With the exception of the 5-1 thrashing they received at the hands of their bitterest rivals in the reverse fixture, Sunderland are one club to be having an excellent season thus far and the side most likely to take advantage of the malaise affecting a number of the top sides.
There is a real sense of optimism surrounding the Stadium of Light at the moment, with the Black Cats, amazingly, only three points off Tottenham in fourth as we head into this weekend’s games. A win here could push Steve Bruce’s charges into a Europa League spot.
Newcastle have been far more inconsistent this year, and are coming off one of the worst results in recent memory after being humbled by League Two Stevenage in the FA Cup.
For the supporters, however, league standings and form are completely irrelevant. Both sets of fans would happily lose two or three subsequent games on the bounce should they triumph here. At home, I would expect Sunderland to gain revenge for their early season defeat to Newcastle and put heavy pressure on Tottenham and Chelsea should either side drop points.