Newcastle United v sunderland
Newcastle United v sunderland – Live On ESPN
Sunday 4 March 2012 12noon
History tells us that even when we have had a much stronger team than them, it hasn’t often been reflected in the scoreline, though obviously we’ve had the upper hand in terms of wins.
The overall league record sees United ahead on 53 wins with the mackems trailing on 46, with 46 draws also. Since SKY came along and reinvented (as they’d have you believe) football though, Newcastle have 9 wins to sunderland’s 3, with 7 draws.
Rather than just the usual pride to play for, this Sunday has the added spice of our aspirations to finish as high within the top seven as possible, while you have to acknowledge that up to now O’Neill has got the players playing for them unlike their relegation form under Bruce.
With Bruce they won 11 points from 14 matches, compared to 22 from 12 under the new manager. On their travels they’ve only scored more than one goal on three occasions so if we can iron out recent defensive problems a couple or more at the other end should win it.
On the little I’ve seen of them, under O’Neill they tend to sit back and then hunt in packs hoping to catch the opposition in possession and in James McClean they seem to have found a bargain and their most dangerous player. It will be interesting to see how Alan Pardew combats their most dangerous player on what is our weaker right-hand side. Apart from McClean we’ll have to be careful of giving away cheap free-kicks as Larsson can be dangerous and is second top scorer on six goals, one behind Sessegnon.
Having said all that though they are an average, at best, workmanlike team and the match will be all about how our players perform, with hopefully the Wolves match blowing away any cobwebs and this is just the right game to focus the minds of Tiote, Cissé, Cabaye and their team mates.
I can’t see Alan Pardew springing any big surprises and assuming everybody has recovered from any Wolves knocks, the team probably won’t show any changes. Maybe the position he’ll be giving most thought to will be right midfield and in theory Taylor, Obertan, Ben Arfa and possibly even for some people, Guthrie, fighting it out. To help keep McClean quiet I’m guessing the biggest threat to Ryan Taylor would be Obertan.
Courtesy of our betting partners BET365 we’ve got some hopefully value for money tips to top up your derby day enjoyment.
When it comes top first goalscorer these matches can throw up unlikely ones such as Dabizas, Andy O’Brien and indeed Ryan Taylor earlier this season. Taylor is a skinny 14-1 which doesn’t give great value so we’ve gone for a lively outsider in Davide Santon at 40-1 for first goal. His surging runs forward have been one of the better points in recent matches and he’s also willing to have a crack.
In recent years the likes of Nolan, Shola and Owen have scored two or more in home derbies so with Cissé looking lively and in amongst the goals, we’re tipping him to score two goals or more at 10-1, experience telling us that an early goal can lead to more in these matches. Finally, we are taking the BET365 price of 17-2 on a 2-0 home win, a realistic outcome…if the defence keep their heads!
***If anyone is planning to travel by metro, please note the section between Tynemouth and Wallsend will be closed in both directions all weekend. Bus replacement number 900 will operate and will be calling at all affected stations.
(Fur future reference, the same section of line will be closed on Sunday March 18th when Newcastle play Norwich City, while an as yet unconfirmed part of the system will be closed on Sunday April 1st, when Liverpool are at St.james’ Park).
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]