Newcastle welcome Sheffield United to St James' Park on Sunday afternoon, as the Blades look to secure what would be a massive three points away from home in their quest for European qualification. Yes, you read that correctly.
It's been an incredible return to the Premier League for the Blades. Despite drawing against relegation threatened Aston Villa in their return to action on Wednesday evening, they remain in the hunt for a spot among Europe's elite next season.
Currently sitting sixth in the Premier League, Chris Wilder's side are just four points shy of fourth-placed Chelsea, who are on 48 points. While their season has already been one to remember, capping it off with a place in Europe next year - be it the Europa League or Champions League - would make it just that little bit sweeter.
As for Newcastle, the season has been another one filled with ups and downs. Sunday's game will be their first since the enforced break due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and a win is a must in order to steer them away from any threat of relegation.
The Magpies proposed takeover from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has all gone bit a quiet, so three points on the field would be a welcome distraction.
Where to Watch
When is Kick-Off? Sunday 21 June What Time is Kick-Off? 14:00 (BST) Where is it Played? St James' Park TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports, Pick TV Referee? David Coote
Newcastle will be without Matty Longstaff - who has been linked with Udinese and is yet to agree a contract extension beyond 30 June - because of a knock, while brother Sean, Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie are also doubts.
Martin Dubravka should be available after recovering from a knee injury sustained in March, and Danny Rose is available after extending his loan deal from Tottenham.
Blades head coach Chris Wilder, meanwhile, will hope that John Fleck and Jack O'Connell are available for the trip to Tyneside, after both missed Wednesday's disappointing draw with Aston Villa through injury.
Newcastle: Dubravka; Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose; Shelvey, Hayden; Lazaro, Almiron, Saint-Maximin; Joelinton.
Sheffield United: Henderson; Basham, Egan, Stevens; Baldock, Fleck, Lundstram, Norwood, Robinson; McBurnie, Mousset.
Head to Head Record
Steve Bruce's side fought their way to an impressive 2-0 victory away at Bramall Lane when the two sides last met in December, with Allan Saint-Maximin and Jonjo Shelvey on the scoresheet.
Saint-Maximin has endured a difficult first season in the Premier League, but has impressed Newcastle's supporters with his endless amounts of running - becoming somewhat of a cult hero.
Before last year's meeting, however, the two sides hadn't played one another in a competitive fixture since 2010, when both teams were in the Championship. Sheffield United have won just one of their last five meetings with Newcastle, but revenge could be very sweet.
While Sheffield United have a one game advantage on Newcastle heading into Sunday's clash, they won't remember the midweek clash with Aston Villa too fondly.
The game was marred with controversy after the goal-line technology system failed to pick up Ørjan Nyland's horrendous mistake, when he carried Oliver Norwood's free kick into his own goal.
Hawk-Eye statement on the goal line incident during Aston Villa v Sheffield match this evening. pic.twitter.com/I2u5lqKMqe— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) June 17, 2020
Newcastle are yet to get back underway, and jumping straight in with Chris Wilder's Blades is no easy task. Prior to the suspension in play, they endured mixed fortunes - but did their last two games.
Here's a rundown of each side's previous five results:
Southampton 0-1 Newcastle (07/03/20) West Brom 2-3 Newcastle (03/03/20) Newcastle 0-0 Burnley (29/02/20) Crystal Palace 1-0 Newcastle (22/02/20) Arsenal 4-0 Newcastle (16/02/20)
Aston Villa 0-0 Sheffield United (17/06/20) Sheffield United 1-0 Norwich City (07/03/20) Reading 1-2 Sheffield United (03/03/20) Sheffield United 1-1 Brighton (22/02/20) Sheffield United 2-1 Bournemouth (09/02/20)
While Newcastle were in good stead with two wins on the bounce before the suspension of play, they will undoubtedly struggle here because of ring rust.
Sheffield United have a game under their belt and can look to use that advantage, also recounting some of their spirited displays on the road. A combination of Newcastle's lack of power and the Blades' resolute defence should result in a tight away win.
Prediction: Newcastle 0-1 Sheffield United
Source : 90min