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Three things we learned from Newcastle - Sheffield United

Joe Willock continues his rich vein of form with Newcastle, heading the Magpies into the lead against Sheffield United at the stroke of halftime.

Newcastle United is finishing its season in style, while Sheffield United’s path down to the Championship is back in the loss column.

The Magpies used a Joe Willock goal to beat the Blades 1-0 at St. James’ Park on Wednesday, jumping into 15th place on 41 points with one match left.


Blades seal their space at the foot of the Premier League table by losing their 29th match. Sheffield United has 20 points, six fewer than West Brom.

Sheffield United beat Everton last time out but couldn’t find its target on Wednesday and will finish their PL tenure with a Championship Sunday match at home to Burnley.

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Three things we learned from Newcastle - Sheffield United

1. Allan Saint-Maximin is too pure for this world: The magic Newcastle dribbler might have been blessed with a brain capable of beauty too incredible for his body withstand, because the oft-fouled winger’s only problem at St. James’ Park has been injuries. Just look at this perfect pass to set up Murphy’s assist of Willock. Sensational.

2. Magpies find offense: Steve Bruce received plenty of criticism for his tactics, formation, and player usage as Newcastle was in relegation danger for most of it, but the Magpies found their footing of late. Newcastle has 44 goals this season, seven of those coming from Willock on loan, but have 16 of those goals over the last eight games (not an easy run of opponents, either). Two goals per game over 38 is a top-four number, so the talent is there even with Callum Wilson out injured. We repeat -- loaded statement -- the talent is there.

3. Willock makes PL history, transfer fodder? Arsenal loanee Joe Willock’s sixth-straight Premier League match with a goal makes him the youngest player to achieve that long of a run in the history of the league. The 21-year-old buried a header just before halftime to give Magpies fans an in-person goal for the first time since before the pandemic pause, and his seven PL goals coupled with three for Arsenal in the Europa League gives the youngster a double-digit senior season. Will Mikel Arteta have plans for him, or can Bruce’s employers find enough change to sign him?

Man of the Match: Allan Saint-Maximin

There’s no other player in his vicinity at St. James’ Park.

Newcastle - Sheffield United recap

The first half hour was relatively non-descript, aside from a giveaway giving David McGoldrick a great chance to put the Blades in front.

Newcastle snapped itself match into life when Allan Saint-Maximin set up a Matt Ritchie’s cross that Jonjo Shelvey headed on goal, with Aaron Ramsdale making an outstanding save from close range.

Ramsdale hurt his shoulder making the save and came up gingerly while collecting a Federico Fernandez header off a concern kick moments later.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]

Saint-Maximin won a dangerous free kick on the corner of the 18, and Ritchie’s 32nd-minute attempt floated over the far upper 90.

The Magpies got their deserved lead before the break with some really good-looking football, and no surprise it started with Saint-Maximin, who cut a terrific cross to the right flank for Jacob Murphy to send into the mixer for Willock to head home.

McGoldrick then hammered a free kick just high and wide after halftime in a bid to put Blades level.

Canada-eligible youngster Daniel Jebbison made another appearance off the bench for Sheffield United, while Newcastle’s second-half personnel moves were all concerned with injured stars as Steve Bruce had to monitor Saint-Maximin, Willock, and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

Follow @NicholasMendola