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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Can Sunderland beat Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby?


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The Tyne-Wear derby is the only game that matters to the good folk in the North East of England. Newcastle United are the hosts for this weekend's massive game as the fiery Italian Paolo Di Canio aims to get his first three points on the board for the Black Cats, but can Sunderland beat Newcastle on their own patch?

Newcastle United start the game five points clear of the Black Cats and have only lost to their nearest and dearest three times during the Premier League era. Sunderland's last success came in 2008 thanks to goals by Djbril Cisse and Kieran Richardson, but they haven't won at St James' since Don Hutchinson and Niall Quinn cancelled out the late Gary Speed's early opener way back in the year 2000. 

The Black Cats are in dire need of a win. They have picked up just three points since beating Wigan 2-3 at the DW Stadium in January and are only outside of the drop zone due to their superior goal difference compared with the Latics.

Newcastle eased their relegation woes last weekend with a late win over Fulham, but may be feeling the effects of their Europa League exit at home to Benfica. Alan Pardew's men now only need three points from their remaining games to all but seal survival. And what a great time this would be to record that win!

There's no love loss between Newcastle and Sunderland and the Geordies would revel in sending the Black Cats back to the Championship, but Paolo Di Canio has been given the job of saving them from the drop and the fiery Italian isn't going to stand for any half measures from his side.

The past three meetings have all ended in a draw, but how do our Squarefootball writers and readers see this one going this weekend?

West Brom fan Andy Wakeman believes it will be a good day for the visitors.

"I think the Di Cannio factor may give Sunderland the edge in the derby. Player for player Newcastle are better but in the heat of a big derby and with a new manager at the helm its Sunderland for me."

That view is shared by Squarefootball's Liverpool reporter Dave Disciascio.

"The Europa League has been a significant hindrance to Newcastle’s form this season; having lost six of the 12 games that have followed those pesky Thursday night fixtures. Pardew just doesn’t have a large enough squad to cope with the pile up of games.

"The Magpies may have tired legs following Thursday night's game against Benfica. With that in mind I think Di Canio will get his first three points with Sunderland."

But Squarefootball writer and West Ham fan Mitch Waddon can only see one winner and they play in black and white stripes.

"Based on form I will say Newcastle. They won their last game in the last minute and that’ll be a massive confidence booster. I feel Sunderland are now destined for the drop, but anything can happen down in the basement battle. For this one-off game though, Newcastle will have too much for a Sunderland team that is lacking confidence and adjusting to a new, more volatile manager."

And he is backed by Squarefootball writer and Birmingham City fan Steve Coulter.

 "I think Newcastle United will win the Tyne-Wear derby. The Toon are in a decent run of form at the moment. Papiss Cisse is back on the goal trail and I can see him scoring on Sunday. Newcastle would love to push their nearest and dearest a step closer relegation. 

"Sunderland are in turmoil on and off the pitch. With Steven Fletcher injured I can't see where the goals are coming from."
As does Newcastle fan Greg Hall.
I'm definitely picking a Newcastle win. Coming off a close European encounter with Benfica, the lads in black and white will be up for the biggest game of the Geordie calender. Everything's on this game with the relegation battle being so close, and both teams will be pushing for the win.
"Hatem Ben Arfa is now fighting fit and clocked up some minutes in the Europa league game on Thursday and I can see him playing a pivotal part in the Newcastle victory. Sunderland are without a win in their last six matches, and this derby isn't going to be a change in form for them. Cisse is in goalscoring form - albeit mostly in injury time - but I can see both him and Ben Arfa scoring one a piece making in 2-1 to the home side.

"How could I forget about the Mackem Slayer aka Shola Ameobi? The name that strikes fear into all the Black Cats supporters. Better make that 3-1 then!"

Sunderland fan Tony Ratton believes the form book will be thrown out of the window but thinks a point will be a fair result for both sides.

"Newcastle have got to start as favourites in the big North East derby on recent form and the fact that their confidence must be high. Sunderland are obviously in poor form as reflected in their lowly league form. That said sometimes derby matches can be a great leveller and the form book can go out of the window.

"Newcastle playing in an energy-sapping Europa League quarter-final against Benfica may effect them to a degree and there is always the Paolo Di Canio factor.

"Realistically a draw is probably the best Sunderland can hope for. Then again, as people will know on this site, I'm not the greatest at predicting football matches!"

Bolton supporter Dave Blackburn can also not split the two sides.

"I will sit on the fence and say a draw! There is that much to play for and it will be Di Canio's second game in charge. I don't think Sunderland will lose. It should be a good game, but will the new manager syndrome still be in place?

"Both teams have more to lose than to win because of their positions in the league. It will be entertaining and very passionate, could be just as entertaining off the field as far as the managers are concerned!"

But Squarefootball's Aston Villa reporter James Fisher thinks Newcastle have this in the bag.

"Newcastle for me, just think they're a stronger outfit that have been quite unlucky this year. Sunderland are in serious trouble - and that's coming from a Villa fan!"

Well that's how we see it, but who do you think will come out on top?

Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.

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