Derby day, the most emotional game of the year, is upon us as Newcastle head to Sunderland for the first meeting in this year's Tyne-Wear Derby. Last season, Newcastle was red carded when they visited the Stadium of Light and Sunderland were able to grab a late goal and force a draw. The return fixture at St. James' Park was a disaster, with the Black Cats bagging three goals and a win. The aftermath of that game was even uglier, as riots broke out in Newcastle (and yes, a horse was punched in the face).
Here's hoping for a more peaceful resolution this time around. Sunderland will be desperate to turn their season around against their most hated rivals. SAFC have only one point on the year. Their summer signings, highlighted by American Jozy Altidore have netted them a measly total of five goals. Yes, this is a partisan blog, but Sunderland have been woeful this year by any metric. They have improved their play since making managerial switch, but have yet to see results on the pitch.
Newcastle have put together a nice run of play for themselves. The Magpies have scored two goals in each of their last five games, though conceding has been an issue. However, after getting an away win at Cardiff and holding high-flying Liverpool to a draw last week, Newcastle come in with plenty of confidence. If Newcastle wanted to prove a point last week by avenging a 6-0 loss to Liverpool, than surely they will want to re-enforce the notion that this is a different Newcastle side with a big derby win.
There's lots at stake for both sides. Tensions will run high, as they always do on derby day. It's 90 minutes to decide regional bragging rights. Follow along with us below.
Current position: 20th (1 point)
Line-up: Westwood, Bardsley, Dossena, O'Shea (c), Cuellar, Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Johnson, Altidore, Fletcher.
Subs: Ki, Gardner, Celustka, Giaccherini, Roberge, Borini, Mannone.
Current Position: 10th (11 points)
Line-up: Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Dummett, Santon; Sissoko, Tiote (c), Cabaye; Gouffran, Ben Arfa, Remy.
Subs: Elliot, Haïdara, Anita, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi, Cissé.