafth in a three was hailed against Tottenham but at the second time of asking both fell well short of standards. However in truth who did not? Surely Howe will now go back to his tried and trusted format of a flat back four which given the limitations of availability must consist of Tino Livramento, Fabian Schar, Dan Burn, and Lewis Hall. What can he do that is better?

We had talked up the goals of Alexander Isak, the England consistency of Anthony Gordon, and the available-at-last goal threat of Harvey Barnes but the best player on the pitch was the hugely gifted Eberechi Eze and the top notcher two-goal Jean-Philippe Mateta who has scored eight times since Oliver Glasner took over.

Howe admitted afterwards he was ‘baffled’ by United’s performance. He was not alone! Perhaps as we juggle with what United have to do to make Europe it will be decided not by home games against Sheff U and Brighton, though six points are definitely required, but the three away matches at Burnley, Man U and Brentford given Newcastle have lost 10 of their 16 on the road. That is, frankly, shocking.

Finally just a reminder that John Anderson and I are back at the Tyneside Irish Centre before the Saturday’s game not after it. We will be on stage shortly after 1pm trying to point out reasons for belief and optimism.

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View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/newcastle-must-pile-sheffield-united-29057441

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