Sunday 25th October – 12:00 – The Stadium Of Light
Sunderland can make it six Premier League derby wins in succession when they host Newcastle on Sunday. The Black Cats have taken victory on the past five occasions, scoring 10 goals and conceding just one in the process as they have dominated the fixture in recent seasons. If it needed any further spice, the game sees former Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce take charge in the opposite dugout as he becomes the first manager to lead both sides in this fixture. It’s a vital match for both sides as they look to push away from the wrong end of the table, but Steve McClaren alleviated some of the mounting pressure as his side hammered Norwich 6-2 to pick up their first win of the season last weekend thanks to four goals from Georginio Wijnaldum. Sunderland, meanwhile, are rooted to the bottom of the table and are still without a win this season, losing to West Brom courtesy of a controversial Saido Berahino goal in Allardyce’s first game in charge. [Adapted from Sky Sports]
- Sam Allardyce has revealed striker Fabio Borini picked up a knock in the defeat to West Brom and hasn’t trained this week, but will undergo a late fitness test.
- Jeremain Lens and Sebastian Coates both return from suspension, while Ola Toivonen is also available for the hosts after recovering from a groin problem.
- Jack Rodwell, Adam Matthews (both ankle) and Duncan Watmore (hamstring) look set to remain out.
- Defenders Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara and midfielder Cheick Tiote all returned to action against Norwich last weekend and came through unscathed.
- Full-back Kevin Mbabu (hamstring) and midfielder Rolando Aarons (calf) are back in training, but goalkeepers Tim Krul (cruciate ligament) and Karl Darlow (ankle), defender Steven Taylor and midfielder Gabriel Obertan (both hamstring), plus striker Emmanuel Riviere (knee) remain on the sidelines.
- Steve McClaren has no fresh injury concerns and could well name the same starting XI that beat Norwich so convincingly last weekend.
The Key Battle: DeAndre Yedlin vs Georginio Wijnaldum
Despite being used primarily as a winger by the US national team, DeAndre Yedlin has been deployed at right-back in his two previous starts for Sunderland.
Last time out against West Brom, he went some way to suggesting that it could be his permanent position in future. He was relatively solid at the back as he managed to keep James McClean quiet (during the 90 minutes anyway!), but at the same time was still able to utilise his attacking ability.
However, on Sunday he will come up against a man in form – Georginio Wijnaldum. The midfielder was the star of the show in the 6-2 win against Norwich, grabbing four goals as he proved why he was named last season’s Dutch Footballer of the Year.
If Yedlin gives him the time and opportunities that he was afforded against the Canaries, then Wijnaldum may prove to be the decisive factor in the game once again and hand Newcastle a derby victory.
Sunderland wins = 52 / Newcastle United wins = 53 / Draws = 49
*According to Wikipedia
Last Meeting: Sunderland 1-0 Newcastle United (4th April 2015)
Jermain Defoe’s stunning first-half volley gave Sunderland a fifth successive derby win over Newcastle to ease their relegation fears. The 32 year old met a Steven Fletcher header to thump a looping shot into the top corner from 22 yards as Sunderland won for the first time in nine games. It was his third goal for the club and gave recently appointed boss Dick Advocaat a first win as Sunderland moved to 15th. Newcastle rarely threatened as they slumped to a fourth straight loss. [BBC]
Sam Allardyce: “Hopefully we can evolve as a backroom team and help the players on the pitch. My job is to remind the players of the importance of the game and control their emotions. Hopefully they can achieve what they have before – an outstanding victory.”
Steve McClaren: “The derby is massive for the fans. There’s a determination to win it for them but it’s important we go into every game with the same amount of determination. We have to make sure we play the game and not the occasion.”
The Referee – Robert Madley
- Last Premier League game: Swansea City 0-1 Stoke City (19th October 2015) – 4 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Sunderland game: Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland (29th August 2015) – 3 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Newcastle United game: Newcastle United 1-2 Southampton (17th January 2015) – 2 yellow cards, 0 red cards
Stat of the Match
Sam Allardyce is the fourth consecutive Sunderland boss to face Newcastle in his second game in charge. Paolo Di Canio, Gus Poyet and Dick Advocaat all lost their opening match before winning in the derby.
Where can I watch it?
It’s the earliest kick-off in the Premier League this season at midday, meaning that Sky Sports 1’s coverage of the game begins at 11:30am. Alternatively, you can watch highlights of the match on Match of the Day 2 which is on BBC Two at 10pm on Sunday evening.
My Prediction: Sunderland 1-1 Newcastle United
You can argue a case for both sides winning this game. Sunderland’s recent record in the derby is excellent, whilst Newcastle were given a serious morale boost last weekend. It’s for that reason that I’m going for a 1-1 draw, with the goals coming Jermain Defoe and Ayoze Perez.