Sheffield United v Newcastle: Magpies worth chancing against blunt Blades

Bottom club, Sheffield United, host fellow strugglers, Newcastle, hoping to build on Saturday's F.A Cup success. Can they win their first Premier League match in six months?

Sheffield United v Newcastle
Tuesday January 12, 18:00
Live on Sky Sports

Blades are off the mark at last

After a run of 21 games, over a period just a couple of days shy of six months, Sheffield United have finally won again - beating League One's Bristol Rovers in the third round of the F.A Cup - and the relief for the manager was tangible afterwards.

"The consequences of not getting a result today would have really impacted on the group. The players have taken a lot. Everybody in the country would have sniffed this. Every expert, pundit and supporter wouldn't have been surprised if we had been turned over today. But there was a good attitude.

"It was always going to be a tough cup tie, away from home and not being in form at all. It was against a team with nothing to lose and we had everything to lose today."

Saturday's 3-2 victory at, was their manager, Chris Wilder's 100th in charge and the Blades social media team have waited quite some time to tweet this one out!

Saturday's victory was the Blades' first in any competition since they beat Chelsea 3-0 in the Premier League on 11 July but will it be enough of a fillip to kick start their season?

Now trading at just 1.07 to be relegated, United have accrued just two points all season, courtesy of a pair off 1-1 draws - at home to West Brom back in October and away at Brighton just before Christmas.

They may have finally won but they've conceded in 22 games in-a-row and with confidence so low, it's hard to see Saturday's win heralding some sort of miraculous turnaround.

Magpies looking to bounce back after tough spell

Sheffield United maybe struggling but languishing in 15th place in the Premier League and out of both cups, Newcastle have plenty of woes of their their own. Steve Bruce's men were hit hard by the coronavirus at the start of December and they're only just getting over the episode.

The Magpies trip to Aston Villa on December 4 was postponed due to the number of playing staff affected and although they won their next game, 2-1 at home to West Brom, they've lost every game since but it's hardly surprising with key players still ailing. Club captain, Jamaal Lascelles, and influential winger, Allan Saint-Maximin, both suffered from the long-term effects of COVID-19 and they've only just returned to training for the first time since November.

In the two Premier League games that followed the West Brom win, Newcastle were thumped 5-2 by Leeds, before they drew 1-1 at home to relegation candidates, Fulham, and then they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Championship side, Brentford, 1-0.

The Magpies have had some tough fixtures since getting beat by the Bees. They've lost 2-0 at Manchester City, drawn 0-0 at home to Liverpool and Leicester beat them 2-1 at St James' last weekend. In fairness, they've not been thrashed by anyone and they were arguably a bit unfortunate to get knocked out of the F.A Cup by the in-form holders, Arsenal, on Saturday.

After a tight and somewhat dull affair, Andy Carroll missed two great chances to break the deadlock right at the end of regulation play before the Magpies went on to lose 2-0 in extra time.

A low scoring affair looks likely

If we look at the stats, it's quite clear why Under is trading at odds-on in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market. Only two of Sheffield United's eight home games this season have seen more than two goals scored and six of Newcastle's seven away games have produced exactly two goals.

Both teams have scored in only 38% of Sheffield United's home games this season and in only 43% Newcastle's away matches, which is why No is trading at odds-on in the Both Teams to Score market.

Both Under 2.5 and No in the Both Teams to Score market look like solid propositions in the side markets and I quite like 0-0 in the Half Time Score market at anything above 2.5. It's been 0-0 at the break in half of Sheffield United's home games this season and no goals have been scored in the first half in three of Newcastle's seven away matches but I'm going to keep things simple and stick to the outright market...

Magpies worth chancing

Newcastle have a decent recent record against the Blades and so does Steve Bruce. The Magpies did the double over the Blades last season and they've won their last five league games against them. And that includes their last three at Bramall Lane. Bruce, who began his managerial career at Bramall lane, has faced his old club ten times previously and he's in search of his eighth victory against them.

Having been left out against Arsenal in the cup as a precautionary measure, both Callum Wilson and Jonjo Shelvey are expected to return and that could well be the difference between the two teams.

This is a tough match to call but given the Blades have lost 18 of their last 20 in the Premier League, odds of 3.3 about the visitors looks worth chancing.

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