Newcastle United: Why Pardew will beat the Black Cats
Ten miles. That's the distance separating the two cities of Newcastle and Sunderland. Which if you were to ask any Geordie, they’d rebuff and say “it’s not bloody far enough” along with some more colourful language.
This rivalry between the two cities in the North East dates back to the English Civil War in the mid-17th century. So in their first competitive fixture in 1883, the animosity between the two clubs had more than two hundred years to cultivate and grow.
The teams have met 143 times with Newcastle being the victor in 53 of those derby matches. The consensus around country, even around the world, maybe that this clash in Northumberland may not be, as Sir Bobby Robson said “the biggest derby in England”. The fixture does not, after all, involve teams from the same city, such as Merseyside, but the fact that the next-nearest Premier League club is further than 90 miles away, means that the fan bases for the two clubs are massive.
When my editor asked me to write a piece on why Newcastle would overcome their North East neighbours one name came to mind. Shola Ameobi. The 6ft 3’ striker born in Nigeria, but now with a thick Geordie accent has more than 250 appearances for the Magpies.
Although he may not be the best striker in the world, on derby days he becomes just that. The Toon faithful wouldn’t want anyone else on their team sheet lining up against the ‘Black Cats’ than wor Shola. This biannual change in form has led him to be affectionately known as ‘The Mackem Slayer’.
Newcastle are unbeaten in their past five encounters with their neighbours and their foreign players are taking Ameobi’s lead in understanding how important this match is to the club and the fans. Stand-in Captain Jonas Gutierrez said: “I understand what it means. It does not matter if you play well or the team plays fantastic football. The fans will want the three points. All of the players feel the same.”
The two Senegalese strikers will be key to Newcastle winning this important fixture. Demba Ba is in incredible form, while Cisse seems to be slowly getting his goalscoring boots back on. Newcastle haven’t had as successful start as last season, but being only five points off a Champions League place after seven games the Geordie faithful are still in high spirits.
Travelling to the Stadium of Light is always a difficult task, especially with Scotland international and Premier League Player of the Month for September Steven Fletcher being in such fine form. Newcastle have a few injury concerns and this might hamper them in this tough fixture.
Hopefully Yohan Cabaye will have recovered from his stomach pains which kept him out of the French starting 11. Captain Fabricio Collocini is returning to training this week, putting him in contention to start the in centre of defence.
Both teams are coming off 3-0 hammerings by the Manchester clubs, so they will both be looking to bounce back. It’s a hard game to pick and I think both teams will score. But with my extreme bias and our not-so-secret weapon of ‘The Mackem Slayer’, I’m picking a 1-2 victory to the away team (Ba, Ameobi; Fletcher).
Calling all Newcastle fans: What do you think the score will be? Come back to www.squarefootball.net tomorrow where you will be able to see how our panel of fans, writers and experts see this game going.
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