So out of the players available today in the Sunderland v Newcastle clash, who would you have in your team?

When you are a direct participant it is hard to step back and be objective.

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As a Newcastle fan I haven’t much of a clue about how good or bad the mackem individuals are, apart from seeing them last on Match of The Day each week and what I read and pick up elsewhere.

In fact my eleven below, is probably more about my acceptance of where Newcastle’s excruciating weaknesses are, rather than any Sudnerland players being obvious choices.

No doubt there might be one or two who disagree but here is my starting eleven from the current combined squads that are allegedly available today:




Whatever other mackem centre-back they have instead of injured Wes Brown

Van Aanholt







Those of you who are quick off the mark will have worked out that there is one more mackem in the team.

The goalkeeper selection is probably the most contentious.

Tim Krul is still decent most of the time and occasionally excellent, but he isn’t the consistently top notch player he was in  2011/12 when United finished fifth. In  contrast Pantilimon has by all accounts been Sunderland’s best player and  despite their league position he has let in few goals than Krul and Alnwick/Elliot.

In defence: Janmaat is obviously a class act and the easiest choice in the whole team for positive reasons. As for the rest of the back four …our one fit centre-back (Williamson) is hopeless and we don’t have any specialist left-backs.

It isn’t that Sunderland have got a decent defence, Newcastle simply don’t have one.

In midfield: Sissoko and Colback are easy choices for me, whilst Cabella is coming good and Adam Johnson is obviously their most skilful player. The idea of playing Sammy Ameobi or Obertan ahead of him is laugable.

Forwards: Once again I see this is as easy choice, with no Cisse I would go for Defoe alongside Ayoze Perez every time. If you’re honest with yourself, you would take Defoe playing today if he was in black and white.

Six Sunderland players and only five Newcastle, but the make-up of this team simply rubber stamps what I think Newcastle have to do.

In my team, four of the front six are Newcastle players and that is what Carver needs to concentrate on, getting United on the front foot and making best use of the players we have who could win the game.

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