Newcastle United return to action in the Premier League this evening when they travel to winless Sheffield United, and the Magpies will be under pressure to pick up all three points at Bramall Lane.
Steve Bruce’s side suffered another defeat against Arsenal in the FA Cup on Saturday with some key players rested, but they did manage to produce a solid enough performance until extra time. However, after failing to score at the Emirates Stadium Newcastle have now registered just one goal in their last eight hours of football.
The Magpies are also winless in their last seven matches in all competitions since their 2-1 win against second-bottom West Brom at St James’ Park a month ago. That has seen pressure rise on Bruce and Newcastle will need to avoid being the first team to suffer a league defeat to Sheffield United this season if that pressure is to be kept at bay.
Newcastle have form for losing against a side in a similar position Sheffield United. They were the only side to beaten by Derby County during their disastrous Premier League campaign in 2007/08, and Bruce needs his side to avoid a similar result tonight and get back to winning ways.
Changes from the line-up against Arsenal are expected and Bruce should revert back to what has predominantly been the team used in the league in the last few weeks, although there may be questions over the selection of some players based on recent results.
Here is how we think Newcastle could line up against Sheffield United, with six changes from the team which started in the cup on Saturday.
GK - Karl Darlow
Darlow has established himself as the club’s first-choice keeper this season due to his excellent Premier League form.
Martin Dubravka was brought back into the starting line-up against Arsenal, but he will likely return to the bench.
RWB - DeAndre Yedlin
Yedlin has come back into the first-team fold from the cold in recent weeks and the full-back has shown he can be a dependable option in the right-wing-back role in the 5-4-1 set up Bruce has used of late.
Emil Krafth started in that position against Arsenal, but Bruce is likely to bring Yedlin back into the side.
RCB - Federico Fernández
Fernández has been pretty much an ever-present for the Magpies so far this campaign in the Premier League, and the commanding centre-back was rested against Arsenal with Isaac Hayden dropping into the back three.
CB - Fabian Schär
Schär was also rested for the game against Arsenal and Bruce will be keen to manage his workload considering he has only just recently returned to action.
However, the Switzerland international has been a key part of the defence when he has been fully fit and it is expected that he should return to start on Tuesday.
LCB – Ciaran Clark
The only one of our predicted back three to have started against Arsenal, Clark should keep his place again at Sheffield United.
The experienced defender is a trusted member of the side and he has enjoyed a strong campaign so far this term.
LWB – Paul Dummett
Dummett was brought back into the starting line-up against Arsenal and he delivered an encouraging performance against the Gunners.
Matt Ritchie was used as the left wing-back against Leicester, but Dummett is a more natural fit for that role and, if he is fit enough to play two games in quick succession, he should retain his place.
RM – Miguel Almiron
Newcastle need to see more end product and creativity from Almiron but he should keep his place in the continued absence of Allan Saint-Maximin.
Almiron’s energy will be key to helping the Magpies cause problems for the Blades and exploiting the space in behind their wing-backs at times.
CM – Sean Longstaff
Sean Longstaff is likely to maintain his place at the heart of midfield and the midfielder has shown signs over the last few weeks of recovering his form after a slow start to the campaign.
The Magpies will need him to maintain that improvement tonight.
CM – Matty Longstaff
Should start alongside his brother in midfield, with the youngster having come back into the starting line-up in recent weeks and showing just why.
His energy and calmness on the ball will be needed to help the Magpies pick up all three points.
LM – Joelinton
On present form there could be many questioning Joelinton’s position in the side, but Bruce seems to be reluctant to drop the Brazilian from his starting line-up.
The alternative would be to switch up the formation and maybe pair Andy Carroll up front with Callum Wilson and that has been hinted at by Bruce.
ST – Callum Wilson
Wilson was rested against Arsenal as a precaution according to Bruce. The striker should be able to come back into the side against Sheffield United.
It will be important for him to rediscover his scoring form if they are to pick up all three points.