Who is the better team heading into the derby?

Who is better?
Newcastle host Sunderland today in what will be the 146th Tyne Wear Derby. The form book can often be thrown out of the window when it comes to these sorts of games, but out of the two top North East teams, who is stronger?

Newcastle had a flying start to the season managing 11 games without defeat, before finally falling at the hands of Manchester City. At our peak, we sat in 3rd and up until recently looked like we could pose a serious threat to the top-four.

Since our defeat at the Etihad, our form has lacked any real consistency, picking up back to back wins only twice, and winning only five of a possible 14 games. Victories against the likes of Manchester United have shown that when on form, we have the quality to threaten, whilst heavy defeats to Fulham, Norwich and Tottenham illustrate that defensively we can be very poor when rattled. Currently sitting in 6th but with tough games against Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and City still to come, hanging on to 7th place and with it, European qualification, would be a massive achievement for a team that was in the Championship just two seasons ago.

Sunderland meanwhile have been pretty much the opposite of us. After an appalling start to the season under Steve Bruce, they sat in 16th place, just two points above the drop zone when the former Geordie was sacked in November. Since Martin O’Neill’s arrival, they have looked a different team, winning 7 of their last 12, including a famous 1-0 against Manchester City. In doing so, Sunderland have climbed from relegation candidates, to European contenders, now sitting in 9th place. Poor recent performances against both Arsenal, and most recently West Brom, have led to suggestions that O’Neills honeymoon is over, though it is unlikely that any of the players will be keen for a repeat of the 4-0 drubbing they received last weekend.

Player-Wise, Newcastle have shown that quality can be bought on a budget, with Davide Santon and Yohan Cabaye both impressing in their first seasons of English football. It is Demba Ba, however, who has surprised the most. With his 16 goals for the season, he his only bettered by Wayne Rooney and Arsenal frontman Robin Van Persie. Signing on a free in the summer, Ba has proved to be excellent value for Newcastle and has alerted some of Europe’s top clubs. The addition of Papiss Cisse in January saw us strengthen the front line further. As to whether his big money move from Germany will pay off is yet to be seen, but with a good record for the Bundesliga basement boys, Freiberg, he certainly looks promising.

For Sunderland, much investment was made in the summer, as the likes of Seb Larsson, Connor Wickham, Nicklas Bendtner, John O’Shea, Wes Brown and Craig Gardner all joined, in attempt to take Sunderland from perennial mid-tablers, to top-six European contenders. After several injuries, they have been forced to play much of the season with attacking midfielder Stephane Sessegnon as their solitary forward, although the return of an in-form Frazier Campbell in recent weeks has increased their chances in front of goal.

James McClean was another new signing in the summer, tipped to only play a role in the reserves this year. However, after a string of good performances it appears that the Mackems may have unearthed a gem, with the young Irish winger showing promising ability in his opening ten games for the club.

If pushed, I would probably be biased and say Newcastle are the better team. Strength in depth is somewhat of an issue for both teams, with each side looking stretched at times throughout the campaign. Currently, Sunderland have the better form, although home advantage and a habit of winning over the neighbours may aid Newcastle in attempting to extend our unbeaten run against the Mackems at St James’ Park, stretching back to 2001.

Howay the lads!

About Ben Johnson

In 3rd year of English degree at Leeds Trinity University. Hoping to go on and do something Sports Journalism related. Breathe NUFC. Follow me on twitter @nufc_blog

75 thoughts on “Who is the better team heading into the derby?

  1. Thanks for the article. Obviously we are. How many of theirs would make our 1st team? Form is actually very close.

    Slightly off thread I see that the Mail is quoting £16m to Colo over 4 yrs eg £80kpw & £15m to Tim over 5ys eg £60kpw. That ends the wage cap argument.


  2. the form.. that is a dead easy one to work out i guess.. start with the point that MoN took over Sunderland and then see which team has the most points. There is your form basically. i cant be arsed looking but i expect it will be them and not us.


  3. @Prem

    I nearly choked on my coffee until I read your next post and you realised it was the Daily Star. 😉


    Good read Ben.

    I know you said we may qualify for Europe if we finish 7th. I don’t believe that’s possible is it?

    I thought the lowest we could finish would be 6th with Liverpool above us.

    I could be wrong. It’s normally Toonsy who has these things sewn up.


    If we finish 7th and Liverpool are 6th can we qualify for Europe. ?


  4. cant wait for this one!! might pop for a pint before i go into the game! how much are the pints in shearers bar?


  5. Witters totally agree, but they are not going to be way out. we won’t be paying £20-£25kpw to them.


  6. NUFC are the better team (regardless of the converstion topic) 😉

    Really want the big win today but I’d take a scrappy 1-0 all day long. Hope the team do us proud. Sure they will.

