The latest instalment of the Tyne-Wear derby sees United attempting to prevent a 5th
consecutive defeat against a Sunderland side who haven’t exactly been vintage in these victories. One marked difference in Sundays encounter will be the men in the dugout with John Carver and Dick Advocaat taking charge of their respective sides for the first time in this fixture. Whether there’s a change in approach from us as a result is open for debate with many critics of Carver (myself included) accusing him of deploying the same negative tactics that made his predecessor so unpopular. If we were to dissect the failures in this fixture in recent times the common theme through all of them is how we’ve allowed Sunderland to dictate the tempo early on by making a slow start. It’s vital to our chances of winning this game that we seize upon the jitters that will undoubtedly surround their players in the early parts of Sundays game, despite the psychological edge from their recent record in this fixture; their confidence in their own ability will be short.
How we line up has to be based around the way we finished the game against Arsenal, Janmaat was really impressive against Arsenal considering it was the first time he’d played centre half in his life; this guy has been really solid since arriving and is emerging as a real leader in this side. Colback also looked comfortable playing at left back although it has to be said we’ll miss his bite in central midfield for this particular fixture, if as expected Vurnon Anita plays as a sitting midfielder then this could be the real make-or-break match of his Newcastle career. Personally I’d much rather see Jonas sitting in midfield with him than Gouffran who again offered nothing against Arsenal; the Argentine providing more drive and energy when he came on. The key to winning this game however lies in how much joy the attacking trio of Sissoko, Cabella and Ayoze can get. All three possess the pace and skill which Sunderland have struggled with all season and if they can click into gear on Sunday then I’d really fancy our chances of getting a favourable result.
The Mackems come into this match with form even worse than ours, misfiring strikers and ill-disciplined in the defensive third; they’re spending another season flirting dangerously with relegation, they will be boosted by the return from suspension of different kinds of both Lee Cattermole and Adam Johnson. I’m sure a lot of you reading this will be having a flutter on this match, if so I’d like to point you towards the direction of a mouthwatering 2/1 for Seb Larsson to be booked on BetVictor, absolute knocking bet. Going back to the subject of Johnson however, one of my real bug bears is seeing supporters on social media attack other supporters by trying to dictate which songs they should and shouldn’t sing at the match; so I’m not going to use this match preview to try and do that, I have family and a lot of friends who will be in the away end with me and Sunday and some of them will undoubtedly join in a lot of the chants directed at Johnson. I would just hope however that before doing so they have a moments thought about the subject they’d be chanting about, nobody knows the backgrounds of the fellow Mags they’ll be standing next to on Sunday you might end up standing beside a victim of sexual abuse; there’s more of them around than you’d think.
Expected Line Ups
Mackems 4-4-2; Pantillimon; Vergini, Brown, O’Shea, Van Aanholt; Larsson, Cattermole, Rodwell, Johnson; Fletcher, Defoe
United 4-3-3; Krul; Raylor, Janmaat, Williamson, Colback; Sissoko, Anita, Gouffran; Cabella, Ayoze, Sammy
Previous Meetings: Not worth mentioning
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