Sunderland’s rivalry with Newcastle is among the most partisan in any league and anyone who holds the latter dear to their hearts will know how much anguish this geographical beef has caused in recent times.
The Black Cats are chasing an unprecedented sixth Tyne-Wear derby victory in succession, having been in sole ownership of the bragging rights for almost three years.
The sub plots are fascinating. Two new managers contest it for the first time (in charge of their respective clubs at least) and both sides have spent the entire campaign in the drop zone to date.
Here at Ladbrokes News we’ve gone to the Top Trump cards to see if we can pick a winner, and long-suffering Toon enthusiasts ought to be delighted.
The Geordies can be backed at 9/5 with Ladbrokes.
Overall Form: Sunderland (LLLDL) 1/10 v Newcastle (LLDLW) 6/10
The change of manager at the Stadium of Light says all that needs to be said about Sunderland’s dismal form, as the Black Cats have attained just three of a possible 27 points this season. Meanwhile, Newcastle had been mirror images of haplessness until drawing with champions Chelsea at home and then unexpectedly stuffing Norwich 6-2 last time out. There is no doubting whose tails will be up.
Derby Form: Sunderland 9/10 v Newcastle 1/10
The Black Cats’ exemplary recent record in this Tyne-Wear grudge match goes a long way to make up for their early-season toils. Sunderland have held a monopoly over the bragging rights for five consecutive matches, taking 15 points off their empty-handed rivals. Magpies boss Steve McClaren will be praying he can reverse this derby malaise, while former Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce, will be equally as desperate to continue the hoodoo.
Defence: Sunderland 3/10 v Newcastle 3/10
Only since Newcastle stuffed them can Norwich claim the unenviable tag of owning a more porous defence than either of these north-east rivals. The Canaries have conceded 20 times compared to 19 each for these leaky enemies.
Attack: Sunderland 4/10 v Newcastle 7/10
Before Norwich were hit for six, both attacks had shown consistent levels of ineptitude. However, McClaren finally unlocked some potential in that game and now his side are four goals better off than the misfiring side Allardyce inherits. Sunderland have potential going forward themselves, but unlike their bitter rivals, are yet to realise it.
Star Man: Sunderland, Yann M’Villa 5/10 v 8/10 Georginio Wijnaldum
Sunderland’s showings this season make the task of picking a standout performer very difficult. Jermaine Defoe, Steven Fletcher and Jeremain Lens (suspended) all have a couple goals each, but for consistency, two assists and a goal, big-name midfielder M’Villa rates the best of an underwhelming bunch. While Newcastle are hardly flush with world beaters at present, Wijnaldum’s six goals are fair reward for the all-action Dutchman’s laudably rapid adaptation to the English game.
Totals: Sunderland 22/50 v Newcastle 25/50
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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