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Rupert Wyman 3rd Mar 2012 - 10:28

Dem-olition time for Newcastle

Newcastle take on Sunderland this Sunday afternoon. Earlier this campaign, Newcastle were on a rampage, the fans were even dreaming of European football. They have faltered of late but if they make a late season charge they could still earn a spot in next season's Europa League.

The Magpies' 1-0 win (13/2) at the Stadium of Light in August built the foundations for a fine start, since that win, Sunderland have disposed of Bruce and they are a far better and more resilient side.

For a Geordie and Mackems fan, this match defines the season, local bragging rights. Newcastle are 6/5 to win at home, the draw is 21/10 and an away win is 5/2. Newcastle have lost just one of their last fourteen games against Sunderland.

Sunderland have not had three league defeats on the spin since April 2011. Their problem lies with the defence, they have conceded the highest percentage of goals from headers in the league and they are weak at opposing set pieces.

They have improved under O'Neill, you can back Sunderland at 5/2 to keep a clean sheet if you think they can hold-off Newcastle. If you fancy an upset at St James Park, you can back the Sunderland win or the draw at 4/6 or Sunderland draw no bet at 6/4. The Mackems proved recently in the FA Cup that they can mix with the best.

They out-thought, out-fought and out-worked Arsenal at home and won the clash 2-0. Sessegnon has been linked with Chelsea and Liverpool in the past few months. He is the club's top scorer and he is 8/1 to open the scoring.  He has a good turn of pace and he is skilful. Another player that stands out at the club is the former Arsenal and Birmingham player Sebastian Larsson.

He is fantastic at set pieces and he has tested plenty of keepers this season. He looks a big price at 11/2 to score anytime and he will not be phased out by playing at St James Park.

Demba Ba has not gone three league starts without a goal since joining Newcastle. He was the signing of the summer and he has certainly helped their charge up the table. He is a fans favourite and he is 9/2 to open the scoring.

One Toon player that cannot get enough of playing against Sunderland is Ameobi. He has scored six league goals against them, at least twice as many as against any other opponent. He is 7/1 to score the last goal and 2/1 anytime scorer.

Sunderland have had a player sent off in two of their last three Premier League games against Newcastle. The Mackems are 21/20 to have the most booking points and a red card to be awarded in the match is only 3/1.

Four or more Sunderland cards is 2/1 and it could be a tense atmosphere. Both managers understand the importance of the derby and the players should be pumped up. Neither club is in danger of relegation and this match means everything to those involved.



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