This is one of those games I love to hate. Nothing else comes close to it in terms of uniting a City. It is the Tyne-Wear derby.
There is a lot of debate about which is the “best” derby. The Glasgow derby, the Manchester derby, Merseyside derby and so on. The short answer is, to each fan of each club, their own derby is the most important and this one is ours.
Meetings have gotten a bit spicy in recent years and this one will be no different. The 3-0 defeat engineered by short-term Mackem manager Paulo Di Canio is still fresh in the mind and payback needs to be given. Sunderland may be rooted to the bottom of the table and their form may read like a small Welsh village at the moment (LLLWLL) but this is a local derby and to coin a cliche, form really does go out of the window. Put simply it is whoever wants it more on the day, and tomorrow it simply must be us who wants it more.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa will miss out as he serves a one-game suspension following on from his sending off against Liverpool last week. Massadio Haidara will also miss out despite having played an hour for the reserves during the week while Steven Taylor is technically available once more despite lacking in match fitness. Ryan Taylor remains sidelined.
The big question mark though surrounds Fabricio Coloccini. The Argentine defender suffered a groin injury whilst on international duty and it had been reported that he could be out for around eight weeks. However subsequent reports suggest that he may indeed be available for tomorrow after recovering quicker than anticipated. If he isn’t available then Paul Dummett could be handed a first Premier League start.
New manager Gus Poyet will assess the fitness of Wes Brown ahead of the match. The former Manchester United defender has not kicked a competitive ball for the Mackems since January 2012 following injury problems but he has reportedly recovered from a calf problem sustained during pre-season. Loan signing Ki Sung-Yeung will return after missing out against his parent club last weekend.
The last game between the two of us ended 3-0 to them with the preceding game on the dark side yielding a 1-1 draw courtesy of an early goal from Yohan Cabaye.
On Wearside Sunderland have the edge having won on 23 occasions compared to 20 for United with 26 draws being played out. On Tyneside it is United who have the edge having won 31 times compared to Sunderland’s 20 victories with 18 draws making up the numbers.
Overall 138 matches have been played with Newcastle winning 51 times, Sunderland 43 times with 44 draws making up the rest.
Match stats and facts…
Sunderland have not recorded successive wins against Newcastle for 46 years.
A win for United would see us record back-to-back away victories for the first time since April 2012.
The 22 Premier League matches between these sides have produced nine Newcastle wins, nine draws and four Sunderland victories.
Sunderland have won just two of their last 22 league matches.
All the evidence points towards a United win on paper, but the problem is that football isn’t played on paper. I never view the away derby as a “must win” game. Sure it would be nice to repay the favour of the tail end of last season on their own doorstep but the most important thing for me is that we must not lose.
As I said in the very first line, I love to hate the derby. No other match fills me with excitement, anticipation, dread or worry as much as this one but we’re in the final few hours before kick-off now so we haven’t got long to wait.
Howay the lads!
Date: Sunday, 27th October, 2013
Venue: Stadium of Shite