The FourFourTwo Preview: Sunderland vs Newcastle
Poyet’s chance to knee-slide his way into the Black Cats' good books.
Sunderland’s new manager would probably not have picked the Tyne-Wear derby for his home debut at the Stadium of Light, but it could prove to be the perfect tonic to last weekend’s second half horror show at Swansea.
- Swansea 4-0 Sunderland (Prem)
- Sunderland 1-2 Man Utd (Prem)
- Sunderland 1-3 Liverpool (Prem)
- Sunderland 2-0 Peterboro' (LC)
- WBA 3-0 Sunderland (Prem)
- Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool (Prem)
- Cardiff 1-2 Newcastle (Prem)
- Everton 3-2 Newcastle (Prem)
- Newcastle 2-0 Leeds (LC)
- Newcastle 2-3 Hull (Prem)
The Uruguayan will be wary of recording a victory over the Mackems’ arch rivals in his second game at the helm, however. Predecessor Paolo Di Canio did just that in April – the 3-0 win at St James’ Park was Sunderland’s first there in 13 years – but the Italian went on to win just two more matches during his tumultuous 13-game reign on Wearside.
Nevertheless, the rock-bottom Black Cats need a win and need it fast, facing a seven-point deficit to 17th-placed Cardiff. But with Newcastle a team currently blowing hot and cold they will fancy their chances. Derby, form book, window, etc.
Alan Pardew’s charges have gone from the ridiculous at Everton to the sublime at Aston Villa, and managed to combine the two in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool.
Pardew deployed flamboyant Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa in a free role up front against the Reds, allowing the maverick to wreak havoc while limiting the damage caused by his defensive deficiencies. For 40 minutes the move was paying off.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s dismissal put pay to Plan A, and in truth the Toon were fortunate to avoid defeat as a profligate Liverpool scored from just one of their 15 second-half efforts. Yet the morale gained from hanging on for a precious point, on top of their performance in the opening 45 minutes, should stand Newcastle in good stead.
They will also be buoyed by the fact they have lost just one of their last 16 Tyne-Wear derbies in Sunderland's back yard, although nine have ended all square with three of the last five finishing 1-1.
Yanga-Mbiwa serves his one-match ban for last week’s buffoonery. Fellow centre-backs Fabricio Coloccini (groin) and Steven Taylor (hamstring) may not be ready to return, so goalscoring substitute and local lad Paul Dummett could be given the opportunity to line up against the arch enemy. “I know exactly what this game means to this football club – especially as I am a fan," he said. “I'll be doing everything I can to help the club." Left-back Massadio Haidara is nearing a return from a knee injury, but long-term absentee Ryan Taylor is still some way from recovering from his own knee woes.
The Black Cats only have Wes Brown on the sidelines after striker Steven Fletcher’s shoulder problem cleared up enough for him to feature at Swansea last week. Italian midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini, meanwhile, is relishing his first derby in England, saying: “It is like Roma vs Lazio, not Inter Milan vs AC Milan. In the Milan derby, both sets of fans really want to win but if they lose they shrug and move on. In Rome, whichever side loses the derby, it is very bad, and I know that that is what it is like here.”
Key battle: Lee Cattermole vs Cheick Tiote
Two battle-hardened midfielders never too far away from the referee’s notebook; their tussle could go a long way to deciding the eventual victor. Before his team were reduced to 10 men, Ivorian Tiote had bossed the centre of the park against Liverpool, leading the passing charts and teeing up Yohan Cabaye to break the deadlock. Tiote finished the game as top tackler as well as making 9 ball recoveries for his side, adding to his equally impressive defensive display at Cardiff a week earlier.
Sunderland could take few positives from their pummelling at Swansea, but Cattermole made more interceptions (7) than anyone else on the pitch. The 25-year-old has been restored to the team since Di Canio’s departure and displayed typically tenacious attributes in the defeats to Liverpool and Manchester United.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- N'castle 0-3 S'land (Prem, Apr 13)
- S'land 1-1 N'castle (Prem, Oct 12)
- N'castle 1-1 S'land (Prem, Mar 12)
- S'land 0-1 N'castle (Prem, Aug 11)
- S'land 1-1 N'castle (Prem, Jan 11)
Poyet has previous for beating Pardew shortly after taking charge of a team. In November 2009, the Uruguayan’s managerial debut ended in an emphatic 3-1 victory for Brighton & Hove Albion, sweeping aside Southampton 3-1 at St Mary’s.
The pair have faced off in each of the past two seasons in the FA Cup, with Poyet’s Seagulls knocking Newcastle out on both occasions: 2-0 last term and 1-0 in 2012.
Poyet scored four goals in 11 games against Newcastle as a player and is hoping to heap more misery on them, saying: "My life in England and my football career as a player and manager has been linked with Sunderland and Newcastle. A little bit more with Newcastle because somehow I always seemed to score against them. They already hated me a little bit and now they probably hate me a little bit more. That's football."
Facts and figures
- Sunderland have won just one of their previous 11 Tyne-Wear home derbies against Newcastle in the Premier League (D5 L5).
- Newcastle have scored in all 11 of their previous Premier League away games versus Sunderland.
- There have been five red cards given in the last six Premier League derbies between these two sides.
- The Black Cats have not won any of their last 12 Premier League games (L9 D3). Prior to their 3-0 victory over Newcastle in April, Sunderland had gone nine PL games without a win.
- Sunderland have not scored more than one goal in a single Premier League games since their 3-0 victory over Newcastle on April 14th - 14 games ago.
- Newcastle have won four Premier League games away from home in 2013; all by a 2-1 scoreline.
- Sunderland are only the fourth team in the history of the Premier League to have won as few as one point from their opening eight games of the season. The only team to survive were Southampton in 1998/99.
- Lee Probert has given out just two yellow cards and one red card in his five Premier League matches as a referee in 2013-14 so far.
- Newcastle have scored more goals from outside the box than any other side this season (5).
- Shola Ameobi has scored seven goals in the Premier League against Sunderland - four more than he has netted against any other side in the competition.
Pardew to be left still looking for a first win over the man from Montevideo as the spoils are shared on Wearside for the 10th time in 17 meetings, with at least one red card thrown in for good measure. 1-1.