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MATCH PREVIEW – Sunderland AFC vs Oxford United: The Black Cats look to make it four league games unbeaten

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Credit: @Sunderlandafcofficial instagram - the Black Cats face Oxford on Saturday

Sunderland welcome Oxford United to the Stadium Of Light on Saturday afternoon for a top half clash in League One. 

Johnson’s side currently sit in the play-off positions and are searching for back-to-back league wins as they find themselves fifth after 18 games.

The home side head into the clash following their disappointing 1-0 defeat to Oldham Athletic in midweek which saw Sunderland crash out of the EFL Trophy.

Both sides have a couple of games in hand on their rivals and will be looking to continue their good form come 3pm on Saturday.

Oxford are six games unbeaten in the league but travel to Wearside following back-to-back scoreless draws and will be hoping for an improved performance tomorrow afternoon. Part of the reason for the slight dip in form is that the club has been hit with a number of COVID cases.

Sunderland’s form at the Stadium of Light this season has almost been perfect, losing just one of their eight league matches on home soil, while Oxford struggled on their travels at the start of this season.

The 2-1 triumph last weekend against Cambridge United ensured that the Black Cats remained fifth in the table and can draw level on points with top spot. Sunderland’s form at the Stadium of Light this season has been extremely strong, losing just one of their eight league matches on home soil.

Oxford did struggle on their travels at the start of this season but have found some away form heading into this crunch game. Johnson’s side have only conceded four goals in the North East, the best home defensive record in the division – it promises to be an interesting affair.

Credit: @oxfordunited instagram

As League One approaches the halfway stage of the fixture list, Robinson will want his Oxford side to finish the first half of the season in a strong position and give themselves something to fight for in the new year.

Sunderland hold the better record in the recent meetings between these two teams, and the Black Cats completed the double over the Yellows last season.

FORM

L L L W D W

W W W D W D

  • The Black Cats appear to have come through what they hope will be their one sticky patch of the season, taking seven points from the past three games. As well as having won the last three head-to-head meetings, Sunderland are also the team with the best home points-per-game ratio in the division.
  • Oxford have lost three of their last six away league contests and could be without some COVID-affected players.
  • The teams played 13 games among themselves, in which the Sunderland team emerged victorious in 6 matches. Oxford have won on 2 occasions while 5 meetings have ended in a draw.

TEAM NEWS

Nathan Broadhead, who is on loan from Everton, scored his first league goal for Sunderland against Cambridge and he is expected to start in an attacking role for the home side.

Luke O’Nien and Aiden McGeady are still unavailable and expected to be out until 2022. Jordan Willis, Denver Hume, Dennis Cirkin and Niall Huggin all remain sidelined for Sunderland.

Credit: @sunderlandafcofficial instagram

Oxford boss Robinson had only 13 outfield players from which to select ahead of Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Rotherham following a coronavirus outbreak within the squad, with Simon Eastwood, Anthony Forde, Elliott Moore, John Mousinho, Mark Sykes, Matty Taylor and Jordan Thorniley all isolating.

Those missing are now back in training but some are more advanced in their recovery than others.

The U’s face a selection dilemma in the goalkeeping department with. Connal Trueman coming in on an emergency loan from Birmingham City. He has now returned to the Blues and Yellows keeper Simon Eastwood is expected to return between the posts.

PREDICTED LINE-UPS

SAFC – Hoffman; O’Nien, Wright, Doyle, Gooch; Neil, Winchester; Broadhead, Pritchard, O’Brien; Stewart

Oxford United – Eastwood; Seddon, Thorniley, Moore, Long; Brannagan, Kane, Henry; Holland, Taylor, Sykes

Pre-match thoughts?

Score predictions? Will Sunderland make it back to back league wins? Can the Black Cats remain in the play-off places after the festive period?

Join in the conversation and have your say…

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Newcastle target rejects Everton move following £45m bid.

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Newcastle united - St James Park

Everton have made a £40million bid with £5m in add-ons to sign Connor Gallagher from Chelsea.

This comes after Newcastle completed the signing of Anthony Gordon, the club’s second most expensive transfer behind Alexander Isak.

