The Blades are still searching for their first win in the league this season having suffered four defeats and one draw, although they did come close in their last outing at Spurs, with the home team snatching all three points in a 2:1 win having trailed to a Gustavo Hamer goal on 77 minutes. Spurs two goals came during the sixteen minutes of time added on by the referee, who also had time during that period to dismiss Sheffield striker Ollie McBurnie for a second bookable offence. McBurnie will therefore miss the game through suspension.
Those additional 16 minutes led to an amazing outburst by the Blades head coach Paul Heckinbottom during his post-match interview where he accused referees in general and match official Peter Bankes and his assistants of what he termed as ‘ruining the game’ over their interpretation of timewasting and game management.
Heckingbottom must now wait and see if he faces any sanctions from the FA. A fine, or even a ban, are the possible outcomes should the authorities deem his comments out of order.
Despite results not going their way, Heckingbottom’s team have put in some solid performances this season and can count themselves unlucky not to have more points on the board, with all four of their losses coming by a single goal. This suggests that Newcastle could be in for a testing afternoon.
However, the Magpies are coming into a bit of form themselves and having kept clean sheets in their last two outings will be looking to keep their defensive form going.
However, its goals that have not been at a premier for Howe’s team since the 5:1 drubbing of Aston Villa in the season opener back in August which suggests that Callum Wilson could be straight back into the starting 11, having sat out all but the final 30 minutes in the San Siro.
The Referee for this fixture is Stuart Attwell. And his assistants running the line will be Con Hatzidakis and James Mainwaring. The Fourth official strutting around the technical area will be Anthony Taylor. And the unenviable task of staying awake in the VAR booth and attempting when called upon to draw straight lines using the PGMOL’s own version of an Etch A Sketch with a dodgy dial is down to Darren England and his assistant Neil Davies.
Mainwaring incidentally was the assistant VAR in last weekend’s game against Brentford at St James’ Park.
KO is 4:30pm uk time and is live on Sky Sports.