Newcastle battled hard with Manchester City and were able to secure a point thanks to a fine goal from Jonjo Shelvey, but to ensure a repeat performance against Sheffield United they may need to recall some more reliable figures to the side.
Steve Bruce’s organisation limited the visitors to few chances on Saturday despite their 76% share of possession, but there were signs that the defence could still be improved upon.
Raheem Sterling’s goal was an example of that, with the ball bouncing to the forward as a result of the Magpies’ failure to take charge of the situation and get the ball clear.
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A player like Fabian Schar would have been able to provide that decisive action, and that means he should come in for Paul Dummett.
The Switzerland international can show great technical ability, but he covers the basics of defending remarkably well too, with his average of 5.1 clearances per game highlighting his no-nonsense attitude.
Having control of their own box will be key against a Blades side which likes to overload the penalty area with midfield runners, and it is vital they prevent John Fleck and John Lundstram adding to their respective two and three league goals.
With that in mind, here is how Bruce should line-up when Sheffield United visit. We’re tipping him to make two changes.
The game promises to be another fiercely fought encounter, with Newcastle unbeaten at home since the first game of the season, and Chris Wilder’s side still yet to lose an away game in the Premier League.
Like the Magpies, they can be very tough to breakdown, with 13 goals conceded in 17 league games, and that means the home side may have to show more ambition and adventure this evening.
DeAndre Yedlin should, therefore, be recalled to the side after missing out last time through a hip injury.
Javier Manquillo started against the Citizens but showed why he has only made five league appearances this season, as his forward threat was non-existent and was more of a hindrance than a help to the team.
He managed zero key passes, whereas Yedlin has averaged 0.4 key passes per game, while his pass accuracy of 71% also trumps Manquillo’s 58% against City.
The USA international can also use his pace to get up and down the right flank with great efficiency, and that could improve particularly useful on the counter-attack, where his ability to overcome Enda Stevens could prove the difference in winning the match.