Sam Allardyce can feel somewhat aggrieved this week not to have picked up a point in his first game as Sunderland manager last Saturday at West Brom.
A controversial Costel Pantilimon error allowed Saido Berahino to tap in the only goal of the game at the Hawthorns, denying what Big Sam believed was a deserved point for the Black Cats.
North-east rivals Newcastle however enjoyed their best weekend of the season with a 6-2 win at home to Norwich, but while that might cause some Sunderland fans a sleepless night or two this week, there’s plenty of reason to be confident ahead of the first Wear-Tyne derby of the season.
Firstly, Sunderland have dominated this fixture in recent years, winning each of the last five.
Allardyce will lead out a team which hasn’t lost any of the last seven meetings with the Toon, showing that when form goes out of the window as it does in these games, Sunderland turn up on the day when it really matters.
Secondly, Sunderland haven’t been that bad at the Stadium of Light this season.
Swansea could only claim a draw, while Tottenham took a narrow 1-0 win back to White Hart Lane and away day kings West Ham were held to a 2-2 draw at the start of October.
Thirdly, look beyond the scoreline from St James’ Park on Sunday and you’ll quickly note that Newcastle’s six goals came from their only six shots on target during the game.
The goals however were as much to do with Norwich’s kamikaze defence as it was sharp finishing from Georginio WIjnaldum and the rest.
All told, the Wearsiders have every reason to go into Sunday afternoon’s encounter in full voice and full belief.
Sunderland are slight favourites with the bookies too, with the Black Cats priced up at 7/5 to win the game by Ladbrokes.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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