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Arca: Sunderland Can Make It Five In A Row

A special week demands a special preview, so we've asked Julio Arca for his views ahead of another huge Wear-Tyne Derby.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Sure, we could preview the Wear-Tyne derby for you, but why bother when we were given the opportunity to hand the Roker Report floor over to Julio Arca!

Over to you, Julio.

Derby Day Deliberations by Julio Arca

It looks like Sunderland are going into this important Wear-Tyne Derby arguably as favourites. The league positions may say different, but if we look at other factors, it's difficult to dispute.

Squad

Newcastle are suffering with the loss of some key players. Fabricio Coloccini and Papiss Cisse are suspended, while Steven Taylor, Siem De Jong and Paul Dummet won't feature, so Newcastle are going to be suffering both on the attacking and the defensive side.

On the other hand Sunderland, with the exception of Wes Brown, have a mostly fit squad. Giaccherini and Buckley are back in training but not ready for a game yet, however with the return of Adam Johnson, the squad is looking solid.

Momentum

Both teams are coming into this game from a defeat in their last Premier League fixture, Sunderland getting beat 1-0 at West Ham and Newcastle losing at home to Arsenal 1-2. There's no doubt that both teams have a lot to play for, particularly my old team who desperately need the points to get out of their current position.

However, Newcastle have not won this fixture since August 2011 while Sunderland have won an impressive four in a row against their rivals. The pressure on Newcastle to get a win for their fans will be immense while the Sunderland players can go into this fixture with that winning momentum.

Confidence

It could be argued that both teams are suffering from a general lack of confidence, but the lift that a new manager can bring with fresh ideas and tactics can really raise team spirit. Dick Advocaat has already made an impression at Sunderland with his attacking formation in the last game. If he continues with three up front, add to that Defoe's experience and Steven Fletcher coming in to this game on a hat-trick from international duty, there is a strong chance that goals will come.

Meanwhile, it could be argued that Newcastle manager John Carver hasn't made too much of a strong impression on his side since taking over and his team will take to the field on Sunday without a proven goal-scorer on the pitch.

In summary, this kind of game is never pretty and I don't think this match will be an exception. Sunderland fans are going to expect a lot from the team, especially after the last home performance against Aston Villa. But that will soon be forgotten if they can take the three points on Sunday. If the Sunderland players can play with the passion that the fans deserve, then I think they can make it five in a row.

My prediction - 2-0 to Sunderland

Julio was talking to Lynsey Thompson.