Steve McLaren is fighting for his job and although Newcastle beat Norwich at home last week defeat at Sunderland in the north east derby could see the former England manager out of work. The respective managers of Manchester United and City are safe in their jobs but a win in their derby match would buy some more time and earn the goodwill of the fans.
Arsenal and Everton are not sacking clubs so Arsene Wenger and Roberto Martinez are big outsiders in the market for the next Premier League manager to be dismissed. Jurgen Klopp is a million to one to lose his job next but needs to hit the ground running which means a win for Liverpool against Southampton at Anfield is imperative. They have won the last three meetings, scoring 7 goals and conceding 1.
The last three new Newcastle managers had a fixture with Sunderland in their second match. McLaren lives to fight another day but if Newcastle had lost last week defeat to their local rivals this weekend could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. McLaren insists there is great potential at Newcastle but a side with no Geordies will lack for commitment and an understanding of the common goal. However, they played with some passion in the Norwich match.
Newcastle have generally been a poor side this season to date. They would be bottom of the league except that Aston Villa and Sunderland have been even worse. Tim Sherwood is under massive pressure to deliver with Villa while Sam Allardyce has been recruited to keep Sunderland in the Premier League. They have yet to win in nine matches, scoring 8 goals and conceding 19 which is relegation form.
Sunderland have won the last five meetings with Newcastle and drew the previous two so have statistics on their side. In fact in the last five north derbies in the Premier League Newcastle have scored just one goal. However, this is the poorest Sunderland side for some time and even Allardyce will not be able to prevent another loss which will be more hurtful because they are playing Newcastle. Sunderland look domed for relegation.
Its derby day Sunday in the Premier League and the Manchester version brings together the teams in first and third place in the league. City are two places and two points ahead of their opponents on Sunday and are 9 goals better off in terms of goals scored and conceded. United are unbeaten in four matches at home this season and can avoid defeat but beating City may be beyond them who would take a draw from this fixture.
Sunday’s match is the 140th Manchester derby. United have won 70 of the previous meetings, lost 49 and there have been 50 draws. That means more than one third of the fixtures have been stalemates and the betting value appears to be backing that outcome this time. The last 12 meetings have seen a definite result with United winning 5 and City 7. United have lost four of the last 5 Manchester derbies but can win a point this time.
If Liverpool only draw Klopp’s first league match in charge some will be wondering what all the fuss has been about. Liverpool have won 2 of 4 home league matches this season to date and scored just 5 goals over that spell. Klopp favours fast and direct football and the fans will buy into his concept. The fervour of the crowd at Anfield can help Liverpool beat Southampton by more than one goal.
The Liverpool programme for their Europa League fixture against Rubin Kazan presented Klopp as almost Barack Obamaesque as if he was coming to save the club and provide hope. However, its players that win matches and not managers but clearly a new man has a positive effect. The fans will be up for this match and Klopp will not disappoint in recording his first win in the league as the manager of Liverpool.
Arsenal and Everton meet in one those south versus north classic confrontations. Arsenal head into the match on the back of beating Bayern Munich in the Champions League while Everton were well beaten by Manchester United at Goodison Park last week. The Blues are unbeaten in four road league matches this season, scoring 6 goals and conceding 2. They are no mugs but Arsenal are on a roll and can win a match that should not be full of goals so a rendition of ‘one nil to the Arsenal’ may be heard.