Predicted Newcastle United Starting 11 v Sunderland
Sunderland v Newcastle United
Sunday 27 October 1.30pm
After cornering the market with an impressive 19 points in 2002/03, they exceeded all expectations with a magnificent 15 in 2005/06. Sadly, the title was snatched form their grasp when Derby somehow managed to accumulate only 11 points in 2007/08 (Newcastle with a valiant effort by gifting them 4 of their 11 points that season).
However, the mackems certainly seem to mean business and so far they have managed a solitary point from eight matches, on schedule for a total of around five at the end of the season…
However, we are told that form goes out of the window in derby games. Well maybe it does up to a point but it is truly a glorious sight when you look at Newcastle United’s record on Wearside. In over 30 years and sixteen visits, United have only tasted defeat once. I defy anybody to find a derby match record elsewhere in England of such dominance by one club. For the record it reads NUFC wins (6), draws (9), losses (1).
There are claims that their record this season doesn’t tell the whole story and if they’ve played decent football at times, however the fact they are desperate to get 34 year old Wes Brown back in the team, despite not playing since January 2012, tells its own story.
The four goal second half collapse at Swansea last week didn’t suggest the new manager/broom had worked any magic, Poyet reverting to established players such as Cattermole and Bardsley meant only 3 of Di Canio’s 14 summer signings started that match.
The little notice I took of their summer shenanigans, what struck me as much as the wholesale buying policy, was the fact that they allowed their two best players by a country mile to leave – Sessegnon and Mignolet.
More importantly, last week’s display by Newcastle suggested numerous positives. While there was the valiant rearguard action in the second half, it was the dominant first half performance that really filled you with confidence. Newcastle were well on top of Liverpool and the controlled possession gave strong hints of much better to come.
While there appears to have been a lot of deliberate misinformation surrounding Coloccini’s absence/fitness/whereabouts – Alan Pardew revealed today that Colo has an outside chance of making Sunday’s game, despite rumours to the contrary that he would be out until Christmas. A more realistic possibility though is I believe Taylor going back into the team alongside Williamson and Dummett missing out.
With Mapou available after this match and Coloccini on his way back, I can see Pardew taking a chance on Taylor even if he isn’t 100%.
The rest of the defence takes care of itself with Krul and the full-backs looking to be getting into form the last couple of games.
The manager sprang a surprise with Ben Arfa employed as a ‘False 9’ against Liverpool, playing in the middle but drifting back into midfield leaving Liverpool’s three centre-backs wondering what to do. It led to all kinds of attacking options from midfield and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be employed again against the likes of O’Shea and Brown, if he makes it. Runs from the likes of Remy, Ben Arfa, Gouffran, Cabaye and Sissoko could leave the mackem defence at sixes and sevens.
If Newcastle don’t get drawn into a kicking contest and make sure they don’t concede early on when no doubt they’ll throw everything at Newcastle, then surely the game will be set up for a Newcastle win.
The way the players kept possession and moved the ball forward in an intelligent way, was a million miles from the long ball stuff we saw so often last season. No doubt some pundits will point to how many non-English players will be on the pitch on both sides but surely the defining statistic is who has the most talented players at their disposal.
I think we’ll win (NUFC 8/5 to win) and the biggest worry is that United contrive a way to not win the game, rather than anything Sunderland do to dictate the final result.
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