Newcastle remain evens favourites to beat Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby as The Magpies look to end their winless streak in 2014
The coming of the New Year has seemingly sparked a change of winds within the North East as both Newcastle and Sunderland mirror each other’s form from 2013 but both sides will be hoping for just the one outcome from Saturday’s Tyne-Wear derby.
Newcastle has not had a great start to 2014 and three losses on the bounce have seen them slide back down the table into eighth place and out of European contention.
As the January transfer window winds down, The Magpies will no longer have creative midfielder Yohan Cabaye in the squad following on from his move to PSG meaning that Yoan Gouffran is likely to drop into the offensive role that his compatriot had previously filled.`
On top of that, Loic Remy is suspended for the clash whilst Hatem Ben Arfa is injured meaning that Sammy Ameobi is expected to make an appearance in the starting line-up whilst new striker Luuk De Jong could make an appearance with offensive options having been depleted.
After a miserable January, The Magpies head into February looking to continue their good form in the second month of the year having the third best points ratio out of any Premier League club picking up around 1.71 points per game.
Meanwhile, Sunderland have been reinvigorated since Gus Poyet took the helm and their latest win against Stoke saw The Black Cats finally move out for the relegation zone for the first time since September.
Poyet will be without Lee Cattermole with the veteran midfielder having picked up a knock during midweek which could mean that jack Colback could deputise in his absence.
There could also be an appearance for new signing Ignacio Scocco who is likely to earn a spot on the bench alongside fellow Argentine newcomers Oscar Ustari and Santiago Vergini who are all yet to make their debut.
With Sunderland unbeaten in the last 4 Tyne-Wear derbies, they will turn to Adam Johnson to try and make it five in a row with the winger having scored five times in the last 3 matches.
Having been on a good run, Sunderland will be confident going into the Tyne-Wear derby but it’s the big occasions that could perhaps be the moment that sparks Newcastle back into life.