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MATCH PREVIEW – Ipswich Town vs Sunderland AFC: The Black Cats look to make it three consecutive league wins

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Credit - Oxymoron : Portman Road, the home of Ipswich Town FC : CC BY-SA 2.0

Sunderland face a tough away trip to Portman Road on Saturday afternoon to face Ipswich Town and look to make it three consecutive League One wins.

The Black Cats will be hoping to build on the previous two games in which Sunderland were victorious, most recently last Saturday’s 2-1 win against promotion rivals Plymouth Argyle at the Stadium of Light.

Johnson’s side have played a more aggressive and direct style of play in recent games, a system that has got the best out of their attacking options – especially Everton loanee Nathan Broadhead who netted his fourth of the season against Plymouth last time out.

Despite their brilliant home form this campaign, Sunderland have struggled at times on the road and will be expecting to put in a decent performance come Saturday afternoon. They have collected just 14 of their 42 points on the road this term.

With so many injuries at the back, perhaps attack is the best form of defence for the visitors who could go top with a win over The Tractor Boys.

Ipswich are in poor form heading into this one and will be expecting more of the same from the Black Cats who have been playing some free-flowing, high-intensity football in recent games – so why change a winning formula?

Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Goal difference is the only reason the Sunderland sit just behind Wigan Athletic who are second, and Lee Johnson will be aware that a positive result at the weekend could see his side move into the automatic promotion places, if not top spot on Christmas Day – making those festive beers would taste even better.

Saturday’s contest is a prime opportunity for Sunderland to claim their fifth away victory this term as the visitors will be looking to replicate their 1-0 win at Portman Road last season.

Having lost 2-0 to League Two side Barrow in the FA Second Round Replay on Wednesday evening, the team from Suffolk will be hoping to bounce back instantly with a good performance against a Sunderland team seeking their third league win in a row.

Ipswich find themselves sitting in 12th and stuck mid-table with the distinct possibility that their season might just peter out if performances don’t improve during the festive period.

The hosts are without a win in their last five games (all-comps) and fell to a 2-0 defeat the last time the sides met back in November.

The club have entered a new era having appointed Kieran McKenna as manager yesterday.

The 35-year-old Northern Irishman has entered into his first role as a number one, but has a range of coaching experience, having worked under Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Michael Carrick as assistant coach at Manchester United.

He starts his role on Monday.

Therefore, John McGreal takes charge of the game on Saturday, still looking for his first win as interim boss since taking over the reins from Paul Cook who was sacked on December 4.

Although they face a tough test at the weekend, Ipswich will aim to utilise home advantage once again after winning four of their last six league games at Portman Road. Striker Macauley Bonne has 11 goals this season, matching Sunderland’s Ross Stewart, but he is also in a dry spell having not scored in over ten games.

 

FORM

D W L D W W 

W L D L D L

  • Ipswich are without a win in the last five meetings between the two sides, with Sunderland AFC winning of four occasions and the fifth being a draw.
  • Ipswich Town have failed to score in just 2 of their 11 home matches in League One this season, meaning this one could see a few goals.
  • Fourteen points and nine places separate the two sides who face off at Portman Road on Saturday afternoon.

TEAM NEWS

For Sunderland, Dennis Cirkin, Denver Hume and Corry Evans have all returned to training, yet the weekend’s game may come too soon. Aiden McGeady remains unavailable and isn’t expected to return to training until at least the new year.

Lynden Gooch is a doubt for Saturday’s fixture after picking up an injury against Plymouth last weekend and will will undergo a late fitness test having been precautionarily withdrawn at half-time at the Stadium of Light. If Gooch is not available then Johnson may have to make slight alterations to the midfield – Elliot Embleton may feature.

Ipswich are expected to be without both Wes Burns and Bersant Celina as injury issues are set to rule the pair out of Saturday’s contest. Hayden Coulson hasn’t played since limping off in the 4-1 win at Wycombe (Nov 2) while Bailey Clements has sat out the last two league games.

The home side are expected to put out a very similar squad to the one that drew 1-1 away at Wigan last time out in League One.

POTENTIAL LINE-UPs

SAFC:                                                                                                                                       Ipswich Town:

                                                                                                                                   

Pre-match thoughts? Score predictions?

Can Sunderland win their third consecutive League One fixture? Will the Black Cats go top for Christmas Day? Is Johnson the man to lead Sunderland to promotion?

Join in the conversation and have your say…

 

 

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Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United

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North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..

 

“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”

 

Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.

 

What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

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Which Newcastle Players Are Going To The World Cup?

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Newcastle

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway next week and here are all the Newcastle players involved in the tournament

Callum Wilson (England)

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson is a player that has consistently shown the quality to earn a spot in an England squad at a major tournament but has sadly had his chances diminished by injuries in the past.

However, Wilson is currently injury free and is on the plane to Qatar! The Coventry City academy graduate averages a goal every 130 minutes in the Premier League this season, which is the second-best return of all English players behind Harry Kane.

The 30-year-old may have to bide his time for an opportunity due to England captain Harry Kane being the first-choice striker. That said, Wilson gives Gareth Southgate a great alternative should England find themselves chasing a game.

Kieran Trippier (England)

Gareth Southgate has always been very fond of Kieran Trippier’s abilities and what he brings to a team. For example, in Euro 2020 Southgate opted to play Trippier at left-back ahead of a more natural option in Ben Chilwell due to the 32-year-old’s experience and leadership qualities.

