Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cal
Perhaps the most important Tyne-Wear derby of all-time takes place at St James’ this Sunday; a relegation battle six-pointer between the sides in 18th and 19th as we enter the final stretch of the season.
Following an encouraging performance against league leaders Leicester days after taking over, Rafa Benítez will be hoping to take part in the recent trend of newly appointed managers getting a Tyne-Wear derby win in their second game. We’ve not been victorious in a derby since August 2011, and Sunderland have won the last six.
“I am sure that we can win this game and that will give the players belief going forward into the next games. Every game is different and a derby is a derby, so anything can happen. The players know this but they also know how important it is that we win.
“The main thing now is that they stick together. They are committed and working very hard to try and understand our ideas of what we want to do. They are trying their best and that is the main reason why I’m so positive.”
– Rafa Benítez
Click here to go to the discussion thread by TJR
A traditional 3pm Saturday kick off sees Newcastle United playing host to Bournemouth in the latest instalment of the 15/16 Premier League season. This is the second meeting of the two sides this season, the previous being a 1-0 win for the then visitors at the Vitality Stadium down on the South Coast back in November. Ayoze Perez got the goal that day, though it is probably fair to say Bournemouth were unlucky not to have got anything from that game, largely down to some fantastic goalkeeping from Rob Elliot.
The 1-0 win at Bournemouth in November was the Magpies’ first victory on the road this campaign. Fast forward to March and we’re now up to two away wins, in fact Newcastle have played 14 away games so far this season, winning two, drawing one and losing 11. Seven points from a possible 42, scoring just seven goals and conceding 32 in the process. As shocking as those statistics are Steve McClaren will be thankful that this fixture is at St James’ Park and not away from home.