IT’S one of the fiercest rivalries in English football, but who is Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) backing in the Tyne/Wear Derby?
Newcastle v Sunderland | Sunday 13:30 | Sky Sports 1
Having spent a little bit of time in the North East over the years, I can superficially attest that this match is a pretty pure rivalry. These guys don’t like each other!
One of my least favourite clichés in football is the one that says form goes out the window during derby matches (try telling Spurs fans that when they face Arsenal, or Partick when they face Celtic or Rangers) but in this case there’s an element of truth in it.
That’s certainly been the case in recent years with high-flying Newcastle being frustrated by lower-down-the-table Sunderland. Back in Spring 2012 with Newcastle on the way to finishing fifth in the table Alan Pardew’s side won eight matches out of 12. Sunderland were one of only two sides they dropped points at home to in that run.
Last season also, Newcastle had a buoyant first half of the campaign. In October and November they won five of their seven league games. Their only defeat in that spell came against a Sunderland side rock bottom of the table at the time. See what I mean now?
It’s 9th v 16th this time round – if that even matters. There are major question marks surrounding the home sides after two poor defeats in London in the last week. Arsenal mangled them 4-1 at the Emirates before Tottenham ended any hopes of the Magpies picking up the Capital One Cup when they were blown apart 4-0. Not good form going into the Tyne/Wear Derby eh?
Sunderland have been pretty uninspiring this season but I can’t see them losing on Sunday. Losing is something they don’t really do. Incredibly Gus Poyet’s men have lost just four of their 16 league games this season. That’s fewer than Newcastle and the same number as West Ham and Arsenal. Quite simply they draw too many games!
Current-form wise, the Mackems are in good nick too with just one defeat in their last seven games. And as mentioned above, this fixture has been particularly kind to them with three wins in a row and no defeat in five.
I’m going to be ballsy here and back them off 0 on the Asian Handicap with Bet365 at 67/40. I’ll get paid out if they win, but as long as they avoid defeat I’ll get my stake back.
Newcastle v Sunderland – Sunderland 0 Asian Handicap (67/40 Bet365)