The game of stripes – the black and white stripes of Newcastle take on the red and white stripes of Sunderland in the northeast derby. As derby matches go this is a big one. The fans of both clubs are as passionate as they come, and both clubs need to win.
While Newcastle Utd managed a top ten finish last season, this season they have failed to replicate the same level of play and are in the bottom half of the table. A run of loss’s could see them being pulled into the relegation dogfight. They have a decent squad and even made it to the Quarter final of the Europa league, but were knocked out of the competition this week by Benfica. A truly incredible run but will their efforts leave their energy running on empty?
As for Sunderland, well, where do you start? They have just sacked their manager Martin O’Neil, they have no form what-so-ever, fourth from bottom in the league and having taken on controversial manager Paolo Di Canio to try and keep them up. It is going to be an interesting run to the end of the season.
Sunderland has been in free fall since October and a loss against Newcastle would leave them in the bottom three. The question(s) is, do the players have the desire to win, does Di Canio have the knowhow to keep them up, what will the implications of a loss to their closest rivals be?
Venue: St James Park, Newcastle, Sunday, April 14th
Last season’s result: Newcastle Utd 1 Sunderland 1
Newcastle Utd form guide: WLLWLW
Sunderland form guide: LLDLDL
Newcastle Utd leading scorer: Cissé – 8
Sunderland leading scorer: Fletcher – 11
Possible team line-ups:
Newcastle Utd 4-5-1: Krul, S Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Debuchy, Haidara, Cabaye, Tiote, Sissoko, Gouffran, Gutierrez, Cisse
Manager: Alan Pardew
Sunderland 4-4-2: Mignolet, Kilgallon, O’Shea, Rose, Bardsley, Colback, N’Diaye, Johnson, Larsson, Wickham, Sessegnon
Manager: Paol Di Canio
Newcastle Utd subs from: Elliot, Perch, Simpson, Williamson, Ben Arfa, Anita, Marveaux, Bigirimana, Ameobi, Obertan, Campbell
Newcastle Utd injuries: R Taylor (knee, 20 Apr), Vuckic (knee, Aug), Santon (hamstring, unknown), Coloccini (back, unknown)
Sunderland subs from: Westwood, Cuéllar, Mangane, Bramble, McClean, Graham, Mandron, Laidler, Vaughan
Sunderland injuries: Fletcher (ankle, Aug), Cattermole (knee, Aug), Brown (knee, unknown)
• Sunderland average 0.87 points per game on a Sunday in the Premier League, the worst record of any side to have played 50 or more matches on this day
• Newcastle have scored a 90th-minute winner in three of the past four home games in the Premier League
• Sunderland have not kept a clean sheet at Newcastle in a top-flight match since their 3-0 win in October 1966
• Shola Ameobi has scored seven goals in 13 league games against Sunderland – he has not found the net more than three times against any other side
• There have been five red cards in the past five league matches between these sides and four of them have been shown to Sunderland players (source:Guardiannews.com)
Prediction: Newcastle Utd 2 Sunderland 0