This afternoon’s early Premier League affair between Newcastle and Sunderland contained everything you’d expect in an English derby; feisty tackles, a few casualties, touchline disputes and of course, a late winning goal!
Amid the bitter-fought 90 minutes, it was the Black Cats who came away with a 1-0 win, creating some vital distance between themselves and the Premier League’s relegation zone.
The result was important but it hardly told the whole story of the North East derby – so here’s three things we learned from Sunderland and Newcastle’s feisty clash.
With debates about diving unfortunately becoming the norm in the Premier League, you might be forgiven for thinking that all the hardmen of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s have disappeared from the English game.
But representing the Terry-Butcher-bloody-bandage-brigade this afternoon was Newcastle’s Steven Taylor, putting the safety of his own face on the line to try and stop Sunderland scoring, colliding with Jan Alnwick’s far post:
Overall, there were an incredible 20 tackles and 18 fouls during the Tyne-Wear derby – but not a theatrical dive in sight!
In addition to Newcastle’s ever turbulent league form, one of the underlying grievances towards Alan Pardew is his atrocious record in the Tyne-Wear derbies – understandably, a huge issue of pride for the St. James’s fanbase.
This late Adam Johnson goal…
…made it four straight defeats against the Black Cats for Pardew. Here’s his overall record since becoming Toon boss in 2010:
Alan Pardew’s record in the Tyne-Wear Derby: P8 – W1 – D3 – L4 Goals scored: 4 Goals conceded: 12 pic.twitter.com/omardCGUFq
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 21, 2014
Pardew’s currently enjoying a bit of new-found popularity with the supporters; in no small part due to the Magpies picking up 23 points already this term, propelling them into Europa League contention.
But with three defeats on the bounce and yet another against the local rivals, the pressure could once again mount on the ever-controversial Newcastle manager in coming weeks.
This kid is a huge talent – one that reportedly turned down offers from Real Madrid and Barcelona, to name a few, to join Newcastle this summer.
He’s already bagged four Premier League goals, and although the young Spaniard failed to add to that tally this afternoon – his closest effort being this strike:
…Perez was easily Newcastle’s biggest threat going forward, as detailed below:
Developing at an impressive rate and already acclimatised to the English game, the youthful striker is certainly one to keep your eye on.