Sat 27 Apr 2024, 21:00 · NUFCFEED

Sheffield United (H) player ratings: Has a Newcastle team ever played so badly and won so comfortably?

Sheffield United (H) player ratings: Has a Newcastle team ever played so badly and won so comfortably?
Serena Taylor/Newcastle United
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Newcastle United put in a woeful first-half display and were lucky to go into the break level before running riot and beating Sheffield United 5-1 at St James' Park this afternoon.

Eddie Howe's players were sluggish from the first whistle, while their visitors—staring down the barrel of relegation with a defeat—came out full of purpose and deservedly took the lead through centre-back Ahmed Ahmedhodžić in the fifth minute.

The Blades should have scored more before Alexander Isak found the net for a seventh successive home game in the 26th minute. The on-fire striker raced onto a lovely through ball from Jacob Murphy before dispatching the ball past Wes Fotheringham with ease.

More chances came and went for both sides before fussy referee Tony Harrington blew for half-time. Thankfully, things improved for the Magpies from there. Bruno Guimarães was the catalyst with a headed goal from an Anthony Gordon free-kick; then the floodgates opened.

Gordon won a penalty that Isak fired home with ease after a long VAR check, Ben Osborn scored an unfortunate own goal under pressure from Elliot Anderson, and Callum Wilson wrapped things up with a nice finish after good work from fellow substitute Harvey Barnes.

It was easy to understand how Sheffield United concede so many goals with the way they buckled at 2-1 down, all belief draining from their players as Newcastle suddenly looked like they could score the same amount as they managed down at Bramall Lane in September.

It wasn't to be, but a 5-1 result after such a torrid opening 45 minutes was amazing. Here's how we scored all 16 players in the home ranks, with Dan Burn and Isak leading the way but Martin Dúbravka, Fabian Schär, Sean Longstaff, and Elliot Anderson faring poorly.


We were second best for large periods but still managed to win easily

Serena Taylor/Newcastle United
Isak took his league tally to 19 with yet another brace and came close to bagging his first hat-trick

Martin Dúbravka – 5

Today did nothing to quell our longing for Nick Pope, with Dúbravka again indecisive in big moments early in the game. He inspires no confidence in the back four with his reluctance to command his area or sweep in behind and his shot-stopping is increasingly an issue too.

Tino Livramento – 7

While far from Tino's best performance of the season, the fact he completed a full 90 minutes at right-back was a massive boon. He makes the game look effortless at times but we'd have liked him to have been a bit more positive here, though he is just back from injury.

Fabian Schär – 5

Schär didn't look right and was poor before being brought off at half-time with a hamstring issue. He lacked his usual composure in possession, was turned around all too easily with lofted balls in behind, and was beaten all ends up for one of the Blades' big chances.


Dan Burn (c) – 9

We're loving Big Dan at centre-back. While he didn't cover himself in glory for the opening goal, he held things together for long periods of the first half and kept us in the contest. He made numerous key blocks and clearances while only losing possession three times.

Lewis Hall – 7

Hall did quite well in an all-too-rare start at left-back but had a few sloppy moments that stronger opponents might have punished. His passing was largely very tidy, he almost scored, and he even took on set-piece duties, too, showing the confidence he has in himself.

Sean Longstaff – 5

We're almost as tired of criticising Longstaff as we are of watching him struggle on the pitch. We understand that he's been playing injured for a long while now, too, but this was another turgid display. He's devoid of confidence and is badly in need of a rest this summer.

Bruno Guimarães – 8

On a day when Wor Flags put together a brilliant display for him (and Joelinton), he came up big when we needed him to, yet again. His header for the 2-1 goal was top-class, though the rest of his game wasn't up to the admittedly very high standards he's set recently.


Elliot Anderson – 6

While this wasn't a great afternoon for Anderson, he still made a significant contribution to the win with his involvement in the fourth goal. He seemed to want too many touches at times, which slowed our game down, and didn't gel particularly well with Hall or Gordon.

Jacob Murphy – 7

Murphy's pass for Isak's equaliser was a thing of beauty but the rest of his performance wasn't much to write home about. He saw plenty of the ball in good areas and certainly tried to make things happen, but more often than not his crosses were way off the mark.

Alexander Isak – 9 ⭐️

We don't know where we'd be without Isak this season. He made a difficult finish for the equaliser look easy, took his penalty with aplomb, and linked nicely with Wilson in the last part of the game. He looked leggy by the end, though, and sadly didn't get his hat-trick.

Anthony Gordon – 8

Following a first half in which he was as poor as anyone, Gordon stepped up to the plate and delivered two assists in the second period. His cross for Bruno's goal was excellent and he did brilliantly to win the penalty, but why oh why didn't he square it for Isak before that?

Howe might have been tempted to turn to his bench before the interval

Serena Taylor/Newcastle United
What a difference it makes having the Barnes and Wilson double substitution available to us again

Emil Krafth – 7

Pressed into action at half-time due to a hamstring strain for Schär, the Swede played his part in turning the game around. He won a team-leading three tackles, was successful in 4/6 duels, and passed the ball assuredly, finding a colleague on 33/35 occasions.

Callum Wilson – 8

Entering the fray alongside Barnes in the 66th minute, Wilson followed on from his promising cameo at Selhurst Park with another impactful showing. He took his goal brilliantly, but it was his unselfish play in aid of trying to get Isak his hat-trick that impressed us most.

Harvey Barnes – 7

His assist for Wilson was top-class and he looked incredibly sharp for a brief period after coming on. The contest petered out soon after, unfortunately, but this was another glimpse of what could have been this season had he and our number nine been fit for more of it.

Alex Murphy – 6

The young Irishman was almost a victim of Harrington's ineptitude but VAR intervened to send the referee to the screen to overturn his decision to award a late penalty against him. Otherwise, he had a comfortable time of it with the game over by the time he came on.

Matt Ritchie – 6

Serened with chants of 'He drives what he wants' and 'Ritchie, drives an HGV', the veteran winger must have enjoyed this run out more than most. He's been a fantastic servant to the club and it's nice to see him involved in games like this when the result is beyond doubt.

Next up for the Magpies is Burnley away

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We relegated The Clarets the last time we played them at Turf Moor at the end of 2021/22

Vincent Kompany's men are fighting for their lives and took a point from Manchester United at Old Trafford today. They'll probably fancy their chances against us next Saturday at 3 p.m.

Given how our form on the road has been this season, we'd take a draw if offered it now. However, if we're to overhaul the Red Devils and grab sixth we could do with another win.

Howay the lads!