This weekend, the Stadium of Light will host the first derby between Sunderland and Newcastle United since the sides last met in the Premier League back in 2016. We look ahead to their FA Cup third-round clash with our Sunderland vs Newcastle prediction and preview.
Sunderland vs Newcastle Stats: The Quick Hits
- Despite their torrid run of form, Newcastle United are tipped to beat Sunderland, with the Opta supercomputer predicting they win in 61.6% of simulations.
- Newcastle are winless in their last nine meetings with Sunderland in all competitions (D3 L6, all in the Premier League between 2012 and 2016) since a 1-0 away win in August 2011. It’s their longest ever winless run against their north-east rivals.
- Newcastle have lost their last four FA Cup matches. They’ve gone out at the third-round stage in each of the last three seasons, with defeats against opponents from a lower division in the last two.
FA Cup third-round ties don’t come much bigger than this. This Saturday, the Stadium of Light will play host to the first Tyne–Wear derby (or Wear-Tyne, depending on where you’re from) in almost eight years as Sunderland face Newcastle.
It’s the first meeting between these two giant north-east clubs since playing out a 1-1 draw at St James’ Park in the Premier League back in 2016.
It’s fair to say a lot has changed since then.
The Magpies were relegated at the end of that 2015-16 season for just the second time in their Premier League history but managed to come straight up under Rafael Benítez, winning the Championship the following season. They’ve remained in the top-flight ever since, and the Saudi Arabia PIF’s takeover of the club has supercharged their ascent towards the top of English game. While Newcastle were busy winning the Championship in 2016-17, Sunderland toiled in the Premier League and finished rock bottom. They’ve not been back since, and even played four seasons in League One between 2018 and 2022.
Things are looking up for the Black Cats though. After a sixth-placed finish in the Championship last season and subsequent elimination in the play-off semi-finals, they are once again in the promotion hunt. Sunderland currently sit in sixth place and come into this fixture unbeaten in their last three matches. They kicked off 2024 in perfect style with a 2-0 home win against Preston North End.
Jack Clarke has been fundamental to their successful campaign to date. The left winger has scored 12 league goals (the next highest Sunderland players have four), a tally only three Championship players can better. Clarke also leads all Sunderland players for overall expected goals (8.8), expected assists (6.1), chances created (59) and successful dribbles per 90 (3.7).
If he takes his fine league form into this FA Cup game then new manager Michael Beale can feel confident about his side getting a result against their rivals, who are enduring a difficult campaign.
Newcastle come into this fixture amid a horrible run. Eddie Howe’s side have won just one of their last eight games in all competitions, and travel to Sunderland on the back of three consecutive defeats in the Premier League. With a mounting injury list, Howe will want to get to the winter break as soon as possible, but having exited the UEFA Champions League and Carabao Cup while also sitting ninth in the Premier League, it places extra emphasis on the importance of a deep FA Cup run. It could well be their only route back into Europe next season.
Reports from the Newcastle camp are that Joe Willock, Harvey Barnes and Elliot Anderson will join Callum Wilson in missing this fixture, as well as the next Premier League game against Manchester City.
Kieran Trippier has a chance to play a part after missing the Liverpool game with a groin problem, while Jamaal Lascelles is also fit again and could start after his short appearance at Anfield. The likes of Jacob Murphy, Nick Pope, Matt Targett and Javier Manquillo remain sidelined.
Sunderland suffered a handful of fresh injuries over the busy festive period with Niall Huggins sustaining a season-ending knee injury, while Bradley Dack and Patrick Roberts also limped out of recent games and are unlikely to feature here.
Sunderland vs Newcastle Head-to-Head
Newcastle are winless in their last nine meetings with Sunderland in all competitions (D3 L6, all in the Premier League between 2012 and 2016) since a 1-0 away win in August 2011. It’s their longest ever winless run against their north-east rivals.
Sunderland have won their last three home games against Newcastle, and five out of the last six meetings at either ground. They’ve never won four in a row against Newcastle at home.
In the FA Cup, Sunderland have won their last two ties against Newcastle, although this is the first such meeting since a 2-0 quarter-final win in 1955-56.
Although they’ve enjoyed good runs in the EFL Cup in the last two campaigns – getting to the final in 2022-23 and the quarter-final this season – Newcastle have not had similar success in the FA Cup. The Magpies have lost their last four FA Cup matches, while they’ve gone out at the third round stage in each of the last three seasons. In their most recent two campaigns, they’ve been eliminated by opponents from a lower division (Sheffield Wednesday in 2022-23 and Cambridge United in 2021-22).
That will give Sunderland hope of springing an upset, although the Black Cats have been eliminated from their last four FA Cup ties against Premier League opponents. In fact, when playing in a lower division, they haven’t beaten a Premier League side in the competition since January 2005 (2-1 vs. Crystal Palace).
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off in this match, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Sunderland vs Newcastle Prediction
Despite their excellent head-to-head record over their bitter rivals, the Opta supercomputer only gives Sunderland an 18.3% chance of beating Newcastle this weekend. The visitors make the short journey to the Stadium of Light with a depleted squad, but the supercomputer believes they still have the quality to progress, with Newcastle winning 61.6% of the 10,000 data-powered simulations of this tie. The draw comes in at 20.1%.