Toon Crier: Derby Eve Links and Open Thread

It's Derby time, so Shola - Laurence Griffiths

Some Newcastle links to get you set for Tyne-Wear, plus an open thread for today's games.

I suppose if there's a league match to play after being eliminated from Europe, it's a derby against your fiercest rival. Much like Thursday, Sunday should see a packed St. James' Park, and a Toon line-up eager to score some goals for the home supporters. A win for Newcastle would give them that much more breathing space between them and the drop, while also giving Sunderland some major reasons to worry about taking the drop themselves.

Onto the links!

Alan Pardew says he wants to win the derby more than the supporters do. I hope this ends with Pards singing "I could have been born a Mackem" at some point tomorrow. In actuality, he wants to get rid of relegation fears once and for all.

Also: Pardew want Sunderland to survive. So, I guess there's a difference between him and the supporters.

Speaking of next year, questions have swirled about Hatem Ben Arfa. He says he's staying Tyneside.

Ben Arfa says he's good to go for Sunderland, but Pardew will keep him on the bench to start. He provided Newcastle with quite the lift against Benfica on Thursday.

Shola Ameobi is loved by the Newcastle faithful because he just loves scoring against Sunderland. He's got seven goals to his name in the derby, and says "the juices are flowing" for Sunday's match.

By the way, if any Mackems want to have some fun with Newcastle getting bounced from Europe, kindly show them this.

Sunderland's new boss, Paolo Di Canio says he'll turn Sunderland into the biggest club in the Northeast.

For an official math preview, the Telegraph has you covered.

Five games in the Premiership today...

Arsenal take on Norwich City. The Canaries are one point behind Newcastle, so from the More teams between us and the relegation zone" perspective, you may want to support Arsenal today.

If Fulham want to regain their form at Aston Villa today, that'd be fine with me. Villa sits two points above the drop.

Time's running out for QPR if they are to make a great escape. They're at Everton today.

A loss to Liverpool today would probably assure relegation for Reading.

Southampton and West Ham square off today. Both teams are a point above Newcastle, so I'll take the draw and the Mags surpassing the both of them on Sunday.

Consider this your open thread for today's matches. Who are you supporting today?

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