With both sides sitting in the Premier League bottom three, the Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby may prove to be one of the most exciting yet. The first thing the two managers will tell their players is try not to get sent off, as these matches were often decided by a red card or two in the past.
While he somehow managed to save Sunderland from the drop, Dick Advocaat failed to bring any sort of improvement to the Stadium of Light and nobody was really surprised to see him leave at the start of the new season. By the time the Dutch coach departed, the Black Cats had taken mere three points from first eight fixtures, and new manager Sam Allardyce now definitely has his work cut out for him. Big Sam didn’t have time to change much ahead of the West Bromwich game, with his side having succumbed to a narrow defeat, but the Wear-Tyne derby could be a perfect opportunity for Sunderland to record the first win of the season, even if that is not going to be an easy task. Everybody can see that this team have got a lot more potential than they are showing by the former West Ham manager will probably need time to help his men restore the lost confidence and again start believing in their own abilities. The huge experience of players like John O’Shea, Sebastian Larsson and Lee Cattermole could be very important during this transition process, although the hosts will have to find just the right amount of passion and energy to give their best in the local derby without risking a sending off. The good news is that Jeremain Lens and Sebastian Coates both return from suspension, while Ola Toivonen could be available after recovering from a thigh problem.
Similar to their bitter rivals, Newcastle enjoyed a largely disappointing start to the new campaign, but the reality is it was only a matter of time before they turned it around. Having reinforced their ranks with Georginio Wijnaldum, Florian Thauvin, Chancel Mbemba and Aleksandar Mitrovic in the summer, the Magpies were always going to show some improvement, and the 6-2 hammering of Norwich City could prove to be the turning point. That was only the first win of the new Premier League campaign for Steve McClaren’s charges, but everything suggests there will be many more to come. And while the back line is still not looking too impressive, especially with Tim Krul set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Newcastle have shown a great deal of promise up front. Summer recruit Aleksandar Mitrovic is slowly showing that he has what it takes to play at this level and no doubt he will benefit from working with the former England boss. At the same time, Georginio Wijnaldum, Ayoze Perez and Moussa Sissoko are all playing important roles in the attacking phase, with the Netherlands hotshot becoming only the second midfielder to bag four goals in a single Premier League match. As a result, the Magpies head into the derby game in excellent spirits, especially with Kevin Mbabu and Rolando Aarons returning from injury.
The 1-0 defeat to West Brom is enough to suggest that Sam Allardyce will need some more time to turn things around, whereas Newcastle have finally recorded that morale-boosting win they longed for. With that in mind, we believe that the visitors are closer to winning the Wear-Tyne derby.
Verdict: Newcastle Draw no bet
Best Odds: 21/20
Bookmaker: William Hill