Newcastle v Sheffield United player ratings: Willock 8, Saint-Maximin 9; Ramsdale 9, Osborn 4
Magpies defeat rock-bottom Blades after Arsenal loan-signing scores for sixth game in a row
Joe Willock scored for a sixth successive Premier League game to hand Newcastle United a 1-0 victory over bottom club Sheffield United.
On a night when Allan Saint-Maximin was a constant menace to the visitor's defence, the 10,000 home fans allowed into St James' Park for the first time since February last year made it clear they want 21-year-old Arsenal loanee Willock to make Tyneside his permanent home next season.
The win took Newcastle to 42 points, two fewer than they managed last season with a game to play away to Fulham on Sunday.
However, it was the visitors who should have taken the lead after seven minutes when David McGoldrick was put through on goal but missed the target with just goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to beat.
The former Republic of Ireland striker fired another chance high over the bar four minutes later.
Magpies midfielder Jonjo Shelvey then thought he had opened the scoring but was denied by a brilliant Aaron Ramsdale save. Saint-Maximin and Matt Ritchie combined down the left before the Scot floated in a cross which Shelvey met with a firm downward header, only to see the Blades goalkeeper throw out a hand and palm it away.
Newcastle took the lead in first-half injury-time. Saint-Maximin picked out Jacob Murphy's run down the right with an inch-perfect pass and he crossed into the middle for midfielder Willock to head home into the corner.
McGoldrick clipped the bar with a fine 77th-minute attempt which sent Dubravka back-pedalling desperately towards his line, but that was as close as the Blades came to rescuing a point.
On the prospects of keeping Willock at Newcastle, manager Steve Bruce said: "As I have said before, it's a doubled-edged sword. We have to respect he's Arsenal's player. If we can, we'd love to bring him here. Let's see what we can do because he's exactly what we needed.
"Joe has still got a lot to learn but we have given him a freedom and a licence to get forward. He is a young player enjoying his football."
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Published: May 20, 2021 07:22 AM