    HOWAY THE LADS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  7. Troy….yep, if the 2 FA cup finalists are in europe via the league positions and Liverpool finish above us………possibly, maybe, I think ish 😕


  8. @army

    £3.60 for lager in Shearers and £3.80 in the ground. Rip off! 😯

    I take a camel back pack into the ground full of Stella and get blooted ! 😛


  9. Don’t matter only reason we will finish 7th is if Liverpool finish above us. Ain’t gonna happen. We will be finishing 6th minimum. More likely higher.


  10. Troy… 😳 😆

    I’d take a completely uneducated guess and say if any 2 from Spurs, Chelski or Liverpool reach the FA cup final then 7th would be enough 😕


    March 4, 2012 at 08:36
    £3.60 for lager in Shearers and £3.80 in the ground. Rip off!
    I take a camel back pack into the ground full of Stella and get blooted

    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆


  12. Its ridiculous that we could finish 6th with Liverpool 7th and we don’t qualify and we could finish 7th and Liverpool 6th and we qualify. 😯


  13. On topic, we’re better of course!!!

    I wrote in the match preview about how perceptions are funny and it is perceived that Sunderland are in great form and we’re not when in reality we actually are in better form than them 😯


  14. weyy im only goin for one so im sure i can splash oot on 3.60 😆

    whos goin today then?? im gettn picked up in an hour to go

    ive never been to a derby match 😯


  15. Troy – You need what they have at Fulham. Like ghostbuster backpacks/jetpacks full of beer. They just wander around filling your plastic glass for you. Most excellent 😀


  16. my predictions for the next 6 games

    v scum ….. win
    v arsenal….loss
    v norwich…..draw
    v wets brom…..loss
    v liverpool …… win
    v swansea ….. win

    but i know feck all so lets hope we win all them 😆


  17. Trunks – check
    Boots – check
    Stella back pack – check

    Reet young Chip, your turn.
    Trunks – check
    Boots – check
    Stella back pack – check

    Go tell your mam Chip we are ready. ! 😛


  18. I reckon that our boys seem to appreciate the importance behind these games more than our opponents. Maybe that is why we have had the wood over them of late. This is based on the general body language from the past games, we definately seem to want it more..


  19. we will be 7 points infront of 7th today and 13 points infront of the scum if we win today!! we will also hit 46points which was our total for last season with 11 games to spare!! that is a massive improovement from last season!!


  20. We r better team no question. Have a good feeling about today. Think Ba is gonna destroy them!


  21. i think its quite obvious the team for today apart from the right midfield spot!! for how much i think benny should be playing more i defo think ryan taylor will fit in the right spot today better as he will beefin up the midfield !! defo bring benny on 2nd half around 60 mins tho , my prediction 2-1 toon


  22. alreet lads… no question on topic.. we are.

    F*cking ruined myself last night and I am now in a world of pain… i need a hangover cure and a cabaye screamer seems to be the best option. 😈


  23. Well after yesterdays games, the Muckems are down in 12th & we’re still 4 pts clear of Cessepool with a game in hand… 🙂

    Who’s the better team, silly question, just look who plays for whcih teams & then decide… its ussssssssssssssssssssss!!!!!

    I predict a 2-1 win today 😉 😉


  24. TOON to win 5 – 0 = 100/1 😉 , DEMBA hatrick = 34/1 😉 happys days i think!! 😆 😆 😆 honestly think we will win comfortably, sunderland will be coming with one mission – NOT TO LOSE!!
    goto go and pop another can, catch you later when were celebrating yet another derby win 😀 😀 😀 😀 hope everyone has a good day 😀 😀 😀


  25. Richie I know that 😀 I also know that we can beat them aslong as we give it our all.
    I think the fact that most of our players know what it means will be in our favour, add to that the feel good factor around Krul and Colo’s contracts. Though I don’t know about Simmo 😆


  26. Joseph Barton ‏ @Joey7Barton
    Up and off for breakfast this morning. Stiff after game yest. Looking forward to watching the Toon beat the Mackems later. #howwaythelads


  27. Danny Simpson ‏ @dannysimpson12
    Come on boys let’s f in have it… I no the fans r more than up for it so let’s make r home a fortress today… #12thMan


  28. Joseph Barton ‏ @Joey7Barton
    Both teams are flying at the minute. That sets it up nicely for a………0-0 draw! Mackems always get scared crossing the Tyne bridge mind


  29. Joseph Barton ‏ @Joey7Barton
    These are the times I really miss, used to love playing and nearly always beating 5under1and especially at St James’ Park #toon
    Expand Reply Retweet Favorite


  30. Who’s the better team? There’s only one answer to that, and i makes no difference what the result is today, the answer is still the same.

    Howay the lads.


  31. We are generally better than them.
    You have to give MON some credit though he’s definitely improved them. They looked friggin hopeless with the ex Manc bagpus in charge.


  32. Well still be a better side regardless of the result because were above them in the league or that certainly what they were clinging too in may when they finished 10th by default 🙄

    Not that it will be in any doubt come 2ish cant wait to see how turner handles the dembas after what happened last season with carroll and shola…


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