Newcastle United unleash rare £58m 'flex' as West Ham United dealt Premier League blow

Callum Wilson of Newcastle United scores his team's fifth goal past Wes Foderingham of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park on April 27, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.Callum Wilson of Newcastle United scores his team's fifth goal past Wes Foderingham of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park on April 27, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Callum Wilson of Newcastle United scores his team's fifth goal past Wes Foderingham of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park on April 27, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Newcastle United kept themselves right in the mix for a European spot with a 5-1 win over Sheffield United at St James’ Park in the Premier League.

They made hard work of it for large periods, but Newcastle United kept themselves right in the hunt for a top six finish with a 5-1 win over Sheffield United. Seems a silly thing to say really, but they really didn’t have it all their own way, despite what the scoreline sugests.

A cagey first 45, in which the now relegated Blades had chances galore, saw Newcastle go in level, as Anel Ahmedhodzic netted the opener, only to be cancelled out by Alexander Isak.

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Then came the step up in levels and the away collapse as Bruno Guimaraes, Isak from the spot, an own goal from Ben Osborn and a late finish from Callum Wilson saw all three points remain on Tyneside.

But what were the main talking points? Here’s the NewcastleWorld take...

Callum Wilson of Newcastle United scores his team's fifth goal past Wes Foderingham of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park on April 27, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.Callum Wilson of Newcastle United scores his team's fifth goal past Wes Foderingham of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park on April 27, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Callum Wilson of Newcastle United scores his team's fifth goal past Wes Foderingham of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park on April 27, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Alexander the great

Alan Shearer proved himself to be the best there ever was, his goals edging him past legends like Supermac, Hughie Gallacher and Jackie Milburn.

Isak has a long, long way to go to even get close to those names - and is unlikely to ever stay long enough to hit those heights, but in terms of technical ability and levels in the game right now, it’s hard to argue that Newcastle have ever, in the modern era, had a more perfect, accomplished striker.

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He’s world class - and you get the sense he hasn’t even hit his ceiling yet.

Nineteen Premier League goals for the season, 23 in total. You have to go back to the great man himself, Shearer, to get anywhere close to those numbers.

Return of the ‘bomb squad’

So often this season Eddie Howe has had nothing in reserve to call upon. But when he has, especially at home, Newcastle's subs have, mostly, made an impact.

Think Aston Villa on the first day, the comeback against West Ham - and now add Sheffield United to that list.

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The role of impact men is not something either Callum Wilson or Harvey Barnes would welcome, I’m sure, but it’s a role they’ve filled perfectly, at times this season.

Bruno Guimaraes - a day to remember

After a week of yet more exit speculation and release clause confirmation - at least publicly - it felt only right that Newcastle’s Brazilian maestro was shown just how much he is loved by Geordie faithful. Wor Flags did everyone proud, and really struck the right chord with their emotional message to Bruno and Joelinton.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Guimaraes put in a performance worthy of the praise, as he took the game by the scruff of the neck, as he so often does in these situations, to pull and push open the gaps in the Blades backline for the likes of Isak and Anthony Gordon to drive into.

If he didn’t know it before, he sure does now. Bruno is LOVED on Tyneside - and no matter what happens in the future, he’s written himself into the history books at this great football club. There’s very few like him. It’s almost like he’s irreplaceable.

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Fatigue and fitness an issue?

Seems strange to focus on this subject after a comprehensive win, but it played a massive role in Newcastle’s struggles for the first 50 minutes or so.

Tino Livramento, in particular, looked very leggy, after a short time out injured.

This season has been a long one for everyone involved, no more so than the players, who’ve left absolutely everything out on the pitch and more.

The summer can’t come soon enough in many ways - but there’s still a whole lot to play for, with four games to go.

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One foot back in Europe?

Now I’m never one to tempt fate, but I might well make an exception here. With West Ham dropping points and Chelsea still very much behind the Magpies, it now looks to be just a three horse race for the - likely - two spots in Europe - 6th and 7th.

Manchester United look nailed on to finish in the top seven and they are in the FA Cup final, so even if they win it, the place will either drop down to 7th (if they finish 6th) or they’ll take 7th and Europa, while 6th will be Conference League.

It’s a complicated equation, but things are starting to level out right now - and Newcastle look to be on the right side of divide.

Of all the teams in the race, West Ham look the least likely to break a top seven spot, given they’re four points back with only three games to play.

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