With Sunderland languishing deep in relegation trouble, Paolo Di Canio needs wins fast and, from a Mackem perspective, there’s no better place for him to break his Black Cats duck than at St James’ Park.
The Wearsiders, who have returned pointless from their last four road trips, are 3/1 to claim all three points on Tyneside, something they haven’t done since the year 2000, and look set to struggle against a Toon Army that’s won each of their previous four home games.
A price of 10/11 says the hosts will claim the bragging rights here, while 12/5 looks a decent offering for some shared spoils.
Five of the previous nine Tyne-Wear derbies have ended in stalemate, with 1-1 being the scoreline on each occasion, including three of the past four renewals. A repeat dose is rated at 6’s, but you have delve deep into the top-flight annals – as far back as the 1989-90 campaign – to discover the last time that both league meetings between these two fiercest of foes ended all square.
With that in mind, those looking for a safe bet might be tempted to lump on unders. The draw-ridden patch of nine derbies only produced two games crossing the 2.5-goal barrier and a price of 19/25 seems very reasonable for another north-east tussle failing to deliver the goals.
In addition to few goals and ample stalemates, late drama also tends to be a staple when these two enemies lock horns.
Four of the last five have seen the net bulge in the final five minutes so the 1/1 on offer for either keeper to be beaten between 75 minutes and full time is something that should come in for some serious consideration. Three of the four were scored by Sunderland; they’re 31/20 to have the final say in this one.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date