Relegation fears put to bed, takeover progress & Ritchie proves doubters wrong – Liam Kennedy's top SEVEN Newcastle United takeaways from Sheffield United win

Newcastle United picked up where they left off before coronavirus brought football as we know it to a standstill, putting Sheffield United to the sword at St James's Park – even Joelinton got in the act.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 21: Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle United celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park on June 21, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 21: Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle United celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park on June 21, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

But what, if anything, did we learn about the Magpies from their three-goal Premier League show? Liam Kennedy takes a look at SEVEN key takeaways from the blunting of the Champions League-chasing Blades.

Pace, power & precision – frontline ‘on point’

Newcastle’s front four, with their pace, power and precision, were a nightmare for Sheffield United – and hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Matt Ritchie’s long range shooting was excellent, Joelinton’s persistence encouraging while Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin have the pace and unpredictability to cause any team at this level problems.

The Brazilian looked to be having one of his usual days after a shocker of a first-half miss but he did not allow his head to drop and after that miss, his performance was much improved.

Red card changed the game – or did it?

The red card changed the game in many ways but it’s fair to say United were well on top even before John Egan got his marching orders for two needless yellow cards.

Praise must go to Joelinton for this, as he not only drew the defender into a silly yellow for a petty argument, he also put the Blades man in trouble running in behind before being pulled back for a second, and subsequent third card.

Jonjo Shelvey needs to take game by scruff of neck

This writer finds Jonjo Shelvey the most frustrating figure in the United setup for many reasons – and the Sheffield United win was a case in point.

When United were two goals up we really started to see Shelvey spraying passes and calling the tempo of the game. Sadly, those talents are rarely seen when the Magpies are down in a game or honours remain even.

We need to see more of his remarkable ability, when the chips are down – that’s the sign of a top class player.

Federico Fernandez is United’s best defender

The Argentine was not always a first choice pick under Rafa Benitez last season, but he’s become Steve Bruce’s most trusted backline member.

He won everything in the air and on the ground, as well as being a very accomplished defender in possession.

A class act in every sense, Fernandez signed a one-year extension earlier this season. Even with a takeover in the offing United should try and get him tied down a little longer.

Matt Ritchie back where he belongs

Who said Matt Ritchie was more suited to a defensive role than as one of the attacking four? Me, maybe.

This performance proved me and others wrong as Ritchie laid on two goals and scored another.

Every team needs a Matt Ritchie. Luckily United have THE Matt Ritchie.

One more win from safety?

Before the action kicked off it looked like Newcastle needed another two wins from nine to be sure of their place in the Premier League next season.

As things stand their current points total might well be enough.

Just to be safe, though, one more win – hopefully against Aston Villa this week – should be enough.

Even without a takeover, this side is not a million miles away

This could well prove to be the beginning of a massive week for the future of the football club but whether a takeover happens or not, this side might well only be a few shrewd additions away from climbing the Premier League ladder.

Some midfield tenacity, a clinical finisher and better full-back options added in the summer, takeover or no takeover, could see United rise again.