Newcastle were disgraced last time we played Sunderland, when the lads put in a pathetic performance at St. James’ Park in April, and we went down 3-0, which was one of Newcastle’s worst ever defeats by Sunderland on home soil.
So we are hoping Newcastle can make it up to their fans, and come away with a win at the Stadium of Light today.
Sunderland are rock bottom of the Premier League with just one point from the first 24 played for, so at least on paper Newcastle should win this game, but every Premier League game, and these derby games in particular are always difficult, but we have to come away with something today.
Newcastle may have a problem in central defense, with captain Fab Coloccini nursing a groin injury he picked up while on International duty, , and though there is a chance he could play today, we think Alan Pardew will hold him back for the two home games coming up soon – at home to Manchester City in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night, and Chelsea at home next Saturday in the league.
So it’s three tough games on the tort for Newcastle before next Sunday.
Steven Taylor has been back in training this week, and all being well he will come in alongside Mike Williamson in central defense, and Mike’s been in good form recently.
And if Steven doesn’t make it, then we could see another local lad, Paul Dummett, play in his very first north-east derby game, and we think Paul can get the job done if he plays.
We’re not sure what the situation is with Jonas Gutierrez, who went back to Argentina to handle a personal problem, but we’ll assume he’s back at Newcastle and available for selection today.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is suspended for this game, after being sent off against Liverpool, but he will be available for Wednesday and Manchester City.
With the excellent performance last Saturday against Liverpool at home, we don’t expect Alan Pardew will make many changes, and this is the team we think Newcastle will field today:
Debuchy Williamson Taylor (S) Santon
Tiote (c) Cabaye Sissoko
Gouffran Ben Arfa Remy
Subs: Elliot Dummett Anita Gutierrez Marveaux Ameobi (Sh) Cisse
That’s a good team and a very strong bench for today’s game.
What would your team be for today?
Some changes to that team could be Cisse in at centre-forward for Ben Arfa, and Paul Dummett in for Steven – if Taylor isn’t fit enough to play today.
This is what Alan has said on the Newcastle web-site today about this game:
“It’s Gus’s first home game as manager of Sunderland so there’ll be an extra special atmosphere there and we need to be prepared for that.”
“Hopefully we will. We’ve got a good side, I think we’ve got a very attacking side, and I think we’re good to watch when we’re in full flow. Hopefully we can bring that to the surface on Sunday.”
“They’ve got one point, so there’s a lot of pressure on them, but I think they’ve got good players. It’s always difficult at the Stadium of Light.”
“I’ve seen two games this year and I thought they did okay – they were a little bit unfortunate certainly not to beat Fulham on the opening day.”
“So they’ve certainly got the standard to stay up. But if we can win, we’ll put them in a difficult position and obviously that’s what we want to do: win for ourselves.
“Any result there will be a good result in my opinion – a draw or a win – but being what we come off from the last game, we want to win if we can.”
In our poll 73% think we’ll win this game, and that’s the biggest percentage since we played at home to Hull City, when 85% expected a win, but we somehow managed to lose that game 3-2.
A draw or a win, as Alan Pardew mentions, would be a good result today, but if Newcastle are as good as we think they are, the lads should be able to come away with all 3 points today.