Everton received an initial fee of £40m plus add-ons that could increase the deal to £45m.

The Toffees currently sit 19th in the Premier League and are looking to reinvest the money from the Gordon deal to sign much-needed players under newly appointed manager Sean Dyche. 

But, multiple sources have reported today that Gallagher is not actively pushing for a move and has no intention of going to Goodison Park. However, with Chelsea having met the record-breaking €120m release clause for World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez, Gallagher may be forced to leave the club if the transfer is complete.

This leaves Newcastle an option as the player would prefer a move to a top-six club.

This morning, Eddie Howe said, “We’ll see what we can do to try & bring a player in. There’s no guarantees. In terms of permanent signings, it will be very difficult. We’ll look at a potential loan. But it’s got to be the right player & not one for the sake of it”.

Due to financial fair play, the only way Newcastle could sign the player is through a loan, with an obligation to buy the player for at least £45m, the same price they paid for Anthony Gordon.

Gallagher has been playing regular Premier League football over the last two seasons. Since returning to his parent club Chelsea, the 22-year-old has been linked with a move away to numerous Premier League clubs.

Last season he was named Crystal Palace’s Player of the Season by their fans. He also won the Player of the Month award twice, Goal of the Month once, and was awarded the Young Player of Year at the 2022 London Football Awards.

In the same season, he made 36 appearances scoring eight goals and registering three assists that earned Palace a 12th-place finish, one point behind Newcastle.

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Transfer News: Newcastle Sign Everton Winger Anthony Gordon In 45m Deal

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Newcastle agree deal for Gordon

Newcastle United have agreed to sign Everton winger Anthony Gordon for an initial fee of £40,000,000, which could rise to £45,000,000 with add-ons

Sky Sports understands that personal terms between Newcastle United and Gordan’s representatives are still ongoing, but both parties are confident of reaching an agreement.

The Magpies’ were interested in bringing Gordon to St James’ Park in the summer. However, both clubs were far apart on valuations for the player.

The 21-year-old has failed to attend training at Finch Farm for the last three days after making it clear he wants to move away from Goodison Park.

Chelsea were interested in bringing Gordon to Stamford Bridge in the summer and were willing to pay up to £60,000,000 for the wide-man’s services. However, Everton were reluctant to let their talisman leave before the start of the 2022/2023 Premier League season.

Gordon has scored just 3 goals in 16 Premier League appearances (12 starts) this season for the struggling Toffees, who currently sit second bottom of the table.

That said, the former Preston North End loanee had his best campaign last season, playing a major part in Everton’s Premier League survival.

The Everton academy graduate had 6 goal involvements in 35 Premier League games (25 starts) last season, which was the first season he had a consistent run of games.

It’s clear that Gordon has a significant amount of potential, and with Eddie Howe at the helm, Newcastle could be getting a very exciting player.

We have seen an unbelievable transformation in many players’ performances since Eddie Howe took charge in November 2021, with the most obvious transformation being Joelinton’s positional change.

The Liverpool-born winger can play in several forward positions, which is the type of player Eddie Howe has been keen to add during the January window, especially after Chris Wood’s loan departure to Nottingham Forest.

Joelinton is currently being deployed as a left-winger, with Allan Saint-Maximin in the process of regaining match fitness.

The addition of Gordon could see Joelinton be moved back to his preferred position as a box-to-box midfielder. This would see one of Sean Longstaff or Joe Willock drop out of the eleven, with Bruno Guimarães making that number 6 role untouchable.

Four days remain of the January transfer window, and it is yet to be seen if Anthony Gordon is the only player The Toon are adding to their ranks.

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Who’s place in the squad will he take?

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Gary Lineker shocked as ‘adult noices played on BBC Live on air!

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Gary Lineker - BBC one Live
Credit: BBC

Viewers on Tuesday night prior to the FA cup football games were left shocked and confused as noises of an adult nature were played in the BBC studio – Live on air!

 

Gary Lineker reacted fast to try to address and cover up the noise before going live to Alan Shearer.

 

See the clip below…

 

 

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