Newcastle are the first team that we Sunderland fans look for when the fixture list is released. Some fans live for this game, others can’t stand the thought of it, but when that whistle goes and the game kicks off, we realise it’s this 90 minutes of football that we all need in our lives, no matter what.
And the nerves have well and truly set in.
Yet again we go into a derby in the hope that a win can kickstart our season. Imagine how nice it’d be going into the match sitting comfortably around mid table, and only having to worry about which set of fans will have bragging rights for the few months before the return fixture? Aye, I can’t either.
Fellow WMS member and beard enthusiast Craig Clark made some great points in his Durham Times article earlier this week. There’s no doubt that this game will be the toughest that our players have faced so far this season, but as Craig said, if we’re well organised, every player is on his game, and we go about exposing Newcastle’s weaknesses when attacking, this game is definitely winnable.
While recent history suggests that Sunderland should be favourites to win this game, I for one don’t buy into it. Call me pessimistic, but how long can it realistically last for? Both teams are just about matched up in quality all over the park after some ‘half decent’ business in the summer, and an intriguing contest that could be once again decided by a single piece of individual skill lies ahead.
Although personal battles between the likes of Cattermole and Sissoko, Lens and Janmaat, O’shea and Mitrovic could largely be important in defining who comes out on top, I also believe that it’ll be down to which team plays the game rather than the occasion who wins. It must be unbelievably daunting to play in a packed stadium full of hostile fans on derby day, and it could be said that the team who embrace this will be the team who are victorious when the final whistle is blown.
Let’s hope Sunderland execute their game plan once again and come out with a win.
Ha’way the lads!