Magpies should finally take all the spoils from Black Cats
Premier League 7/2 relegation chances Sunderland go into this Tyne-Wear derby undefeated against Newcastle United in their last five battles, including getting the double over them last season. However, despite that run, Coral make the Black Cats 3/1 outsiders for victory.
That is likely due in part to the Magpies’ hot streak in the last nine matches, where they have won six of their last nine in the Premier League, including taking all the spoils against Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool. As a result, they are evens favourites for their first home victory over their northeast rivals since 2010.
The pressure finally seems to be off Alan Pardew, after his side’s poor start to the season, for the time being at least, and a repeat of that 5-1 defeat of the Black Cats in 2010 could in fact put further pressure on counterpart Gus Poyet. That scoreline in Newcastle’s favour again is 125/1.
Poyet is fourth-equal favourite at 14/1 to be the next Premier League manager to leave, with his side on a run of six games without a win. Five of those have been draws, though, so take odds of 12/5 if you fancy that outcome here.
The Uruguayan has a fantastic record against the Magpies as a manager, having won all four of his matches, but Pardew is keen to rectify that stat, and he spoke of the importance of the fixture ahead of the clash.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play in cup finals, but if any manager asked me, ‘What’s the biggest game you’ve been involved in?’, I’d say Newcastle versus Sunderland,” the Newcastle boss said.
“The electricity of this game really is something else, and you have to be at it to appreciate it. I’m looking forward to experiencing that again.
“The end, not so much if you lose. Particularly around Christmas time when it’s goodwill to all men, the gravy is going to be a bit lumpy if we lose. So it’s important to win.”
After losing 3-0 at home in both of the Toon’s last two battles with Sunderland, who are 60/1 chances to beat them by that scoreline again, Pardew added: “We made mistakes and they punished us. We weren’t patient enough and they played a similar game to how they will play on Sunday, playing deep and looking to hurt us on the break.
“Their average pass to the goal was two passes before they scored and that tells you everything about the way they capitalise on your errors. We’ve got to make sure we don’t make errors.”
Jack Colback is an interesting subplot of this encounter, with the Magpies midfielder set to play his first match against his old club. He was on target in this fixture last term for Sunderland, and is a 7/1 chance to score for his boyhood side this time.
In-form striking duo Papiss Cisse and Ayoze Perez will be hoping to carry on their good run, and are evens and 5/4 respectively to net anytime. Cisse, meanwhile is a more enticing 4/1 to score last.
For the visitors, Adam johnson has been on target in his last two matches at St James’ Park, and is an 11/2 shout to strike once more.
Steven Fletcher, who also netted against Newcastle last season, is expected to return to the starting line-up, and he is 15/8 to score anytime.
Flop Jozy Altidore, who has one Premier League goal in his 41 appearances for Sunderland, is likely to make way for the Scot, but Emanuele Giaccherini and Billy Jones could feature.
Newcastle have good news in that third-choice keeper Jak Alnwick is fit to start, after picking up a shoulder knock in the 4-0 Capital One Cup loss to Spurs, and Daryl Janmaat is back from suspension. Moussa Sissoko, Steven Taylor and Cheick Tiote are also all in line to play.