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Form book out the window? Sunderland will hope so against Newcastle

23 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Form book out the window? Sunderland will hope so against Newcastle

A sixth successive Wear-Tyne victory would give Sam Allardyce his first as Black Cats boss, but the Magpies will be buoyant after last week's 6-2 win

It is applicable to borrow a favourite football cliché and wonder whether the form book will go out of the window in Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby.

Sunderland have not won a Premier League fixture this season and are bottom of the table with three points from nine matches.

They have, however, recorded five successive wins against Newcastle and are unbeaten in seven – a run stretching back to August 2011.

And while the Magpies are only two places and three points ahead of their North-East rivals, they did claim their first three points of the campaign – and biggest win since December 2013 – by defeating Norwich 6-2 last weekend.

Sunderland’s outstanding record is curious considering how unimpressive their league form has been in that time.

Since 2011/12, the Black Cats’ average finishing position is 15th.

Four spots below the Magpies, it emphasises just how much their players have been able to find an intangible extra on derby day in recent seasons.

New manager Sam Allardyce needs to maintain that winning run after his opening game in charge ended in defeat at West Brom last week.

Peculiarly, the last three bosses on Wearside – Paolo Di Canio, Gus Poyet and Dick Advocaat – all lost their first matches before beating Newcastle in their second.

Sunderland are 6/4 to record a first top-flight victory of the season on Sunday and extend the sequence to four.

Allardyce – up against his former club, of course – was pointed when discussing Jermain Defoe’s prospects of first-team football.

Despite scoring the winner in the corresponding fixture last season, the former England international is likely to remain on the bench for the match at the Stadium of Light.

One player sure to return to the starting line-up, though, is Jeremain Lens.

The 27-year-old winger, available again after missing the West Brom game through suspension, has been the Sunderland’s most impressive player this season.

Lens has two goals already – including a delightful chip before his red card against West Ham last time out – and is 11/4 to score at any time on Sunday.

But he is not the only Dutch international who has adapted quickly to the English top flight.

Georginio Wijnaldum – Lens’ former team-mate at PSV Eindhoven – has enjoyed a brilliant start at Newcastle, scoring six times in nine appearances from midfield.

Wijnaldum’s four goals against Norwich was a match-winning contribution and the 24-year-old is 15/2 to open the scoring at the weekend.

That emphatic result and performance from Steve McClaren’s side was not before time considering £50m was spent on emerging European talent in the summer.

One of those purchases, Alexander Mitrovic, looks suited to English football and is 9/2 to follow his first goal for the club with another at any time in a Newcastle win.

Sunderland, meanwhile, just do not have enough quality in their team.

So if Newcastle repeat last week’s attacking verve and have the necessary temperament to navigate a fixture that often verges on being hysterical, they should beat their rivals – a result which would probably lift them out of the relegation zone.

For the first time in more than four years, then, the form book is staying inside.

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