Derby Day: Can The Magpies Slay Sunderland in bid to Survive?

Sunday sees the most crucial Tyne-Wear derby in recent history take place at St. James’s Park. The game between Newcastle and Sunderland is the one every fan looks forward to anyway, but this match has so many subplots and elements to it that it has football fans all over the country talking about it.

Both teams are stuck desperately in the league’s relegation quagmire sinking deeper and deeper into trouble.

Newcastle have sacked their head coach and replaced him with a manager of genuine pedigree. The fixture is Benitez’s first game in charge at St James’s Park in front of his own fans. The managers of both teams infamously do not see eye-to-eye and have had very public spats in the past.

Sunderland’s manager was sacked by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and subsequently ‘Big Sam’ claimed Newcastle weren’t ‘big’ enough for him!

The game is a new manager’s second fixture after being appointed, something Sunderland have done three times before, winning on each occasion. Sunderland have won the past six derbies. It is something of the like we have never seen before, but ultimately it all comes down to three measly points that could make or break either side’s bid for survival.



The win for Norwich means that even if Newcastle were to win the game, they would still not climb out of the relegation zone. But interestingly you could argue that the Norwich win actually puts a little more pressure on Sunderland to win the game whereas before Saturday, a draw would have seen the Mackems remain above the relegation zone.

For Newcastle it means that victory is absolutely crucial. With only eight games remaining after this one, we will be cut adrift if the unthinkable happens.

In many ways all the usual things we would be looking for in a new manager’s first few games; formation, selection, motivation, tactics, substitutions, performances etc are all rather irrelevant.

All that really matters is those three points. Three vital points, three pivotal points, three priceless points.

I fully expect Newcastle to come flying out the blocks, roared on by an electric crowd similar to the one which saw Newcastle register a vital win to stay up on the final day of last season against West Ham. Who was their manager that day? Oh yeah! Yes, a repeat of that would do very nicely indeed.

Whether at the game, in the pub or at home, enjoy the game folks; it’s going to be edge of your seat stuff!

249 thoughts on “Derby Day: Can The Magpies Slay Sunderland in bid to Survive?

  1. I have rarely seen a team so scared to shoot and the shots on target, so piss poor weak and feeble.
    laughable embarrassment.
    Also did yous not see how many free headers we let them have in our box from corners and free kicks etc. Complete shambles
    Colback was nothing short of a disgrace. Seriously wtf?
    Gini ? anonymous
    Elliott – outstanding again. Love it when he bowls the ball up field too. Have to agree with other comments, player of the season beyond all doubt

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  2. Kim – 30% ❓
    so pretty much resigned to our fate barring a Rafa miracle then.
    If we can get a win away at Norwich, then I may feel better about our chances, but for me a draw down there would be a miracle.
    Crystal Palace have not won a single game this year 😯 But Pardew will fancy ending that stat when they play us.
    We really look like the 2nd worst team in the league, which is why we are where we are. plain and simple.

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  3. Yep, Elliot player of the season without a shadow of a doubt, I would say on present form he’s better than Tim.

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  4. BB, Just being realistic really mate, Praying I’m wrong though. Getting relegated has gotten worse since Rafa arrived as it means we lose him too 🙁 Really needed 3 points yesterday due to that Norwich win. Norwich been a shower all season and suddenly find form starting last week at City 🙄 My optimistic head says a possible 3 more wins, Norwich, Swans and Villa if we play well, that’s 34 points and probably not enough.

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  5. Kim – we HAVE to beat Norwich. Look at there next 3 fixtures and they will see a potential 9pts too – us, Palace & Scum. Norwich being on 28pts now, that 9pts would put them on 37 and I reckon that would be enough.
    They’ve just drew with City & beat WBA and kept clean sheets both games, so they will be confident.

    That could be their fairytale, and could see both NE teams drop.

    The international break could be a blessing if we can get some defenders fit. Mbabu or Dummett for left back in particular.

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  6. Kim – It will be nothing short of a disgrace if Krul gets the No1 shirt ahead of Elliott next season.
    This lad has been a revelation.

