Top North East Club: Sunderland come up short against Newcastle
Here at news.ladbrokes we are always on the lookout for a tip that favours the handsomely priced, but when it comes to predicting who will come out on top in the battle to be the best Premier League side from the north east, we’ve got no alternative but to back the favourites.
Newcastle United fans may have been left dissatisfied with last season’s 10th place finish but, while they are unlikely to, these Magpies fans should spare a thought for their local rivals.
FA Cup run aside, Hull City struggled around the lower reaches of the table for much of the second half of the season, coming dangerously close to being embroiled in a relegation battle, while Sunderland were only steered to safety by the late arrival of Gustavo Poyet.
And while there could be a change in fortunes for this Premier League pairing next term, they look unlikely to usurp the Toon as the top team in the region.
Despite enduring something of a slump during the second half of the season, Newcastle still finished 11 points clear of Sunderland and 12 ahead of Hull and after a summer in which Mike Ashley has definitely put his money where his mouth is, improvement is expected.
The signing of Ajax captain Siem de Jong was a major coup for the club, who have also recruited Ligue 1 title-winning winger in the form of Remy Cabella from Montpellier. More crucial still are the arrivals of striker Emmanuel Riviere and Facundo Ferreyra – two promising young strikers who can help alleviate some of the pressure previously placed on Papiss Cisse. Back the Magpies all the way.
The only realistic challengers to Newcastle’s north east dominance, Sunderland remain something of a work in progress under Poyet and, while they are not expected to struggle with relegation this term, look likely to endure the kind of mid-table mediocrity witnessed at St James’ Park last term.
Jordi Gomez has arrived from Wigan and could add a touch of class to the midfield while Patrick van Aanholt has the opportunity to show former club Chelsea what they are missing after moving to the Stadium of Light on a permanent deal but this won’t be enough to see them challenge the top 10.
The Tigers’ Premier League form at the back end of last season should be a major concern to manager Steve Bruce and while Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic scored the goals to keep Hull in the top-flight last term, neither boasts a particular consistent record of finding the net at this level.
There have not been many big arrivals at the KC Stadium this summer and with Europa League fixtures to consider, Hull could be dark horses for relegation and look unlikely to competing with either of Sunderland or Newcastle when it comes to local bragging rights.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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