Trippier brings bags of experience at major tournaments after reaching the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

With injuries at right-back to the likes of Reece James and uncertainty around the fitness of Kyle Walker, Trippier could start at right wing-back in England’s World Cup opener against Iran.

Nick Pope (England)

The last player to complete The Magpies’ England trio is Nick Pope. Toon’s No.1 has been outstanding since arriving from Burnley in the Summer and has earnt his place in England’s World Cup squad.

Pope has the joint most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (6) alongside Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson and fellow England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

It remains to be seen if Gareth Southgate picks Pope to be his first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale. Pope started both of England’s last games in the Nations League back in September.

Bruno Guimarães (Brazil)

Moving to South America and the favourites to win the competition, Brazil. Bruno Guimarães has been one of Newcastle’s stand-out players this season and has deservedly earned himself a spot in Brazil’s very competitive World Cup Squad.

Guimarães has statistically been the best midfielder in the Premier League so far this season and will be hoping his performances have done enough to earn him a start against Serbia in Brazil’s opening fixture.

That said, Brazil manager Adenor Leonardo Bacchi has predominantly played with a midfield two of Manchester United duo, Casemiro and Fred at the base of the Brazilian midfield.

Fabian Schär (Switzerland)

The Magpies’ centre-back has been in great form alongside Sven Botman at the heart of Newcastle’s defence this season and will be hoping to continue his form in Qatar.

Schär has some tough competition in his position in the form of Manchester City centre-back Manuel Akanji and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Nico Elvedi.

Switzerland find themselves in the same group as tournament favourites Brazil, which will see Schär reunited with Toon teammate Bruno Guimarães in Gameweek 2.

Who didn’t make the squad?

The most surprising player to not make their country’s squad is Sven Botman. The former Lille centre-back has been a major part of why Newcastle has the Premier League’s best defence so far this campaign.

Louis van Gaal has a great pool of centre-backs available to him and opted for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Nathan Ake over Botman.

Another Toon player with World Cup disappointment is Joelinton, who has failed to follow Bruno Guimarães on the plane to Qatar.

Joelinton has been a revelation under Eddie Howe following his remarkable transformation from a striker to a box-to-box midfielder. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Joelinton this year.

Have Your Say

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Which Newcastle player will be the best performer?

Let us know on our Facebook page!

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What We Learnt (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle)

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deadline day

Newcastle United were victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday, winning 2-1 and now sit fourth in the Premier League. This is the first time they’ve been there at this stage of the season in 10 years.

 

Goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron were enough to scare away any chances of a second-half Spurs comeback. That’s six goals for Miggy in what is now his best-ever season for goals in black and white.

 

With 21 points, just five behind Manchester City and seven behind current league leaders Arsenal, the Toon are looking better than ever, but what did the victory yesterday tell us?

 

Toon are charging for Europe

 

If you didn’t believe it at the start of the season you should now. Eddie Howe has transformed Newcastle into a team with a winning mentality with a real sense of togetherness in a squad who are willing to battle for one another, week in and week out.

 

Very few teams will travel to London this season and manage to come away with a point, never mind three when playing Spurs. Not only this game, however, but Man City (3-3), Liverpool (2-1) and Brentford (5-1) have also shown that Howe and his side mean business this season and are willing to go toe to toe with some of the very best teams, coaches and players in the world. 

 

In his first signing interview, Sven Botman said, “Newcastle wants to reach the top and the top is in the league and, at the end, maybe in Europe.” Maybe he didn’t specifically mean this season but now he and the rest of his teammates should believe that they have a real chance of playing European football next season.

 

Almiron transformation shouldn’t go unnoticed

 

Almiron made 30 appearances last season in the league and finished with just one goal and no assists. Now, after just 12 games and six goals, the Paraguayan is already on course to smash his previous goal-scoring records which have seen him accumulate nine Premier League goals over the course of four seasons. 

 

Loved by the fans and with the full support of his teammates, it can only get better for the Paraguayan at this point. His goal against Tottenham showed the dribbling, flair and finishing quality he withholds, something that Steve Bruce and Rafael Benitez could never get out of him.

 

Eddie Howe must be awarded credit for this development, as with the current budget the club has, he could’ve easily found a replacement in the summer. But, just like Joelinton, Miggy has cemented his spot in Newcastle’s starting eleven and is proving every week why he deserves to be there.

 

Wilson & Burn should be considered by Southgate 

 

On TalkSport recently, Neil Warnock warned Gareth Southgate saying his loyalty to players might be his downfall and said Dan Burn is “Mr Steady Eddie” referring to his versatility, being able to play left-back or centre-back.

 

Burn started 28 Premier League games last season and this season has 11 out of 12. His consistent dominating performances in Newcastle’s back line have put him into the conversation for a first-ever England call-up and I don’t think many would disagree. With John Stoned injured, Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings not in good form and not getting regular game time, Gareth Southgate’s defensive decisions should now be a lot more challenging.

 

Callum Wilson has proved yet again his abilities as a top Premier League striker. His goal against Spurs not only put him in the headlines over England captain Harry Kane but also made it four in eight for the English man this season who has averaged 2.8 shots per game with an average scoring frequency of 162 minutes. 

 

With no clear-cut backup striker to Kane, is Wilson ahead of Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham in the race to be England’s number two striker?

 

So, what do you think? Do Newcastle have a serious chance at European football next season, can Almiron stay at his best and should Wilson and Burn be considered for a World Cup call-up?

 

Join the conversation on our Facebook page …

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