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  7. BB – people who say we need to win 40% of our games are assuming that Norwich and Sunderland can or will do the same. It’s going to be about 36 points I think and that means Sunderland and Norwich both need to win 3 games plus a couple of draws. Personally I think we have the easier run in so we should find it easier to get the points but it will be hard and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went down to the last game. Sunderland have won one in the last 5/6 games and all I hear is how well they’ve played. Well if they can’t win when playing well what chance do they have when they play badly, which they will do?

    I still say if we beat Norwich we will stay up. Big if but its not inpossible. I reckon Rafa will pull a big away win out of the bag too.

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  8. Kim – thats 2 away wins out of the 3. But we can’t even get close to a draw away.
    Not sure if that’s optimism or delusion 😕
    Just hope that Rafa does something to turn our away form around. A point at Norwich would be a start, but probably not enough.
    There seems to be an inherent laziness built into the team. Only working at 80% except for the last 10 mins.
    I’m glad we have the international break now, to give Rafa a chance to instil some fitness, fight and belief into the squad.

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  9. Stuart – “I still say if we beat Norwich we will stay up. Big if but its not inpossible. I reckon Rafa will pull a big away win out of the bag too.”
    Man oh man I hope you’re right. An away win would give a massive MASSIVE boost to everyone. Players and fans.
    Howay the Lads

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  10. Well I reckon we should get Eddie Izzard in to show our lot how it’s possible to run for 90 mins plus. Ye gods, 27 marathons, what a star he is, and all whilst wearing nail varnish, god love him. 😀

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  11. A win away at Norwich will drag Crystal Palace into the mixer aswell 😛
    their remaining fixtures:
    west ham (a)
    norwich (h)
    arsenal (a)
    manure (a)
    everton (h)
    watford – FA cup
    newcastle (a)
    stoke (h)
    southampton (a)

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  12. Probably the one Derby In the last 7 or 8 where the luck went with us

    Two week break to work the lads now, Also hopefully will have Colo, Haidara, Mbabu back instead of patching up the defence again

    Still do able with our run in

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  13. CC – yes it’s still do-able.
    Rafa believes, so I guess we all should………….for now 😉

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  14. Was at the match, and have to say I was convinced we were going to lose as soon as they scored. Nobody really had a good game, although I suppose Mbemba and Mitro were the best. Shelvey has really disappointed me recently and I don’t think he is captain material to be honest.

    So glad we scored, and who knows, if the Scum hadn’t started wasting time in the first half and if Mitro hadn’t been knocked out maybe we could have robbed a winner. But with the draw and that performance, I’m not too hopeful of survival at all, think the sacking has just come too late on personally.

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  15. Newkie – One thing is for sure, under McClaren we would have lost that game, and probably by 2 or 3. So in that respect its progress. We still have a terribly lob sided squad and maybe Cisse’s return is perfect timing. He’s proven scorer so maybe he will do a job for us.

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  16. Stu – can’t argue with that. All of our players are nervous about derby’s and rightly so, but the fight we displayed in the last 20 minutes was missing for pretty much all of Schteve’s tenure.

    Don’t think Colback will be missed, and I do think our way to survival might be to get Cisse on with Mitro and just hoof it up to them, they’re decent in the air as well as Gini, so get crosses in and see what happens.

    Siem did pretty well when he came on as well, but I just don’t really see where we can fit him in the side. Maybe best left as a replacement for when Perez tires?

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  17. We were the second best team on the pitch yesterday and anyone who believes even Rafa can keep us up is being overly optimistic.
    We should seriously be preparing for life in the championship. Apart from the players out of contract at the season end we will probably lose Sissoko ( thank goodness) and Gini.
    The January signings , Shelvey, Townsend and Saivet might have had the nous to get relegation clauses in their contracts so we could lose them .
    I very much doubt that any other of our players will be coveted by Premier league teams leaving us with a squad of championship quality players playing at their real level. Luckily we have quite a few young players in the squad whose game will improve from a couple of seasons in championship football and who may then be capable of competing in the Premiership should we gain promotion.

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  18. I do like DeJong, think he’s an intelligent player, looks calm on the ball but he needs a run of games. Cisse and Mitro up front for me too. Re- Janmaat, depending on his injury he might recover in time for Norwich, if not it may be Anita at RB as he’s played there before.

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