Newcastle v Sunderland Premier League
By Fansonline
Wednesday 10 Apr 2013 06:55:00
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Sun 14 April 2013

12 noon kick of

St James Park

It will be a high noon confrontation in the north east where there is so much more than local pride at stake as Newcastle go head to head and toe to toe with local rivals Sunderland this Sunday. Rarely has a Tyne Wear derby been fought out in such circumstance because it could be a case of winner stays up.

If I was going to be betting on this match I would have to allow for the raw emotion of the local derby. I would have to check the Unibet odds on Sunderland throwing the form book out of the window and pulling off a shock victory.

A closer study of that form book reveals that Sunderland currently slumber third from bottom in the Premier form guide and with just 2 points in total from their last 6 games are in dire trouble of crashing out of the top flight. With just 31 points on the board Sunderland are on the same mark as Wigan but have played one more game than the perennial Premier survivors. An own goal in the first half at Stamford Bridge last week offered some hope of an immediate revival under the new boss but two second half goals from Chelsea brought the Black Cats crashing down to earth again.

For controversial new Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio it will be a case of out of the frying pan and into the white hot furnace of St James Park where his team need something special to prevent them tottering over the edge into the relegation zone. If Paolo thought he received a hostile reception from the media last week just wait until he steps out before the full glare and clamour of the Gallowgate.

Papiss Cisse's extra time winner in last week's home match against Fulham could just have saved Newcastle United's Premier bacon. Now standing on 36 points that could already be pretty near the finishing line to clinch safety. What better way to make absolutely sure than by taking 3 points at the expense of their oldest rivals, Sunderland?

Newcastle's Premier season has been almost as disappointing as that experienced by their neighbours. But this had been at least partially masked by progress in the Europa League, something that came to an abrupt end this week with aggregate defeat to Benfica. Could that dismissal offer a glimmer of hope to Sunderland? Will the Newcastle team and public still be mourning the end of their long and winding journey through Europe? I suspect a victory over Sunderland will be the best possible cure.

This high noon showdown could mean far more than local bragging rights. Could it be Premier relegation for the loser and winner takes all?

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